In America, the race for the Republican Party nomination has hit a new low.
This is the latest attack ad, funded by Newt Gingrich’s campaign (or possibly one of these mysterious organisations now allowed under US law which are not actually part of a candidate’s campaign but operates outside of it).
Yes, front-runner Mitt Romney has been attacked for, among other things, speaking French. Quelle horreur!
Presumably this is all part of a plan to present Romney as a European style liberal (and as a European liberal, I ask “What’s wrong with that?”) which is anathema to right-wing Republicans. To them, it’s bad enough to be a liberal but a European-style liberal is even worse.
It’s entertaining to note two things about this video. Firstly, the clip they chose to illustrate Romney speaking shows him saying “Hello, my name is Mitt Romney” in French. Hardly indicative of any level of fluency, is it? Everybody (well, maybe not particularly insular Republicans, but everbody else) knows how to say that. I know how to say it and I’ve never studied French. I just pay attention to the world.
The second interesting thing about this video is that Gingrich’s doctoral thesis (which was in European History, specifically Belgian Educational Policy in the Congo 1945-1960, by the way) lists several sources in the bibliography which are written in French. That would indicate a far-higher level of proficiency with the language than Romney displays in that clip.
As a Brit, this nominations race is a bit of a sideshow to me. I just hope they choose the least-crazy candidate, just in case they win in November. Or alternatively, one who is so crazy that President Obama can’t lose.
Isn’t it worrying when one of the candidates for the job of President of the United States – supposedly the ‘leader of the free world’ – attacks another candidate for being able to speak another language? Any sane person could see that’s a positive thing! It shows a degree of intellect and an awareness of the world outside. To make it a negative aspect of Romney’s abilities is absurd and displays a worrying attitude.