Thursday, September 27, 2007
The French, Romney, and Republican Malaise
The Economist Euro Blog "Certain Ideas of Europe" has a little post on the poor dental hygiene practices of French children. Now they are relaying information as presented in Le Figaro and it appears that the article is piss poor reporting (a sample of two dentists quoting statistics without citation). That said, Europeans do have piss poor hygiene. What interests me is whether Mitt Romney somehow manages to fashion this into a campaign slogan or punchline. I can just imagine it "if we go forward with this socialized medicine business our children will be stopped in their tracks by vast European style bureacracies that ration toothbrushes and toothpaste." It is unfortunate but at the moment the republican base are a bunch of cheap dates that seem to be riveted by talk of killing jihadis, the damn French, and cutting taxes. A central tenet of Romney's campaign has actually been to talk shit about France. Not that I don't enjoy making French jokes ("I have a good French rifle for you, it's only been dropped once") but it doesn't constitute a policy prescription or a governance philosophy. If a republican wants to win the election they will have to discover a compelling narrative and this is usually rooted in sensible and appealing policy prescriptions. One arrives at sensible policy prescriptions by developing their own ideas and engaging others in order to determine their fitness, not by making jokes about how Europeans are a bunch of cheese eating, post historical, socialist surrender monkeys.