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“Not Afraid to Wield a Chainsaw”: Europe on Ryan as VP Candidate

“Not Afraid to Wield a Chainsaw”: Europe on Ryan as VP Candidate

A June survey by the Pew Research Center found that, while international support for President Barack Obama has “significantly” declined since he took office, confidence in him in Europe still remains high. While it remains to be seen how Mitt Romney’s foreign policy would differ from Obama’s (“given Romney’s remarkable ignorance of the subject and the opacity of many of his comments,” as Stephen M. Walt writes in Foreign Policy), here’s a selection of responses in Europe to the choice of Rep. Paul Ryan as GOP vice-presidential candidate.

With Europe in the grip of a lagging financial crisis that has seen many countries — Greece, Spain, the UK — impose unpopular austerity measures, media sources emphasize Ryan as a deficit-slasher who has called for, among much else, reducing Medicare’s funding and other government programs.

Ryan is the “great new hope in the Republican Party” (“große Nachwuchshoffnung in der republikanischen Partei”) who could certainly help the Republicans gain ground among conservative voters, says Germany’s conservative newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine.

The BBC’s North American editor Mark Mardell said that Ryan is a “bold and ideological choice.”

The Italian newspaper La Repubblica‘s adjective to describe “ultraconservative” Ryan is “grintoso,“ ”gritty.”

Deutsche Welle quotes Christian Lammert, an expert on US politics at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies at the Free University of Berlin, who says that “Ryan’s views on economic and tax policy are very radical, so I’m not sure if he’s a good choice for targeting independent voters, who make up about 40 percent of the base” though he will certainly help attract right-wing Republicans.

For these reasons, Harry J. Enten writes in the center-left Guardian that the choice of Ryan “makes little sense” to him electorally. The Guardian elsewhere describes Ryan as “controversial” and an “ideological conservative” whose choice will certainly “polarize the White House campaign.”

The conservative Telegraph approved of Romney’s choice, deeming Ryan “whipsmart, well-spoken, and telegenic” and a “young economic warrior”  who “provided the leadership the president did not” in the face of the US’s budget deficit.

The French newspaper Le Monde says that Ryan is a “young wolf about the budget, adored by the Tea Party” (“un jeune loup du budget, adulé par le Tea Party”) who is “not afraid of wielding a chainsaw” (“ne craint pas de manier la tronçonneuse”) and has shown pictures of riots in Greece to his district in Wisconsin while asking if “are we waiting” for such to happen?

(Though the main reason that demonstrations that have sometimes turned violent are being held in Greece is to protest austerity measures of the sort that would be opposed under Ryan’s proposals.)

The German newsmagazine Der Spiegel describes Ryan as “less boring than [former Minnesota Governor Tim] Pawlenty and [Ohio Senator Rob] Portman, but less exciting than Palin” (“weniger langweilig als Pawlenty und Portman, aber weniger aufregend als Palin”).

Noting that Ryan and Romney share a love of Powerpoints replete with graphics and such to illustrate fiscal targets, Der Spiegel also suggests that Ryan “could play the role of the mastermind.” With reference to Romney introducing Ryan as “the next president of the United States,” Der Spiegel then concluded that he might be a “kind of economic policy Cheney” (“könnte dabei die Rolle des Vordenkers übernehmen”… “so eine Art wirtschaftspolitischer Cheney”).

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241 comments

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6:28AM PDT on Sep 13, 2012

Obama has worked frantically to remedy the pitfalls this country has faced since Bush was in office. Now with the growing turmoil aimed at Americans in the Middle East, Obama has showed his grit on foreign policy once again. And make no bones about it, Obama not only has made America safer from Al Qaeda, he is ever vigilant on other growing threats from these other regions of the world. He's been determined to make our economic woes better and just 12 months ago proposed a 'Jobs Act' which would have put 3 million Americans back to work. He emphasized the need to act now (then), with only fourteen months to the election. The Republicans refused to do anything because their focus of course was making Obama a one term president. Ryan has been one of the major problems along within his 'party of hell no', for the economy and why Standard and Poors downgraded America's credit rating. He would literally gut all social programs and give greater tax breaks to the top 1%. Time will tell, but I don't believe Romney/Ryan will win in November, but I think each time Romney opens his big mouth, he digs a deeper hole for himself and his running mate to have difficult climbing out of.

3:41AM PDT on Sep 13, 2012

Since most Europeans would be classified as liberals or progressive in the US, even the conservatives, I don't find this interesting at all.

5:57AM PDT on Aug 24, 2012

It's the poor that will suffer. Romney/Ryan says that they are Christian. CINO. Christian in name only.

8:23AM PDT on Aug 23, 2012

It is interesting gazing at America through European windows. Europeans are certainly better informed about the States than the reverse. Save us all if the Republicans take the White House.

11:01AM PDT on Aug 19, 2012

The Guardian and the Telegraph seem to get Ryan, as do the Germans.
For as much as the press has been putting Romney down for his statements about the Olympics, he choice of VP seems to be a positive one.
PS Italy: why does "gritty " mean? Hard to take? Possibly, you could use a gritty politician to get you out of your economic mess.

9:58AM PDT on Aug 16, 2012

Dorothy N., I am sure that you understand the context of the article you reference but to make sure that other people are not confused I want to clarify that the link you have posted below is to a satirical website and is not reporting an actual event.

8:23PM PDT on Aug 15, 2012

http://www.thetimesnot.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=322&Itemid=99


Romney Plan to Save U.S. Carmakers Mirrored That for Trapped Chilean Miners

12:55PM PDT on Aug 15, 2012

Romney and Ryan don't want smaller government . just a corporate government.

There expressed economic plans simply aim to put friendly little old corporations in place of government , relieving the United States of it's constitutional obligations in regards to "promoting and providing for the general welfare" and giving it over to entities whose obligations are to "promote and provide for their own profit".

12:49PM PDT on Aug 15, 2012

Romney and Ryan don't want smaller government . just a corporate government.

There expressed economic plans simply aim to put friendly little old corporations in place of government , relieving the United States of it's constitutional obligations in regards to "promoting and providing for the general welfare" and giving it over to entities whose obligations are to "promote and provide for their own profit".

12:40PM PDT on Aug 14, 2012

Romney/Ryan, now that is a scary thought-get out and vote and keep our country safe.

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