Romney’s speech in Poland

Romney’s speech in Poland August 7, 2012

To illustrate the point of the “gaffe” post, what did you learn from media coverage of Mitt Romney’s  trip to England, Poland, and Israel?  That he made people mad at him by questioning England’s Olympic preparedness and Palestinian culture?  Anything else?  Did you know he made a rather substantive speech in Poland outlining some of his key principles?  Whether you are for him or against him, I would think that would be worth at least some coverage.  Here is an example of more substantial reporting and analysis from columnist Kathleen Parker:

“Your nation has moved from a state monopoly over the economy, price controls and severe trade restrictions to a culture of entrepreneurship, greater fiscal responsibility and international trade,” said Romney.

“When economists speak of Poland today, it is not to lament chronic problems but to describe how this nation empowered the individual, lifted the heavy hand of government, and became the fastest-growing economy in all of Europe.”

Romney pointedly spoke of the “false promise of a government-dominated economy,” the importance of stimulating innovation, attracting investment, expanding trade and living within means. . . .

Romney also liberally sprinkled terms that correspond to two of the most important Catholic social justice principles: subsidiarity and solidarity.

Subsidiarity, in addition to being one of the features of federalism, also refers to the theological belief that nothing should be done by a larger, more complex organization that can be accomplished as well by a smaller, simpler organization. As developed by German theologian Oswald von Nell-Breuning, the principle is based upon the autonomy and dignity of the human individual and emphasizes the importance of small institutions from the family to the church to labor unions.

Inasmuch as the welfare state is an instrument of centralized government, it is in conflict not only with personal freedom but also with Catholic teaching, as John Paul II noted in his 1991 encyclical “Centesimus Annus.” He wrote that the intervention of the state deprived society of its responsibility, which “leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending.”

All of this history and understanding were bound up in Romney’s few, carefully selected words — and Catholic voters surely heard them. They also would have heard “solidarity,” which resonates among America’s working-class Catholics who were inspired by Poland’s labor-led uprising in the 1980s. In what can only be viewed as a crowning achievement, Romney was endorsed by Poland’s former president and iconic labor leader, Lech Walesa. . . .

Romney’s message to voters by way of comments to our allies was that big government is the enemy of individual freedom, both economic and, clearly, religious. While the nation’s gaffe-seekers were enjoying a few moments of snark, Romney was articulating foundational principles with none other than the most prominent community organizer of them all.

via Kathleen Parker: In Poland, Romney addresses economic and religious freedom – The Washington Post.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Tom Hering

    Poland fully funds a state university education for its citizens, and guarantees health care for all its citizens. Its economic growth is partly due to generous subsidies from the European Union. (Poland joined in 2004.) And according to the IMF, “Total government expenditure as a percentage of GDP was about 44 percent last year – compared to 41 percent in the United States.” “2011 GDP per capita in Poland was $20,600 compared to $49,000 in the U.S. , and unemployment is 12.4 percent” (U.S. government data). All in all, Poland isn’t quite the captalist/conservative exemplar that Romney made it out to be. Or tried to make it out to be.

    As for Lech Walensa, he’s moved to the right since becoming a politician, and remains miffed at Obama for not meeting with him. He invited Romney to Poland, and then gave Mitt his stamp of approval. This made it necessary for the Solidarity union (which Reagan praised) to make its position clear: “Mitt Romney supported attacks on trade unions and employees’ rights. Solidarity was not involved in organizing Romney’s meeting with Wałesa and did not invite him to visit Poland.”

  • Tom Hering

    Poland fully funds a state university education for its citizens, and guarantees health care for all its citizens. Its economic growth is partly due to generous subsidies from the European Union. (Poland joined in 2004.) And according to the IMF, “Total government expenditure as a percentage of GDP was about 44 percent last year – compared to 41 percent in the United States.” “2011 GDP per capita in Poland was $20,600 compared to $49,000 in the U.S. , and unemployment is 12.4 percent” (U.S. government data). All in all, Poland isn’t quite the captalist/conservative exemplar that Romney made it out to be. Or tried to make it out to be.

    As for Lech Walensa, he’s moved to the right since becoming a politician, and remains miffed at Obama for not meeting with him. He invited Romney to Poland, and then gave Mitt his stamp of approval. This made it necessary for the Solidarity union (which Reagan praised) to make its position clear: “Mitt Romney supported attacks on trade unions and employees’ rights. Solidarity was not involved in organizing Romney’s meeting with Wałesa and did not invite him to visit Poland.”

  • SKPeterson

    Tom – Comparison should be from where Poland was circa 1989 to where it is now.

  • SKPeterson

    Tom – Comparison should be from where Poland was circa 1989 to where it is now.

  • Tom Hering

    Ah, but the comparison Mitt made was between Poland now and the U.S. under Obama.

  • Tom Hering

    Ah, but the comparison Mitt made was between Poland now and the U.S. under Obama.

  • fjsteve

    Tom, it’s still a fair comparison. Speaking in relative terms, I believe he was saying that Poland is moving in the right direction and we’re moving in the wrong.

  • fjsteve

    Tom, it’s still a fair comparison. Speaking in relative terms, I believe he was saying that Poland is moving in the right direction and we’re moving in the wrong.

  • Tom Hering

    fjsteve @ 4, you mean it’s moving in the right direction because Poland was the first Eastern European country to recognize the Mormon Church? 😀

  • Tom Hering

    fjsteve @ 4, you mean it’s moving in the right direction because Poland was the first Eastern European country to recognize the Mormon Church? 😀

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Then there is this:

    Unlike their counterparts in western Europe and North America, Poland’s banks did not load up on credit derivatives and the other exotic products that led to the collapse of 2007-08.

    And

    Even more impressively, the authorities in Poland did not wait for the crisis to break before toughening financial regulation.

    In its 2010 report on the Polish economy, the OECD noted: “While excessive borrowing in foreign currency had been actively discouraged already in 2006, the Polish Supervision Authority convinced financial firms to retain their 2008 profits in order to strengthen their capital base and reinforced the supervision of both banks’ balance sheets and their funding links with foreign parents.”

    From here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/05/poland-gdansk-road-21st-century

    So regulations, less borrowing, less banking risk.

    Isn’t that what Mark Carney was attacked for suggesting by US Bankers?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Then there is this:

    Unlike their counterparts in western Europe and North America, Poland’s banks did not load up on credit derivatives and the other exotic products that led to the collapse of 2007-08.

    And

    Even more impressively, the authorities in Poland did not wait for the crisis to break before toughening financial regulation.

    In its 2010 report on the Polish economy, the OECD noted: “While excessive borrowing in foreign currency had been actively discouraged already in 2006, the Polish Supervision Authority convinced financial firms to retain their 2008 profits in order to strengthen their capital base and reinforced the supervision of both banks’ balance sheets and their funding links with foreign parents.”

    From here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/05/poland-gdansk-road-21st-century

    So regulations, less borrowing, less banking risk.

    Isn’t that what Mark Carney was attacked for suggesting by US Bankers?

  • DonS

    The media’s coverage of Romney’s trip was a joke.

  • DonS

    The media’s coverage of Romney’s trip was a joke.

  • Hey, right-wingers, remember when Obama went to Germany in 2008? Remember how you reacted to that, with concerns of “global politicking”, or Obama’s “inviting [himself] to Europe to make campaign speeches to non-voters”? Remember how you mocked Obama for that “stunt”?

    Oh, what’s that? You want me to seriously consider Romney’s campaign speech in Poland? Oh. I see. I see how it is.

  • Hey, right-wingers, remember when Obama went to Germany in 2008? Remember how you reacted to that, with concerns of “global politicking”, or Obama’s “inviting [himself] to Europe to make campaign speeches to non-voters”? Remember how you mocked Obama for that “stunt”?

    Oh, what’s that? You want me to seriously consider Romney’s campaign speech in Poland? Oh. I see. I see how it is.

  • SKPeterson

    Todd – You are right. It is crap and I’m partcularly concerned with the Israeli leg of the trip. Going overseas during campaign season is tantamount to going either hat -in -hand or on imperial tour of the hustings. But, it says Moscow, Russia is more important than Moscow, Idaho and Jerusalem, Israel is more important than Jerusalem, New York.

  • SKPeterson

    Todd – You are right. It is crap and I’m partcularly concerned with the Israeli leg of the trip. Going overseas during campaign season is tantamount to going either hat -in -hand or on imperial tour of the hustings. But, it says Moscow, Russia is more important than Moscow, Idaho and Jerusalem, Israel is more important than Jerusalem, New York.

  • SKPeterson

    I should add that if foreign trips are now de rigeur for candidates Ottawa and Mexico City are much better choices.

  • SKPeterson

    I should add that if foreign trips are now de rigeur for candidates Ottawa and Mexico City are much better choices.

  • S. P.

    “Catholic voters surely heard them…”

    And some Protestant voters as well. For any kneejerkers here, the economic and social ideas of von Nell-Breuning (and John Paul II) and the Solidarity movement deserve a second look. They can hardly be characterized as laissez faire capitalism. The support from American Republicans in the 1980s was a matter of international politics rather than coincidence of economic and social ideologies.

    Why is Poland on the campaign trail? Obviously the campaign views it as part of a successful strategy or they wouldn’t be doing it.
    -This demonstrates aggressive confidence, which most American voters like (maybe not Dakotan and Minnesotan Scandinavians but we don’t represent the majority). Going to Poland shows that Romney feels certain of victory and as future head of state needs to start working on foreign policy as soon as possible
    -The “working-class Catholics who were inspired by Poland’s labor-led uprising in the 1980s” VOTE, at a higher rate than many other demographic groups.
    -Romney is acting like a world leader, which makes it easier for people to envision him in the role of President and thus vote for him.

  • S. P.

    “Catholic voters surely heard them…”

    And some Protestant voters as well. For any kneejerkers here, the economic and social ideas of von Nell-Breuning (and John Paul II) and the Solidarity movement deserve a second look. They can hardly be characterized as laissez faire capitalism. The support from American Republicans in the 1980s was a matter of international politics rather than coincidence of economic and social ideologies.

    Why is Poland on the campaign trail? Obviously the campaign views it as part of a successful strategy or they wouldn’t be doing it.
    -This demonstrates aggressive confidence, which most American voters like (maybe not Dakotan and Minnesotan Scandinavians but we don’t represent the majority). Going to Poland shows that Romney feels certain of victory and as future head of state needs to start working on foreign policy as soon as possible
    -The “working-class Catholics who were inspired by Poland’s labor-led uprising in the 1980s” VOTE, at a higher rate than many other demographic groups.
    -Romney is acting like a world leader, which makes it easier for people to envision him in the role of President and thus vote for him.

  • Perhaps Romney should also play at signing pieces of papers in front of cameras, as well. You know, so he can show us that he’s ready to be President and all. “Look, I signed one! … And another!”

  • Perhaps Romney should also play at signing pieces of papers in front of cameras, as well. You know, so he can show us that he’s ready to be President and all. “Look, I signed one! … And another!”

  • S. P.

    tODD,

    Maybe.

    OTOH he could maybe attract a certain significant Group of voters by being photographed NOT signing papers. 🙂

  • S. P.

    tODD,

    Maybe.

    OTOH he could maybe attract a certain significant Group of voters by being photographed NOT signing papers. 🙂