I can see that this was meant as a calculated attack, but it's a gaffe -- though, as a gaffe, it's a logical by-product of the kind of foreign trip Mitt Romney's campaign put together:
Mitt Romney would restore 'Anglo-Saxon' relations between Britain and AmericaThe Romney people want to bait Obama as "foreign," but the use of "Anglo-Saxon" is a bridge too far -- saying that, instead of the usual "Anglo-American," is going to elicit negative responses in the center as well as on the left, and it's going to upset, among other people, some Jewish voters who might otherwise be receptive to Romney's message -- a voter group Romney is courting on this trip.
... In remarks that may prompt accusations of racial insensitivity, one [Romney adviser] suggested that Mr Romney was better placed to understand the depth of ties between the two countries than Mr Obama, whose father was from Africa.
"We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special," the adviser said of Mr Romney, adding: "The White House didn't fully appreciate the shared history we have".
Now, what exactly is Romney doing on this trip? Honing his foreign policy chops? No. He's opening a few more fronts in his Fox/talk-radio-style war against Obama. The entire trip is meant to push wingnut hot buttons. There's literally nothing else going on here.
What's his itinerary? England, Israel, Germany, and Poland. That's it -- no other Middle Eastern countries, no India, no Pacific Rim, no Africa. Roy Edroso explains that the whole point of going to England is to embody wingnut rage:
Romney's advisors say that as President Romney "would seek to reinstate the Churchill bust displayed in the Oval Office by George W. Bush but returned to British diplomats by Mr Obama when he took office in 2009." They're still going on about that bust, even though it was meant to be returned all along and no one gives a shit except the two million conservatives who blogged about it at the time. In fact, all of this nonsense is a rehash of one of the more ridiculous rightwing fits of 2009, when the Obamas were alleged to have dissed Queen Elizabeth because something something no curtsey, thereby shattering what had once been a great "Anglosphere" alliance of Christopher Hitchens and anybody else who didn't like wogs.Oh, and:
Mr Obama has appeared less interested in relations with London than Mr Bush. He repeatedly rebuffed Gordon Brown when the then-prime minister sought a meeting at the UN in 2009 and was criticised for responding to an elaborate gift with a set of DVDs that did not work in Britain.The right-o-sphere has never gotten over that.
Israel? Obviously he's going there to make the point that Barack Obama hates Jews (a point being reinforced by a multimillion-dollar ad campaign bankrolled by Sheldon Adelson that aims to persuade Jewish voters of the same thing).
Poland? Well, as The New York Times noted a few days ago,
In Warsaw and Gdansk, he will make a play for Catholic and Polish voters (a big constituency in Pennsylvania and Michigan), Republican political strategists say.This is also linked to the American right's "We are all Catholics now" notion (Obama wants to force churches to pay for birth control!), as well as to the right's Ronald Reagan fetish (Reagan and a Polish pope ended the Cold War is, on the right, a plain statement of fact).
Germany? I imagine Romney's going there to celebrate austerity -- ignoring the fact that German austerity coexists with a social safety net that's much more extensive than even the one that the big commie Obama maintains. Romney won't note that Germany actually did this as the crisis spread:
They extended the "Kurzarbeit" or "short work" program to encourage companies to furlough workers or give them fewer hours instead of firing them, making up lost wages out of a fund filled in good times through payroll deductions and company contributions.Socialism!
Romney won't mention or acknowledge that. Romney's remarks throughout the trip will be pure Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity. He's not even going to pretend to be broadening his base of knowledge about the world. He's not even going to fake gravitas. It's going to be pure revanchism from beginning to end.