London has become the elephant’s graveyard. It’s the place where Republicans go to die.
In less than a month, three of the GOP’s main presidential hopefuls have sojourned in the British capital for what should have been rudimentary exercises in statesmanship.
All three have subsequently left having soiled their credentials.
In January, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal gave a speech to a British think tank in London in which he echoed discredited Fox News reporting that said Muslims have been allowed to establish autonomous neighbourhoods in British cities run under Sharia.
He then repeated the claim on CNN, insisting he was “speaking the truth”.
Next up was Chris Christie, whose burlesque three-day trade visit to the UK peaked when the New Jersey governor said parents should have “some measure of choice” in whether their children are vaccinated (thus undercutting the entire edifice that has proved so effective in eradicating childhood diseases).
The comments ignited a firestorm in the US, which was suffering a measles outbreak, and left Christie snapping at journalists for the remainder of his trip.
Then there was Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, who was roundly mocked on Wednesday for choosing to “punt” rather than answer a question on evolution. Speaking at a British foreign policy think tank, Walker was asked: "Are you comfortable with the idea of evolution? Do you believe in it?"
"For me, I am going to punt on that one as well," he said. "That's a question politicians shouldn't be involved in one way or another. I am going to leave that up to you. I'm here to talk about trade, not to pontificate about evolution."
This was greeted by mocking laughs from the assembled press corps, and subsequent headlines on both sides of the Atlantic.
And let’s not forget Mitt Romney, who travelled to the capital in 2012 to attend the Olympic games, an event for which he questioned the host's preparedness. Romney was savaged in the British press; the London curse had struck again...
It's 18 months before Americans go to the polls, so more prospective Republican candidates are likely to make the trip across the water. As such, the HuffPost UK has put together the following handy cheat sheet of questions and answers for any GOP candidate visiting our shores.
REPUBLICAN CHEAT SHEET:
- What are dinosaurs?
Correct answer: A diverse group of animals that first appeared during the Triassic period and lived for around 135 million years.
Incorrect answer: Big lizards created by God that lived around the time of King Arthur.
- Do childhood vaccinations work?
Correct answer: Yes.
Incorrect answer: Vaccines are dangerous. The government and the media have conspired to cover this up.
- How old is Earth?
Correct answer: 4.54 billion-years-old.
Incorrect answer: By adding up the genealogies of the Bible, we know the world was made 6,000 years ago.
- What happens if you keep sailing west?
Correct answer: You’ll eventually hit land. If you sail around it and repeat the process you’ll end up back where you started.
Incorrect answer: You’ll fall off the edge of the world or be eaten by sea beasts.
- Is the average temperature of Earth’s climate system rising?
Correct answer: Yes.
Incorrect answer: If the climate is warming, where is all this snow coming from?
- What’s the best way to stimulate an economy?
Correct answer: Increase government spending and cut taxes on the middle class.
Incorrect answer: Huge tax breaks for the wealthy.
- What would be your advise to the parents of a sick child?
Correct answer: Take the child to see a trained medical professional.
Incorrect answer: Fall to your knees, singing 'When I Survey The Wondrous Cross'.
- What should you do if a tooth falls out?
Correct answer: Put it in the bin and make a dental appointment.
Incorrect answer: Put it in my pocket until nighttime, and then leave it under my pillow for the fairy.