Commentators of various political hues have been fawning over Mr Bush’s London speech yesterday.
It’s not hard to see why: Mr Bush criticised terrorism, anti-Semitism and AIDS, and praised freedom and democracy. Not even Indymedia (well, maybe Indymedia) could sensibly object to these goals. I didn’t spot any praising reference to apple pie and the smiles on babies’ faces, but possibly they were just edited out of the web version.
All well and good. I’ll judge Mr Bush by his actions – if they mostly include carpet-bombing Iraqi civilians and sending people who haven’t been convicted of any crime abroad for torture, and barring foreign politicians from visiting the US on political grounds, I’ll assume he’s as bad as everyone else. If they mostly include large donations for AIDS relief and pressure on Israel to return to 1947 borders, then I’ll assume he actually meant what he was saying.
Meanwhile, the winner of the popular vote has given a rather less fluffy and platitudinous speech. He points out that while the president fights for democracy and liberty abroad, basic rights are being tossed aside at home. I envy Americans their guarantees of free spech and freedom from general government busybodyery. It’s sad to see these being eroded, and even sadder that only people such as Mr Gore, whose political future is relatively marginal, are willing to stand up for them (mainstream politicians of both parties are too scared of the ‘soft on terror’ criticism).
Overall, so far it looks like the people knew better than the Electors. But let’s see what happens in Iraq, Palestine and Washington before making final judgements…