We are going to need a special filing system to keep track of all the blunders Mitt Romney has made on his first trip abroad, a trip that is designed to help American voters see him as a statesman but which, instead, has made Romney look like a guy who can't open his mouth without sticking his foot into it.
First, he dissed London's organizing efforts for the Olympics, then revealed a meeting with British intelligence that was supposed to be secret, ending his time in the UK with a reference to 10 Downing Street's "backside."
In Israel, he made a reference to Israel's superior culture. That he did so in the context of the relative median incomes between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has been seen as an insult to the Palestinians. But, it also insults the Israelis when you think about. There are many wonderful things about Israeli culture, not least that in the 20th century they did something that, so far as I can recall, has never really done before, rehabilitated a language, Hebrew, that had not been used in daily discourse for many centuries. Romney might also have commented on the different ways American culture can discern its roots in the meeting of Jerusalem, Athens and Rome, although given his dire warnings about the Greek economy, maybe he would want to leave Athens out. But, to reduce the richness of Israeli culture to median income is, well, strange.
Romney went on to comment, approvingly, about how well Israelis do in the health care field while spending only 8 percent of GDP on health care compared the U.S. which spends 18 percent. Huh? Is Romney not aware that Israel spends less because it has, for decades, had the kind of government regulation the U.S. is only just beginning to implement with the Affordable Care Act? This ties in to a different inability of Romney, and other Republicans, to appreciate Israeli culture. Romney likes to exult Israel and complain about "European socialism" evidently unaware that the modern state of Israel was founded by European socialists. They brought European ideas about health care with them.
I can't wait to see what he has to say about Poland!