German politicians and pundits sometimes make reference to the United States to score points in domestic debates. US politicians and pundits don't use Germany in similar ways. They prefer France. Excerpts from a dialogue between two Americans and a Frenchman:
Presidential Candidate Rudy Giuliani: "If we are not careful and you don't elect me, this country will be to the left of France."
Ezra Klein responds: "We could elect Dennis Kucinich and 10 more Democratic senators and we wouldn't get anywhere near France."
Emmanuel responds in A Fistful of Euros to Ezra: "Well, France is also a country where insulting the flag is a criminal offense, where the level of opposition to affirmative action would delight any card-carrying Republican, where about 20% of the student body attend religious schools (double the American percentage) and where capital income is much less heavily taxed than in the U.S."
Related Atlantic Review post Transatlantic Obsessions