Kathleen Parker gushes over Romney’s visit to Poland:
In what can only be viewed as a crowning achievement, Romney was endorsed by Poland’s iconic labor leader and former president, Lech Walesa.
This makes it sound as if there were ever any doubt about which candidate Walesa preferred. As a general rule, it isn’t a major or “crowning” achievement when a politician receives an endorsement from the person who invited him in the first place. Given his poor relationship with Obama, it’s hardly surprising that Walesa prefers Romney. When there was an opportunity for Walesa to meet Obama, he declined by saying that it would amount to nothing more than a photo opportunity. Obama apparently returned the favor by not inviting Walesa to the Medal of Freedom ceremony where Obama made his remarkable “Polish death camps” error. Now Walesa has had his photo opportunity with Romney as payback.
Most of the people likely to be impressed by this endorsement were already going to vote for Romney anyway, which just underscores how redundant and unnecessary the entire trip was. Parker’s reaction is typical. She was a Romney supporter long before he had secured the nomination, and she sees Romney’s trip as a big success, but nothing happened during the trip to make an undecided or skeptical voter more likely to support him. Many committed Romney supporters and Republican partisans perceive Romney’s foreign trip as a triumph, but very few others share that assessment. If one famous former Polish president favors Romney, it might be worth noting that more Poles favor Obama’s re-election than don’t by a 14-point margin. Which is more relevant for understanding contemporary Poland? It’s at this point that Republican hawks remember that they don’t care what people in other countries think.
The speech Romney delivered in Warsaw wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but there also wasn’t as much to it as Parker would like us to believe. Mark Adomanis reviewed some of the more significant problems in Romney’s use of Polish economic and fiscal policies as examples. One reason for Polish economic success relative to the rest of Europe is that it isn’t part of the eurozone. Poland doesn’t have to destroy itself for the sake of the common currency, and it hasn’t.
Near the end of the speech, Romney said, “In times of trouble and in times of peace, we march together.” It’s a nice sentiment, but what Romney didn’t acknowledge and probably didn’t want to acknowledge is that Poland “marched together” with the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan and has since come to regret it. The U.S.-Polish relationship is not as close as it once was partly because it was a very one-sided relationship in which Poland provided support for U.S. policies and received nothing in return except a proposed missile defense installation most Poles didn’t want. As his famous endorser said not that long ago, “The Americans have always only taken care of their own interests, and they have used everyone else.” If that is what Romney has in mind for the future (and there is good reason to think that it is), he’ll find that most Poles aren’t interested in marching with him.