It's become one of the most unassailable truisms of the 2012 campaign season: Mitt Romney is likely to be the least-favorite favorite -- the most forlorn frontunner -- to win the Republican nomination for president (or, as the National Review's Rich Lowry put it this week, the candidate of "Eh, I guess"). The foreign press has picked up on the theme as well. "Romney: The Candidate That No One Loves," Austria's Die Presse proclaimed in a stinging post-Super Tuesday headline. Congratulations on the wins, Mitt!
Yes, as we've chronicled before, news outlets in countries as diverse as China, France, Germany, Iran, Mexico, and Russia have lashed out at Romney for his hawkish stances on Russian aggression, European socialism, Iranian nuclear ambitions, Chinese economic policy, and illegal immigration. And there's certainly more venom out there to survey. In recent months, Mexican columnist María Antonieta Collins has declared that Romney's "arrogance" about the poor makes her "sick," South Korean political science professor Moon Chung-in has warned that a President Romney could escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula, and Russian commentator Dmitry Babich has argued that Romney's perception of the recent Russian presidential election "is no more realistic than Santorum's vision of Dutch pensioners in the hands of euthanasia's enthusiasts" -- to name just a few examples.
But is any of the overseas coverage positive? It turns out there are columnists -- some in unlikely places -- who have expressed varying degrees of support for Romney. Here's a look at six of the most interesting cases.
News outlet: The News International (Pakistan)
Where she stands: Haroon, a former editor of the News who is now based in New York, seems to admire the old northeastern moderate, not the conservative firebrand of the Republican primary season. In a column last month, she expressed support for something Romney has been distancing himself from on the campaign trail: the health-care reform legislation he signed into law as governor of Massachusetts. Romney shouldn't be apologizing for trying to cover the uninsured, she argued, but he is, in an effort to placate the Republican base. In an op-ed for the News a week earlier, Haroon scolded Romney for saying he was "not concerned about the very poor." His "electoral focus is the middle class," she conceded, "but how can a presidential candidate dismiss an entire block of vulnerable citizens as being not important enough for his concern?"
Money quote: "Republicans build their campaign in the U.S. on the framework that government should not be in politics. We hear the same argument in Pakistan -- especially by technocrats in Islamabad. But the fact remains, as Mr. Romney realized during his governorship, that social-welfare programs are essential for a government to remain relevant for the vulnerable and the poor. If a government cannot improve the lives of its masses, then what good is it?"