As Mitt Romney highlights foreign policy on the campaign trail, President Obama’s spokeswoman Jen Psaki had this to say about the GOP candidate’s tendency to tick off U.S. allies and others: “The only person who has offended Europe more is probably Chevy Chase.”
We assume she was referring to the comedian’s 1985 slapstick movie “National Lampoon’s European Vacation,” in which Chase (whose birthday is today, coincidentally) plays a hapless American tourist who bungles a tour of the Continent.
And while Romney, unlike Chase’s obliviously goofy character Clark Griswold, hasn’t toppled Stonehenge with a Citroen or prompted a dog to jump off the Eiffel tower (yet!), he does have a record of poking friendly nations.
During last week’s presidential debate, he took an unprovoked swipe at, of all places, the the land of Gaudi. “I don’t want to go down the path of Spain,” he said, when asked about government spending. Spaniards were outraged at being pointed to as a cautionary tale.
Maybe he just doesn’t like tapas?
Of course, the most famous example of Romney’s international slights happened in jolly olde England, where he insulted Brits by questioning their readiness for the London Olympics and noting how small their houses are.
And he might not be too popular in Moscow, either, since he declared Russia to be a major “geopolitical foe” that aligns with the world’s really bad actors.
He also irritated Japan when he declared at an August fund-raiser, “We are not Japan. We are not going to be a nation that suffers in decline and distress for a decade or a century.”
So if the Romney family is due for a vacation after the election — no matter the outcome — perhaps they could follow the Griswolds’ itinerary. Too bad they’re too large a bunch to fit into a Citroen...
But while Romney doles out insults, taking the opposite approach has pitfalls, too. Loop fans might recall that video from a Danish TV broadcast that poked fun at President Obama’s penchant for complimenting foreign dignitaries by saying that their country “punches above its weight.”
He said it about Denmark. And the Netherlands... and about Norway, Ireland, and the Philippines. As the newscast points out, the Obama’s also fond of telling all our allies that they’re our “strongest” or “closest” of all.
Maybe get the guy a thesaurus?