European Elections Suggest America is Not So Unpopular

John A. Quayle blueoval57 at VERIZON.NET
Wed May 16 00:03:23 MDT 2007

>Free Congress Foundation Commentary:
>Canadian, French, German, Probably British, Elections Suggest Our 
>Media Is Wrong: America and Bush Are Not So Unpopular
>By Paul M. Weyrich
>May 14, 2007
>Our national media has told us that President George W. Bush has 
>ruined the image of the United States.  Our image is said to be so 
>bad that as a campaign ploy Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) 
>has said that if elected she would appoint former President William 
>J. (Bill) Clinton, her husband, as Ambassador at Large. His duty? To 
>repair the destroyed image which the President has created.  The 
>national media, such as THE NEW YORK TIMES, knows this to be true, 
>having applauded the announcement of Senator Clinton.  After all, 
>Bill Clinton has a very positive worldwide image.    If anyone could 
>rebuild what Bush has destroyed it would be Bill Clinton.
>Item: France has elected a pro-American President.  He replaces a 
>President who continually attacked the United States and went so far 
>as to lecture President George W. Bush about Bush's misdeeds.  The 
>new President, Nicholas Sarkozy, in his election evening speech, 
>said the United States could count on France as a friend, that we 
>might sometimes disagree but France would be there when we needed her.
>One would have to go back to President Charles De Gaulle, who gave 
>President John F. Kennedy a comeuppance when Kennedy visited France 
>soon after his election in 1960. De Gaulle later said that he did so 
>because he did not consider the United States a solid ally with 
>Kennedy in office.  It is extraordinary that President Sargozy would 
>go out of his way to express friendship for the United States and to 
>do so just after having been elected  with 53% of the vote - hardly 
>a close election.   He could have saved his statement of friendship 
>for later, perhaps if Bush visited France.  No.   Boom! He spoke 
>only moments after he was declared the winner.  And, mind you, no 
>doubt this new President is reading the United States media.  So it 
>would have been prudent for him to save his friendship statement for 
>a new President, a President who, after all, supposedly had not 
>ruined the image of the United States.   He might have saved the 
>statement for Bill Clinton's visit to patch things up.  Only 20 
>months remain in the Bush Presidency.
>Item: Germany, after years of Socialist rule, has elected as 
>Chancellor a friend of America.   Yes, we disagree on some points 
>but this Chancellor clearly is friendly to us and to President 
>George W. Bush.  The previous Chancellor went out of his way to 
>clarify that Germany was independent of the United States.  This 
>Chancellor, when elected, said Germany was a friend.
>Remember that Chancellor Angela Merkel won very narrowly, and only 
>after extensive negotiations with other parties.  If being 
>anti-American were in her interest she, like her predecessor, would 
>have made it clear.   On the contrary, according to some German 
>media, she risked his Chancellorship by cozying up to Bush.  The 
>strange thing is that she is more popular now than when elected; if 
>forced into a new election she well might win by a larger margin 
>than she did.   Because she did not win by much she certainly is not 
>going to sacrifice her time in office for friendship with 
>America.   Yet she has made it clear that she is a friend of the 
>United States.   Give the lady credit.   She knows what she is doing.
>Item: For many years Canada, our friendly ally to the north, had a 
>Prime Minister who repeatedly attacked the United States.  It seemed 
>no matter what we did Canada would find fault.   Then there was an 
>election.  A friend of the United States was elected.  Indeed, some 
>Canadian media say the new Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, is a twin 
>of George W. Bush.   This Prime Minister, because HE is 
>pro-American, was not supposed to have lasted in office.  Strangely 
>enough, he has been in office far longer than expected.   In fact, 
>his popularity has risen even though, from his election forward, he 
>goes out of his way to demonstrate that he is a friend of the United 
>States.   Although he has survived much longer than expected with a 
>minority in Parliament, some Canadian media suggest that he is 
>waiting to call new elections when he can elect a parliamentary majority.
>Item: Retiring British Prime Minister Tony Blair has stood by George 
>W. Bush as an ally even though it has cost him popularity.  The 
>situation with respect to his successor is unusual.   The 
>Conservative Party actually is leading him in the polls.
>And the likely shadow Prime Minister, Gordon Brown,  is less a 
>friend of America as is the man who likely will fill out of the 
>current Blair term.   If it were in his interest to run away from 
>America he presumably would do so.  Sources in England tell us that 
>he will turn out to be a good friend of America and of 
>Bush.   Inasmuch as he will face an election in a few years he would 
>not show his American friendship if it would hurt him.   My guess is 
>that he will use his friendship with Bush and America to trump the 
>Conservatives, considering such friendship is an asset, not a 
>liability, in Great Britain.
>If President Bush really had destroyed the image of America, to the 
>point that the services of former President Clinton would be needed 
>to repair all the damage, these foreign leaders, especially those in 
>close elections, would be attacking America and snubbing Bush.   The 
>opposite is true.   What does that tell us about the national media 
>in this country?   As Fox News Network is fond of saying, "We 
>report.   You decide."
>Paul M. Weyrich is President and DEO of the Free Congress Foundation

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