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Romney Unites the Brits Behind the London Olympics

"Britain is an easy date. So how did Mitt Romney mess up so badly?" asks Jonathan Freedland:

So the big surprise in the opening ceremony is not what I expected. I thought Danny Boyle would set aside three minutes for a lavish video tribute to Willard Mitt Romney, thanking the Republican presidential nominee for doing what, until Thursday, neither David Cameron, Boris Johnson or Sebastian Coe had managed to do: silencing all but the grumpiest sceptics and uniting the British people in enthusiastic determination to enjoy the London Olympics.

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Best Music Videos for the US Elections

I have tuned out of the Republican presidential debates. Too much pandering, too much silly campaign rhetoric. I wrote about their statements on Europe, for instance in Gingrich, Romney rely on Eurobashing to "define their America" and "Europe" is a Dirty Word in the United States. I do, however, tune into official and unoffical campaign music videos.

Here are my three favorites so far in this election cycle: The best music video for a presidential candidate (Rick Santorum), the best video against a presidential candidate (Newt Gingrich), and the most bizarre one from a (former) candidate (Herman Cain).

1. While I don't agree with Rick Santorum's political views, I consider this the best music video for a presidential candidate. It helps me to better understand why so many Americans like him and why his campaign is so successful at the moment. The music video "Game On" by the band First Love, praises Rick Santorum's stands on faith, abortion, and manufacturing:

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Gingrich, Romney rely on Eurobashing to "define their America"

Four years ago, Obama campaigned with hope and change. He ran against George W. Bush's track record, even though Bush was not running again. Today, Republicans campaign with fear and "against Europe", although Europe won't be on the ballot box in November.

For Obama, Bush was "the other" against which he defined himself. For Republicans that "other" is Europe. (See all the Poli Sci literature on collective identities and nationalism) Newt Gingrich in his South Caroline Victoria Speech according to FOX News:

Those two choices, I believe, will give the American people a chance to decide permanently whether we want to remain the historic America that has provided opportunity for more people of more backgrounds than any country in history, or whether in fact, we prefer to become a brand new secular, European-style bureaucratic socialist system.

What does secularism have to do with any of this? I think Newt Gingrich is just listing all the "bad" things he can think of and does not care for European differences.  Italy, Ireland, Poland are part of Europe and not that secular. Italy has big economic troubles, Poland not so much. I would leave religion out of it. The Scandinavians are more secular, have less economic troubles and provide more opportunities (social mobility) for their citizens than the US does.

Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff from the German Marshall Fund Blog sums up the Eurobaloney on the Campaign Trail and reminds us that Americans have "traditionally understood their history, culture, and identity in contrast to Europe's."

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Social Welfare in Europe and North America

This is a guest post from Andrew Zvirzdin.  Originally from upstate New York, Andrew is currently pursuing a Master's degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, Italy. He previously studied at Université Libre Bruxelles, University of Rome Tor Vergata, and Brigham Young University. He has worked on the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament and as an Assistant Editor for Scandinavian Studies. Andrew specializes in political economy, international finance, and EU–US relations.

Andrew ZvirzdinFreedom Fries are out of style, but Europe is still taking a beating this campaign season. Republicans are gleefully using Barack Obama's recent visit to Europe as evidence that he wishes to import European-style welfare states back to the United States “to grab even more of our liberty and destroy our hard-earned livelihood,” as Mike Huckabee recently put it.

Just how evil are European welfare states compared to the United States?

OECD data indicates that the differences may not be as large as we may think. Consider two key indicators:
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The Best Way to Energize the Republican Base

If Americans will not elect Obama, then the "the world's verdict will be harsh," opines Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian: "An America that disdains Obama for his global support risks turning current anti-Bush feeling into something far worse.

EURSOC argues that this statement could be used by the McCain campaign and promises to offer "offer a prize to any reader who can think of a better way to energise the Republican base."

Well, the website Europeans for Obama might motivate some conservatives to go to the polls in November.

Huckabee: Obama's "European Ideas" Threaten America's Freedom

Mike Huckabee, who finished second in the Republican presidential primaries, said at the Republican National Convention:

John McCain offers specific ideas to respond to a need for change. But let me say there are some things we don't want to change: freedom, security, and the opportunity to prosper. Barack Obama's excellent adventure to Europe... (LAUGHTER) ... took his campaign for change to hundreds of thousands of people who don't even vote or pay taxes here. But let me hasten to say that it's not what he took there that concerns me. It's what he brought back: European ideas that give the government the chance to grab even more of our liberty and destroy our hard-earned livelihood.

He's right. Americans should never travel to Europe. The danger of brainwashing is too severe. Europeans are so sinister: They attract American teenager with their small freedoms. And once these Americans return to the US, they reduce freedom and liberty in the heartland. They will join Obama's communist party and take away your guns, domesticate you by providing free health care and make you addicted to Dutch weed, Belgian chocolate, German sauerkraut, Italian cappuccino, and French surrender-monkey cheese so that Europe gets richer and America poorer.

Two years ago, I wrote the post "Using the United States to Scare Germans." Perhaps I should write one about "Using Europe to Scare Americans."

Related posts in the Atlantic Review:

Huckabee: United States Does Integration Better than Europe

The Euro-American Religious Divide

Europe-bashing has Diminishing Returns

Europhobic Wash Times Editorial about the "EUSSR"

Here is Your Article on McCain: There are no Articles on McCain!

We your Editors have received some reader emails this week that express concern we are writing about Obama too much, McCain too little.

I tend to agree Obama is covered disproportionately on AR, but I think it is important for people to realize that our main objective with AR is to identify key articles in the media, and respond to them -- the source of our problem is the fact that the media as a whole is biased toward talking about Wonder Boy Obama, and so our pool of content is limited as it is. 

We are not a news organization, but a blog that responds to news.  Subsequently, our disproportionate coverage of Obama reflects the media's disproportionate coverage of him.  The scant coverage of McCain is not limited to our website.  In fact, it seems the biggest news on McCain this week is that he is complaining about nobody wanting to write news about him.  And he is correct. 

In comparing Obama and McCain’s media entourages during Obama’s trip abroad last week, the
Globe and Mail found that:
Trailing in [Obama’s] charismatic wake was a whole legion of the top stars of the U.S. press corps. All three news anchors of the big networks were with him...  And back at home, during what was undeniably Obama Week in American journalism, when Mr. McCain touched down on a campaign stop in Manchester, N.H., there was... but one lonely local newsperson to witness the arrival of the other nominee.
However, McCain has not always been on the losing side of media bias.  Steven Chapman from Real Clear Politics makes the simple observation that the media is fickle; one day’s rock star can be old news--or no news--the next:
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California: Today Gay Marriage, Tomorrow Meteors and Volcanoes

The California Supreme Court made a 4-3 decision this week that will legalize gay marriage in California, most likely effective within 30 days.  As reported by the New York Times:
This decision will give Americans the lived experience that ending exclusion from marriage helps families and harms no one,” said Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry, who noted that same-sex marriages were legal in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, South Africa and Spain.
The timing of this action, coming only months before the US presidential elections in November, have led to speculation on whether or not it will hurt the Democratic nominee.  Alex Altman wrote an article in Time Magazine asking, “Will Gay Marriage Help the GOP?”:
California Republicans are hoping that history will prove instructive. After Massachusetts became the first state to codify marriage equality in 2003, the G.O.P. spent the ensuing general election wielding the issue as a potent weapon. Thirteen states passed ballot initiatives to ban same-sex marriage — including Ohio, the battleground that tipped the 2004 election in George W. Bush's favor. Opponents of gay marriage in California have generated more than 1 million signatures to place on November ballots an initiative amending the state's constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage.
Kai Stinchcombe, a PhD candidate in political science at Stanford University, and a very good friend of mine, created the popular Facebook group Gay Marriage Killed the Dinosaurs.  In his thoughtful analysis, Kai identifies 17 reasons gay marriage should remain illegal: Continue reading "California: Today Gay Marriage, Tomorrow Meteors and Volcanoes"