how highbrow European politicians had all those yuks berating
that intellectually challenged hick George W. Bush? They aren't
laughing it up now.
Gerhard Schroeder has lost his bid for re-election. Odd, how such
a sharp, sophisticated fellow oversaw Germany's highest unemployment
rate since World War II.
Schroeder's justice minister charged that President Bush was beating
the Iraq war drum to "distract attention from his domestic
problems." Actually, it was Schroeder who tried to curry
favor with Germans by bashing Bush to distract from his domestic
problems. The ploy, alas, couldn't work forever.
Democrat Angela Merkel, the lead vote-getter in Germany's Sept.
18 election, saw her huge lead in the polls tank at the ballot
box. So she had no choice but to cut a deal with Schroeder's Social
Democratic Party that awarded them key cabinet posts. But it's
also true that Schroeder lost his chancellor hat and likely will
leave the government.
Jacques Chirac thought he had French ratification of the proposed
European Union constitution in the bag. He was so confident that
he brought the measure before French voters in May.
Chirac could not have been more wrong: Some 57 percent of the
French voted "non" -- even though former French President
Valery Giscard d'Estaing headed the committee that drafted the
So the anti-Bush
European Union has had to kiss its new constitution au revoir
and auf wiedersehen. Chirac later lost to London the bid for Paris
to host the 2012 Olympics. No surprise there: The French love
affair with the transportation strike would threaten to botch
Olympic planning. It also may have hurt that two voting members
of the International Olympic Committee were Finns -- which is
important, because they voted shortly after Chirac delivered these
bon mots about the Brits: "We can't trust people who have
such bad food. After Finland, it's the country with the worst
the French-German condominium is crumbling. Spanish Prime Minister
Jose Luis Zapatero did thrive by opposing Bush on Iraq in the
wake of the 2004 Madrid train bombings. His election was considered
a rebuke of the then-governing pro-Bush Popular Party. But now,
for the first time since the Madrid terrorist attacks, Agence
France Presse reports that Zapatero's Socialist Party is running
behind the Popular Party in the polls. A paltry 31 percent of
those polled have a "good" or "very good"
impression of Zapatero.
are looking up for Bush supporters abroad. Despite opposition
to the United Kingdom's role as a top ally in Iraq, British Prime
Minister Tony Blair was re-elected this year.
year's G8 Summit in Scotland, Schroeder and Chirac tried to push
Blair to hit Bush harder on the issue of the Kyoto warming treaty.
Sorry, chaps. Blair is moving in the other direction. Last month
in New York, the British prime minister said he was "changing
his thinking" on Kyoto.
won re-election in 2004, the London Mirror ran a headline that
asked: "How Can 59,054,087 People Be So Dumb?" The
Guardian waged a campaign that had readers send letters to
residents of Ohio's Clark County urging them to vote for John
Kerry. The county switched from Democrat to Republican.