After eight years of the Bush administration sullying this country’s reputation around the world, President Obama faced a Herculean task of convincing the world that the days of American arrogance and domineering were over. Indeed, ending cowboy diplomacy and American pretentiousness earned the President respect and admiration America deserves as a world leader in the community of nations. In the race for the White House, presumptive Republican nominee Willard Romney is proving to the world, and America, that he will continue the arrogance characterized by George W. Bush that portrayed all Americans negatively.
In 1958, a political novel and subsequent 1963 movie portrayed the innate arrogance and pretentiousness Romney is displaying on his world fundraising tour, and unfortunately, the American people are suffering same behavior as Willard defines himself as The Ugly American at home. In the novel, a foreign journalist says, “A mysterious change seems to come over Americans when they go to a foreign land. They are pretentious, they’re loud and ostentatious.” Romney certainly lived up to the Ugly American portrayal during his visit to England, and although the level of arrogance was embarrassing to America, it is the real Romney that the American people have come to know over the past six months. Obviously, not all wealthy elitist Americans stoop to Romney’s level of condescension and preeminence, but his actions are borne of arrogance associated with his wealth, religious upbringing, sense of entitlement, and apparent feeling of superiority.
By now, Romney’s embarrassing behavior is well-known and apparently knows no end. After insulting the British people, he blasted London Mayor Boris Johnson as “an eccentric, odd fellow” whose public attack on Romney was characterized as “unbecoming and an indication of his bias towards President Obama.” Whether or not Mr. Johnson is biased toward the President is of no consequence, because he was reacting to Romney’s arrogance and disregard for the British people. As it turns out, there is an international bias towards President Obama and it is his foreign policy acumen that earns high marks throughout the world. Romney is fond of portraying the President as “angering America’s allies and emboldening its enemies,” but a Pew Research poll tells a different story altogether.
The Pew Foundation released results of a global survey in June after soliciting opinions from several countries around the world. The survey asked if the countries have “some” or a “great deal of” trust in President Obama, and the numbers were overwhelmingly positive. For example, in Britain, 80% of people trust President Obama compared with 16% who trusted George W. Bush and in fact, all countries surveyed have much higher approval ratings of America in 2012 than they did in 2008, when Bush president. In some countries like China, Russia, and Arab countries, the President’s approval dropped indicating that he is not emboldening America’s enemies, and Arab countries complained the President has not been fair dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and that he uses drone attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan to go after terrorists. In direct contrast to Romney’s assertions, President Obama lost some of his global popularity for being too pro-Israeli and too hawkish.
However, the President’s popularity aside, it is Romney’s arrogance that causes him trouble on the world stage and at home. The disregard Romney displayed toward the British is typical of his attitude toward 98% of Americans who are not members of the wealthy elite class. His proposals exemplify that disregard for portraying average Americans as odd and eccentric for expecting government to work for them, and not against them, and it is not just Romney’s policies, it is his sense of entitlement to special advantages average Americans are prohibited from enjoying because they are not in the same income class as Willard.
His refusal to release his tax returns are because they are toxic to his candidacy, but his wife’s comments epitomize arrogance and superiority Romney is notorious for. In remarks during an interview with ABC News, Mrs. Willard said, “we’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and about how we live our life,” and the phrase “you people” characterizes Romney’s arrogant superiority toward the average American who will suffer under a Romney presidency. For the wealthy though, Romney’s attitude is entirely different and he proves it with a tax plan providing $6.5 trillion in tax cuts for the 1%, with the lion’s share going to the top 1/10th of the 1%. The stunning aspect of Romney’s attitude is that he cannot comprehend why average Americans might feel put-upon for being asked to pay higher taxes to support the wealthy, or that they think the wealthy should pay the same tax rate as the middle class.
A recent poll confirmed that Americans overwhelmingly think President Obama understands Americans better than Willard 60% to 30%, and it is down to his concern for all the American people. David Axelrod, the President’s chief political strategist said the people like President Obama because he is “accessible to me, someone who understands me, and someone I can relate to.” The President has spent his entire term working for Americans at every income level despite Republican obstruction, and Romney makes no secret that his only priority is helping the richest Americans at the expense of the rest of the population. This election will not be a popularity contest by any means, but the ability to relate to, and attempt to help, average Americans struggling through the Republican-caused economic malaise gives the President an advantage.
For the past few days, pundits and media-types have enjoyed what they call “Romney’s gaffes” as if they are aberrations, but they are not gaffes, or mistakes, or miscues; they are the real Romney. His penchant for lying, secrecy, pretentiousness, and arrogance are who the man is and one thing is certain; whether he is visiting foreign countries or running for the presidency at home, Willard Romney is The Ugly American.