Uh, Mr. President, it’s not just the media elite and a few Norwegians and Swedes over there in Europe who feel your Administration has eviscerated America’s moral authority.
The Real Clear Politics average approval rating for George W. Bush stands at 27%. Check out the Pew Research World Opinion Map. It doesn’t look like Mr. Bush is popular anywhere except for Tanzania and for some reason, India.
I only got to hear a bit of Bush today on the radio at work. What I heard didn’t completely sound like the usual Bush newser. There was a bit of wistfulness, but there was still a great deal of that Bush defiance. Damn those who don’t agree with him, he’s right — just ask him. You can check out the transcript here.
This was so much better than the sit-down interviews he’s done on all the networks. Someone actually asked him, directly, what he thinks about President-elect Barack Obama and others who have said there is a lot of work to be done to restore America’s moral standing in the world. In part, he answered:
I’ve heard all that. My view is, is that most people around the world, they respect America. And some of them doesn’t like me, I understand that — some of the writers and the, you know, opiners and all that. That’s fine, that’s part of the deal. But I’m more concerned about the country and our — how people view the United States. They view us as strong, compassionate people who care deeply about the universality of freedom.
The first thing I thought when I read, “they respect America” is that perhaps the healthy respect you have for a beloved member of the family who is always there for you has been replaced by the fearful respect you have for the neighborhood bully when you’re a kid. When I was surfing around looking for info on world public opinion I found this piece from The Guardian, a newspaper in London, U.K. The story is about a group of newspapers around the world that banded together to do a world opinion survey during the latter days of the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign. This part was interesting when it comes to the fear factor:
Many people now fear rather than warm to America. In France 25% of voters say relations with the US are tense, against 38% who say they are friendly and 39% who think they are neutral. In Japan only 16% say friendship and 19% tension, with 62% neutral. In no country does a majority think relations should be described as friendly.
Even America’s two neighbouring states are sceptical of US intentions. Only 23% of Mexicans describe relations as friendly and 28% say they are tense. In Canada, which has just re-elected a Conservative minority government, voters are strongly supportive of a Democratic presidency; 43% say relations with the US are friendly and 14% tense.
Today may have been Bush’s Last Stand with the media, but America, brace yourselves, the long goodbye continues on Thursday night when we hear the 43rd President’s farewell address. Let me guess, he’ll tell us that he’s right and the rest of us are wrong.