The Spectator

Infantile resentment

By the time this magazine hits the streets it will be jostling for space with about a million marchers. It is important to be fair to those who have turned out to parade their hatred of the American President. Some of them may be inspired by principled objections to, say, the treatment of prisoners in Camp Delta, or US steel tariffs. These are indeed powerful points to be made against Mr Bush’s government. What has brought so many folk on to the streets, however, is a much broader case: that the President is a cross-eyed Texan warmonger, unelected, inarticulate, who epitomises the arrogance of American foreign policy, and who by his violent and ill-thought-out actions in Afghanistan and Iraq has made the world a more dangerous place.

In so far as this may be an accurate representation of the marchers’ beliefs, it deserves an answer. Let us dispense with the trivial abuse. The President was duly elected. He cannot help his buzzard-like appearance. Whatever the deficiencies of his syntax, they do not justify the loathing in which he is held. It is said, next, that he is brutal and unilateralist, and in this respect the Left attempts to differentiate him from Bill Clinton, feminist, liar and all-round feng shui king, against whom they would not dream of marching. They point out that Bush believes in the death penalty. But Bill Clinton, be it ever remembered, flew back to Arkansas on the eve of one poll to throw the switch on Ricky Ray Rector, who was so mentally ill that he asked his guards to save his pudding for when he returned from the electric chair. So much for the conscience of the unimpeachable liberal.

Bush is blamed for shelving the Kyoto Protocol.

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