11.26.2007

George Bush's Latest Repudiation

by Jeff Siegel

How much does the rest of the world hate the president, his administration and everything he stands for? Australian Prime Minister John Howard, perhaps the staunchest Bush ally left in the world, was not only thrown out of office over the weekend; it looks like he didn't win his seat in Parliament, either. This would make Howard the first Australian prime minister since 1929 to lose his own constituency.

Obviously, domestic issues had much to do with the thrashing that voters handed Howard and his Liberal Party. They tossed him for repeated interest rate increases and controversial labor law reforms. Also, Howard promised that if reelected, he would retire midterm and give the job to his deputy, who would become prime minister without an election. (That sounds especially Cheney-esque, doesn't it?)

But it's difficult to overlook the anti-Bush sentiment in the vote. Howard called himself Bush's deputy sheriff in Asia, sent combat troops to Iraq, and refused to ratify the Kyoto environmental protocol. That's a platform that would almost certainly make Howard one of the front runners for the Republican presidential nomination in the U.S. (or the Democratic nomination, for that matter).

So, not surprisingly, one of the first things new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said he would do is withdraw Australia's troops from Iraq and ratify Kyoto. Rudd also vowed to pursue a more independent foreign policy, offering more support for the United Nations and other global organizations.

Would that we had a candidate for president who believed in those policies. The GOP's right-wing is coming perilously close to turning creationist and prohibitionist Mike Huckabee (former governor of Arkansas) into a legitimate candidate, and regular readers of this space know my disgust with the faux-Republicans running for the Democratic nomination (please see: "Note to Democratic Party: Drop Dead" and "Hillary Clinton does not Deserve to be President"). If the rest of the world is fed up with our arrogance and hubris, shouldn't that tell us something?

(The photo shows Australia's Prime Minister John Howard in the Oval Office with President George Bush in February of 2003, just before a discussion about the invasion of Iraq. The photo is a White House photo by Paul Morse and is in the public domain.)






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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

America is fast becoming the nightmare version of Pottersville in "It's a wonderful life" and I don't think most people realise just how bad this is potentially becoming.

Bush naively felt that he could thumb his nose at the world and do whatever he wanted but time is proving him wrong in ways that will have grave long term economic consequences for America.

First, I don't think Bush understood just how critical foreign capital is to boosting the American economy. One example, as global resentment over American unilateralism has built slowly but surely foreign companies are going public in far greater numbers on the London exchange Many other bad macro economic trends exist and this is witnessed by the steady devaluation of the US Dollar. China and Japan are even thinking of spreading their risk a bit and putting some Euros in their savings accounts.

The American economy has mammoth advantages because of the strength of our multinationals who import a lot of cash but the billions that Bush has pushed out of our economy are hurting average americans. And in any case, the multinationals who do so well around the world are finding it harder going, even if they pay less tax than ever stateside.

The list goes on and on. While Bush's oil friends in Saudi have gotten rich and his weapon producer friends in the USA have gotten rich, our infrastructure has been ignored and our middle class goes without health insurance and poor folks are loosing their homes in record numbers.

I hope the Republicans win the next Presidential election because there is no politician in the world who can recover the damange done by Bush in 4 years.

Rick Rockwell said...

I follow 90 percent of the logic in this response, but the conclusion eludes me.

However, I am told that this is the new Republican tactic for 2008: why should we saddle the Democrats with cleaning up Bush's mess. The Republicans say: "We made the mess, so elect us so we can clean it up!"

Of course, this is more Orwellian philosophy from the party that has perfected the use of double-speak to subvert the Constitution.

The Democrats may squander this electoral opportunity on their own, but let's hope the country is smart enough to realize that when the Republicans had control of all branches of the government, they set this country back so far we'll be paying for their actions for the next generation, not just the next four years.

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