It would be refreshing to have a Republican primary without scapegoats. But like a picnic without flies, the notion of a GOP contest without some group to point at as an example of everything that’s wrong is too good to be true. Over the years, welfare queens, hippies, affirmative-action beneficiaries, Ivy League professors, gays, feminists, civil libertarians, flag burners, and Hollywood celebrities have all had the privilege of being singled out as enemies of the “real’’ Americans, and this year offers no shortage of candidates. Already, Muslims and illegal immigrants are in a neck-and-neck competition for who will elicit more nose-curling distaste at GOP debates. (Viewers can keep score at home.)
But in yet another sign of his determination to take the high road this time around, Mitt Romney has chosen to build his stump speech around. . . Europeans. “How is it that President Obama was so wrong? I happen to think that in part he took his inspiration from Europe,’’ Romney intoned recently, in what’s become a regular line of attack. “He has been awfully European.’’
One can actually envision Romney straining to find a group to scapegoat without picking on a beleaguered racial or religious minority. That alone separates him from the pack. But is it too much to ask the GOP frontrunner to frame his arguments in terms of what he’s for, not who he’s against?