In his kickoff speech yesterday, Mitt Romney used the word “European” often enough to make one wonder if he’d developed some sort of nervous tick. When it comes to politicians and uncontrollable references, Giuliani has “9/11,” Biden has “literally,” and apparently, Romney has “European.”

He’s sticking with the line today.

Mitt Romney ridiculed President Barack Obama for his “awfully European” economic policies at a town hall Friday morning, using the May unemployment report to beat up on the White House. […]

“When the Europeans were in trouble economically, they spent more money and they borrowed more money. That’s just what he did,” Romney said. “He has been awfully European. You know what? European policies don’t work there. They sure as heck aren’t going to work here.”

I like to think Romney is probably a fairly intelligent person, which is why it’s frustrating to watch him do a poor imitation of a dumb person.

Perhaps Romney is a little behind on current events — he does, after all, think we’re in “peacetime” — but Europe has been Austerity Central. European countries have slashed public investments to reduce their debts, and the results haven’t been pretty, with austerity failing to produce the intended results.

But therein lies the more salient domestic point: President Obama doesn’t want to follow the European model; Mitt Romney does.

Indeed, this is proving to be quite common. House Speaker John Boehner argued recently that the United States should follow Europe’s lead on nuclear energy. Former half-term Gov. Sarah Palin (R) said quantitative easing from the Fed must be a bad idea if Europe doesn’t like it. For News president Roger Ailes said President Obama should take his cues on monetary policy from Europe. And all kinds of Republicans, on and off Capitol Hill, have implored Democrats to adopt the budget policies of a European country.

Romney, I’m afraid, is terribly confused. There is a group of Americans who’ve been “awfully European” lately. They’re called Republicans.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.