When George Bush jr. took over the reins of the White House nearly eight years ago, he inherited the Bill Clinton legacy–a balanced budget, decades of deficits erased, interest rates and inflation subdued after years of uncontrolled gallop, technology lead reclaimed, rising productivity in industry, a booming economy, renewed confidence in itself and better cooperation and understanding abroad compared to previous administrations.
Yes, Bush was a victim of the 9/11 tragedy, too, which happened very early in his first term. But that solitary tragedy seemed to trigger an irrational streak of administration on his part that constrasted to his successful terms as Texas governor. It seemed his whole administrative regime was dominated by his urge to “get back” against his 9/11 tormentors and its perceived allies. Non-Americans will always associate him as the charging (Lone?) Ranger against Al Qaeda, Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea.
While engaged in this “irrational” quest, the rest of the world got on with its business (I wonder if they even remembered the Coalition of the Willing). China and India emerged, Russia bottomed out on its path to ruin, the European Union was coming to age and Japan, uh well, continued in its steady if unspectacular path.
And how is the great USA faring at the tailend of the Bush administration? A tottering economy fuelled by its stock market and credit woes, a bulging deficit, entrenchment in the Iran and Afghanistan quagmires, a discredited leadership in international affairs and an unpopular president shunned even by the national convention of his party and kept at arms length by its standard bearer.
And yet, that standard bearer of Bush’s party is running neck-to-neck with the standard bearer of the opposing party! Incredible! In the Philippines if such were the case McCain will certainly end up pummelled in the elections and a sorry loser after that (like McGovern). Does it mean that the Philippine electorate is more discerning than the US electorate? And I thought many said that the Filipino people has a very short memory. Does it mean that the US electorate has amnesia?
And again, I wonder why such a contest merits a lot of attention in the international media. Oh, I forgot, circuses really do attract a lot of attention.