Why the World Still Hates Bush - October 24, 2003 - TimesWatch.org

Times Watch for October 24, 2003

Why the World Still Hates Bush

David Sanger's Friday dispatch from Canberra, Australia, "On High-Speed Trip, Bush Glimpes a Perception Gap," again features Bush as out-of-touch bubble-boy: "In his six-day dash from Tokyo to the Philippines to Singapore, Indonesia and Australia, rarely did the searing suspicions of America's intentions-and the intentions of Mr. Bush himself-pierce the president's fearsome security bubble. But when they did, they revealed a huge gulf between how the president views himself, and how Asians view George W. Bush's America."

Sanger's examples: "By and large the encounters were painfully polite, even when Mr. Bush decided to take on directly Malaysia's cantankerous prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, who declared that Jews run the world, and run it from the United States. More boisterous in their anti-Bush enthusiasm were the members of the Australian Parliament who heckled him during a speech, shouting that the United States had no right to become the world's sheriff. White House officials wrote off the first to the anti-Semitic mutterings of a soon-to-be-retired autocrat, and the second to the local traditions of parliamentary decorum here, which bear a close resemblance to Australian rugby rules. But beneath both incidents lay uncomfortable realities for Mr. Bush: Mr. Mahathir's speech drew a standing ovation from world leaders at a major Islamic conference last week-including American allies -and polls show that Mr. Bush's approach to the world is deeply unpopular among Australians."

But is it really to Bush's discredit that he's unpopular among people who cheer anti-Semitic remarks? Are these the sort of "world leaders" Bush should be trying to win over in the first place?

Then Sanger provides another helpful reminder of how deeply unpopular Bush is worldwide: "Yet for his part, Mr. Bush seemed determined to show that Iraq was a special case and to dispel the impression held in many parts of the world that he is impatient, trigger-happy and uninterested in building alliances. He sounds like a man who believes himself genuinely misunderstood.But even some of Mr. Bush's aides concede that Mr. Bush has only begun to discover the gap between the picture of a benign superpower that he sees, and the far more calculating, self-interested, anti-Muslim America the world perceives as he speeds by behind dark windows."

Never mind the snarky word picture of a benighted Bush speeding by "behind dark windows" (more of the Bush-in-the-bubble idea)-is this the same "world" Sanger cites as cheering on the anti-Semitic comments of Prime Minister Mathahir? But the idea that the United States is right and those countries are wrong is never broached by Sanger; instead, their disapproval, no matter how misguided, automatically translates to Bush's disadvantage.

For more of Sanger's critique from Canberra, click here.

George W. Bush | International Affairs | Iraq War | David Sanger

Have Fear, The "Religious Right" Is Here!

The Terri Schiavo story makes the Times front page Friday via Abby Goodnough's "Victory in Florida Feeding Case Emboldens the Religious Right." She focuses on how religious conservatives (her article refers nine times to "conservatives") will use the Schiavo issue in future: "Randall Terry, founder of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, said he and other conservatives intended to use what they consider a stunning victory here to pressure lawmakers elsewhere to chip away at court rulings allowing abortion and banning organized prayer in schools and the posting of the Ten Commandments in public schools, among other issues."

If nine "conservatives" aren't enough, Goodnough throws in a "far-right" for good measure: "Meanwhile, State Representative Johnnie B. Byrd Jr., a Republican who is speaker of the House, is running for the United States Senate on a far-right platform, and he was eager to claim much of the credit for 'Terri's Law.' Two weeks ago Mr. Byrd announced that he was leaving the Episcopal Church and becoming a Baptist because of the recent Episcopal vote to allow the consecration of a gay bishop. He also pushed unsuccessfully this fall for a special session to vote on a measure to require parental notification for minors seeking abortions."

For the rest of Goodnough's story on Schiavo, click here.

Abortion | Abby Goodnough | Labeling Bias | Religion | Right-to-Die | Terri Schiavo

Oh, Those Ire-full Republicans

"Rumsfeld Draws Republicans' Ire" - October 24 headline

"A Target of Conservatives Ire, Y.W.C.A. Chief Is Dismissed" - October 21 headline

"Malaysian Leaders Talk Attacking Jews Draws Ire From Bush" - October 21 headline

Gaffes | Headlines | Labeling Bias