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Obama's not Kenyan. He's (gasp) European

January 11, 2012 | 11:01 am

Obama
President Obama may not be a Kenyan, but according to Mitt Romney, he’s something worse -– a European. Philosophically, at least. In his New Hampshire victory speech, Romney  claimed: “He wants to turn America into a European-style entitlement society. We want to ensure that we remain a free and prosperous land of opportunity. This president takes his inspiration from the capitals of Europe; we look to the cities and small towns of America.”

Which may not be a good idea if you’re talking about cuisine. Seriously, Romney’s Euro-trashing of Obama is only a politer version of Rick Perry’s slam that the president is a socialist. (In debased American political discourse, “socialist” means “communist.”  In Europe, “democratic socialist” and “social democrat” are interchangeable.)

But is the Europeanizing of Obama fair?

Obviously, liberal Democrats have affinities with European social democrats, just as Republicans feel a political kinship with European conservatives. Margaret Thatcher lived in Europe, after all, whether she liked it or not.  But it’s unfair to suggest that Obama is a confiscatory clone of European socialists or social Democrats. His signature legislative accomplishment –- the much-denounced “Obamacare” –- did not include the British-style single-payer system that progressives pined for.

Besides, the Europe-bashing is pretty indiscriminate. Yes, some European states with generous benefits schemes are in trouble, but their leading rescuer –- Germany –- is also an “entitlement society.” 

And then there’s Canada, which in the past has served as a target for opponents of Obamacare. Maybe Romney didn’t accuse the president of looking to Ottawa for inspiration because Canadians are hard to demonize, eh?

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-- Michael McGough

Photo: President Obama is seen leaving the stage after speaking to employees of the Environmental Protection Agency on Jan. 10. Credit: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

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