Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 27, 2007

PLEASE, STAY HOME....Former President Bill Clinton caused a bit of a stir recently when he suggested Hillary Clinton, if elected, would send her husband and H.W. Bush around the world to help repair the United States' image after seven years of deteriorating global standing. (Bush 41 reportedly isn't interested.)

In light of Clinton's comments, Bush was asked at a White House press conference last week if he would consider a "goodwill mission to restore the country's good name abroad." The president said, "That's what I do during my presidency. I go around spreading goodwill and talking about the importance of spreading freedom and peace." He didn't appear to be kidding.

In either case, it wasn't an off-hand comment -- the president is apparently planning some road-trips.

President George W. Bush's diplomatic passport will acquire a slew of new country stamps during his final year in office as he tries to rebuild the U.S.'s international standing and create a foreign-policy legacy beyond Iraq.

The president plans trips to the Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America, which would make 2008 his busiest year abroad. While his major domestic initiatives may get stalled by a Democratic majority in Congress and the gridlock caused by election-year politics, he still has an opportunity to exert his influence overseas. [...]

While the president will strive to strengthen alliances, it won't come at the expense of continuing to prosecute the war on terror, said Jim Jeffrey, the deputy White House national security adviser.

"We want to be well-perceived in the world," Jeffrey said in an interview. "But more importantly, we want to formulate policies that will protect the American people."

With all due respect to Bush and his team, maybe we'll be "well-perceived in the world" if the president stays home and changes his policies, instead of traveling abroad and keeping his existing policies? Just throwing that out there.

Steve Benen 7:39 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (31)

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Comments

so that's what Colbert's crew is doing during the strike! Writing oneliners for the Chimp! Good one, guys. Oh wait, he meant this? Time for another Krauthammer diagnosis from afar

Posted by: Northzaz on December 27, 2007 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

OTOH, maybe doing a little traveling, and seeing what people outside the US -- and importantly, outside the bubble -- think of him, and us, might be a useful dose of reality.

Of course, it may be too much to hope that he will be outside the bubble, despite the greater difficulty of maintaining it in another country, but if there's even a possibility, what do we have to lose?

I don't think his merely going abroad will make things worse. They can't really be worse, absent another invasion or other Cheney-esque blunder.

Posted by: bleh on December 27, 2007 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

Hmm...very good point. Even though Fred Kaplan has made it many times in the past year, it's worth noting that Bush seems to think the reason why the world hates us is that there's just a bunch of propaganda floating around, and that it's something that can largely be cured by better PR. But that ain't true: the world just hates our policies, really. Even the terrorists could care less about our freedom and liberality. It's the Israel issue that burns them.

Posted by: Lev on December 27, 2007 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

I just wish he would visit a country where he could be arrested for the war crimes he has committed.

Posted by: Mazurka on December 27, 2007 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

The bubble's even better overseas. Tame press, suborned crowds....

Remember Nixon in Alexandria, while he was circling the drain?

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on December 27, 2007 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

Wow! WTF planet is he planning on visiting? The "bubble boy" meme seems almost to trite!
It really defies parody when they do it themselves!

Posted by: jay boilswater on December 27, 2007 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

How much of the military is he planning on bringing along?

George W. Bush is a notable coward, so don't be surprised if he travels with a carrier group with at least 50 fighter planes and 1000 Marines.

Posted by: Joey Giraud on December 27, 2007 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Can't have dur chimpfuhrer stay home - he's done that for 7 years and only succeeded in making an ass of himself.

Besides, the criminal cabal behind this administration (don't kid yourself, chimpy is just a tool) needs him out of the way to continue lootin' and stealing elections in 2008.

This is nothing but a strategy to "catapult the propaganda" by manipulating coverage, presenting the smirking chimp as being on some goodwill ambassador tour when the sh*t hits the fan here at home.

Posted by: little bear on December 27, 2007 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

It'll be good for him to get out into the fresh air. See some new sights, try some new foods, face some angry mobs.

Davis X, your link doesn't work and I was too young at the time, but I've read about Nixon's pre-resignation trip to Egypt and have seen the photos of his triumphal ride through Alexandria. We'll just hope it's more like Caracas--or rather, Nixon's fish-story version of Caracas on the 20th telling.

Posted by: shortstop on December 27, 2007 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

I think Incurious George should do some traveling. I suggest Pakistan where he could parade through the street standing up through the sun roof waving at the crowds.

Posted by: Chris Brown on December 27, 2007 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

Besides, you don't think he should really just sit on his ass and snort coke and get drunk in crawford for the next year do you?

Of course, this means his poop and pee will not become the ultimate "top secret" priority of the US government.

Posted by: little bear on December 27, 2007 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps he'd like to campaign for the late Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan. That would be a magnificent use of his time. Afterwards he might want to visit Venezuela and speak extemporaneously about freedom. Then Columbia, and then perhaps Kurdistan. So many possibilities.

God help him.

Cheers,

Alan Tomlinson

Posted by: Alan Tomlinson on December 27, 2007 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

"We want to be well-perceived in the world," Jeffrey said in an interview. "But more importantly, we want to formulate policies that will protect the American people."

Please tell me that's from the Onion. As a piece of inadvertent insanity, it's right up there with "I'm planning on being more spontaneous."

Posted by: craigie on December 27, 2007 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

It'll be good for him to get out into the fresh air. See some new sights, try some new foods, face some angry mobs.


Made me laugh. Though he could get all those things right here in LA!

Also, he knows how hard it is to put angry mobs on your family.

Posted by: craigie on December 27, 2007 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

Taking the longer view on what's transpiring in these Dysfunctional States of Amerika:

Creeping Fascism: Lessons From the Past
by Ray McGovern
.

Posted by: Poilu on December 28, 2007 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen mocks George Bush for promoting the importance of spreading freedom and peace. Unfortunately, he's only been half-successful in Iraq and Afghanistan: those countries have a good start on freedom, but they don't have peace. Bush believes that democracies are inherently more peaceful than tyranis. Time will tell whether that principle starts working in those two unfortunate countries.

Still, the idea that the US should spread liberty has been a staple of the Democratic Party's philosophy, particularly well enunciated by Woodrow Wilson and JFK. Have today's Dems abandoned the principle of spreading democracy? I hope not.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 28, 2007 at 1:43 AM | PERMALINK

Fuehrer Dumbya proposed as a good will ambassador??

If so, aren't we LONG overdue in considering Hitler for sainthood???
.

Posted by: Poilu on December 28, 2007 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: I'd respond to your ludicrous assertions above, but ... why bother?

If Bush were truly interested in "spreading freedom", one would naturally expect that such charity would begin at home. Obviously that's NOT the case, so your would-be "point" is entirely moot.

You must be one of those people also innately inclined to "believe" that Hitler was merely intent on liberating Poland.
.

Posted by: Poilu on December 28, 2007 at 2:12 AM | PERMALINK

Aye, I too can't help but think that ex-liberal would have been an exemplary German, a model Soviet citizen, a perfect Puritan, a conforming Khmer (and all these systems models of freedom and rightness). At the other end, there are those quarrelsome folk would be in some trouble whoever and whatever the government... (my kind of folk!)

Any trips abroad will be for American consumption. Everyone out here's stopped listening to the solipsist jerk and his incessant intoning of words he clearly doesn't understand (freedom, democracy... wonderful, wonderful words when used by someone who understands their full import).

Posted by: snicker-snack on December 28, 2007 at 2:42 AM | PERMALINK

Given the absurd level of security paranoia any Bush visit forces on the locals, he's not welcome in most countries.

Vienna/Austria wouldn't have much cared about his visit last year, but given the hassle and expense he caused, no goodwill came of his trip at all.

Quite to the contrary.

Posted by: otmar on December 28, 2007 at 5:08 AM | PERMALINK

Diplomacy, security pacts, and trade have done far more to spread liberty and democratic principles than Bush's ill-conceived invasion of Iraq and bungled efforts in Afganistan. The list of American accomplishments in that regard over the last 50 years is pretty staggering despite Vietnam, Guatamala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaurauga, Chile, Iran, Iraq. Unfortunately liberty and democracy are pretty malleable things in the hands of corrupt politicians intent on using military power and warlords to prop up their cronies.

Regarding Bush's world tour, it's a great way for him to really demotivate his base during an election year, by generating headlines recounting his colossal failures. Go for it Bush, your base still needs some schooling.

Posted by: dennisS on December 28, 2007 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK

Let's recap the prior 7 years:

The US, according to all those with left sided minds is not respected and we are always at war. We are not well perceived because we are warmongers and will be "well perceived" as Steve says, if Mr. bush stays home and becomes a left wing liberal.

What has happened to perceptions? Nothing is more convincing than a vote to really take the temperature of those around the world. In South Korea, Canada, France and Germany we now have elected leaders who are center-right vs far left. In Britain, Gordon Brown follows Tony Blair who got so much grief for his lapdogginess to Pres. Bush. And what is Brown? Oh that's right, he's hardly different than Blair...

The only perception problem we have with the rest of the world is the bitter, defeatist left wing socialists who refuse to defend themselves or their respective countries. Clinton's "goodwill mission to restore the country's good name abroad" is doublespeak from the Doublespeaker in Chief which is nothing more than stating the obvious...nobody votes for our types overseas anymore.

The standing of the US in the world is better than ever and we are more respected than ever because we WILL stand up to those who would kill us as opposed to those who would lay supine in the face of such threats. As yesterday's assassination only proves, these people are willing to kill anyone for any reason. Policies of the appeasement from the left will only make the problem worse.

The President needs to stay home and change his policies? Try the other way around.

Posted by: Dave on December 28, 2007 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

Have today's Dems abandoned the principle of spreading democracy?

No, honey, we still love democracy. We're trying to avoid spreading Bush. There's no vaccination yet.

Posted by: shortstop on December 28, 2007 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

Nothing is more convincing than a vote to really take the temperature of those around the world. In South Korea, Canada, France and Germany we now have elected leaders who are center-right vs far left.

If votes alone are your measure, I'm sure leaving out the spectacular oust of your boys in Australia was just an oversight, but I'd say nothing is more convincing than a poll to measure the precipitous decline in world opinion of the U.S. during the Bush regime...including opinion in the countries you hold up as new bastions of conservatism.

If, as you claim, "the only perception problem we have with the rest of the world is the bitter, defeatist left wing socialists," it would appear that pretty much the entire world, including Germany, France, Canada and South Korea, has hungrily embraced "socialism" in the past several years. Good work, George!

Posted by: shortstop on December 28, 2007 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

But don't forget Poland!

Oh . . . wait. Yeah, forget Poland.

Nigeria's still got our back, though.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on December 28, 2007 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Fear damn it Fear.Now respect me bitch.What a Bush! You righties have proved beyond a doubt that man did not evolve,you guys are dumb as a monkey with a size 7 hemroid.

Posted by: john john on December 28, 2007 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK
….The standing of the US in the world is better than ever and we are more respected than ever ….Dave at 9:44 AM
Dave Dave Dave, Bush lost his allies in Spain, Italy, Poland, Australia, Britain, to name a few. The new leaders of France, Canada, South Korea and Germany are not offering any support. Most of those countries you cite as being pro-US show a greater faith in the world leadership of Vladimir Putin than your Dear Leader. Clinton used to travel and meet throngs of admirers. Bush has to travel with an army division to protect him. Posted by: Mike on December 28, 2007 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Jen, I have a feeling that interest in impeaching the lardass with the bad ticker would grow exponentially and the articles would probably be drawn up before the ink on aWol's death certificate was dry.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on December 28, 2007 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

You're right Mike, I miss Bill Clinton's rock star performances where he struts around the stage saying "Look at me, look at me!"

No thanks.

Polls of people are nice, but once again, I would rather see what people do than what they say in some faceless poll. France, Germany, Britain, Canada and South Korea all elected leaders that would allow relevancy to their existence vs mindless boobs like Chirac, etc.

The left wing of this country will NEVER properly defend the country...say hello to another 4 years of a Republican Presidency...even Mitt Romney will likely win over the tired retreads.

Posted by: dave on December 28, 2007 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe he's getting his world traveling in now, before he becomes a private citizen again and thus subject to arrest overseas and trial for war-crimes.

Posted by: Nancy Irving on December 29, 2007 at 8:07 AM | PERMALINK

I pray to god he doesn't go somewhere and gets assassinated. That way, a) he'd give his party candidate a 10-point boost in the race to replace him as the hagiographies bleat about him having "the common touch" (as opposed to being a warmongering retard) and b) he won't be able to enjoy the next 40 years, in which history will surely judge him the least competent president of the last hundred years.

Posted by: ally on December 29, 2007 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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