So, my take on whether Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney should be "campaigning" in Europe is that we all need to take a collective breath here. Who can blame the guy for taking a side trip to London, Israel and Poland after spending the last two years on a bus visiting places like Peducah and Scranton? That's a joke, obviously. He didn't go there to vacation.
My initial reaction is that it was not a tourism trip, or even an attempt to shore up Romney's foreign policy credentials but probably a fundraising trip combined with a little image building. Romney raised $1,000,000 in Israel alone. And going to London right before the Olympics might have been a not-so-bad idea since Romney is credited with doing such a great job rescuing the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics from financial ruin.
The gaffes were unfortunate, but also a little overblown, in my opinion. Why is it a gaffe to say that Israel's culture is responsible in part for its' economic strength? I don't think he was comparing Israeli Jews to Arabs when he was talking about "culture." I think he was talking about the success of a start-up country when it comes to high-tech start-ups and venture capital. And come on, let's face it, both of those things are the result of self-determination.
I don't think Romney went to Poland to get the votes of Polish-Americans. He's trying to inspire us that it is going to take hard work, but if we look at the kind of work they did in Poland, whose economy grew 4% while the economies of other European countries around it were imploding, the U.S. can turn its own economy around. If he went to nick away at Obama's stronghold of Chicago, a photo-op with Lech Walesa goes a long way in that city. Chicago is, after all, "the city that works."
Romney put it best when he told the Washington Post:
I realize there will be some in the fourth estate or in whichever estate who are far more interested in finding something to write about that is unrelated to the economy, geo-politics and the threat of war.
This post is part of a weekly conversation with our Moms Matter 2012 political bloggers. To see the original question and what the other writers have to say, see Should Mitt Romney Be Campaigning Abroad?
Image via Mitt Romney's photostream/Flickr