Dennis Boyles reports that Bush's "charm offensive" had everything except the charm.
In fact, he seemed bent on playing the rube. He not only opened his visit by blasting Israel — not helpful on a continent rife, as the International Herald Tribune observed, with anti-Semitism, neo-fascists, and angry young Muslims — but in a mystifying appearance before the EU, reported by the Guardian, he seemed to endorse the odious EU constitution and called for a stronger "Europe." For an ostensibly conservative chap who is stumping around on a freedom-first message, that was confusing, since a stronger EU means limiting democracy in places where ruling elites are working to secure their positions by watering and feeding vast bureaucracies and expensive social programs that have already bribed many to avoid the messiness of liberty and opportunity. Maybe he saw the EU as just a bigger version of his own Department of Education.Update:
Bush's apparent support for the EU constitution (and it's doing violence to the word "constitution" to call it one) is even more mysterious after you read what Andrew Stuttaford has to say about it.
How can I put this nicely? Well, there is no way to put it nicely. Even allowing for the necessity to come out with diplomatically ingratiating remarks ahead of a major presidential visit to the EU, the comments from Bush and Rice are either delightfully insincere or dismayingly naïve.Another Update:
Stuttaford's Corner post has more, plus a great quote from Mark Steyn:
The new EU ''constitution,'' for example, would be unrecognizable as such to any American. I had the opportunity to talk with former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing on a couple of occasions during his long labors as the self-declared and strictly single Founding Father. He called himself ''Europe's Jefferson,'' and I didn't like to quibble that, constitution-wise, Jefferson was Europe's Jefferson -- that's to say, at the time the U.S. Constitution was drawn up, Thomas Jefferson was living in France. Thus, for Giscard to be Europe's Jefferson, he'd have to be in Des Moines, where he'd be doing far less damage.