The Washington Post on the Canadian election

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Here is a very tart Washington Post editorial on the Canadian election. As the Post points out, outgoing Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin was the second Group of Eight head of government to play the anti-American card and lose an election anyway; the other was German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. In its parting shot, the Post notes that Schroeder has taken a job with Russia's Gazprom and suggests that Martin might want to go to work for Venezuela's authoritarian demagogue, Hugo Chavez. Ouch.

As the Post notes, the anti-American card has not always been a loser: Schroeder won an election playing it in 2002, and Martin did so in 2004. Moreover, it's a stretch to say that the results in Germany and Canada reflect a decrease in anti-American and anti-George W. Bush feeling in those countries. Schroeder's party had signally failed to revive German's sluggish economy; Martin's party was riddled with monumental corruption. The parties of the new heads of government, Angela Merkel and Stephen Harper, have only minorities in the Bundestag and House of Commons, and Merkel and Harper head coalition governments with uncertain life spans.

Still, the German and Canadian results confound the worldview of many of the Post's editorial page's readers, the view that under Bush the United States is hated by clear-thinking and high-minded foreigners everywhere. And the Post is good enough to recognize Schroeder's and Martin's desperate demagogy for what it is, or was. The notion that all opposition to Bush is worthy of admiration is held by many liberals and Democrats, suffused with Bush hatred as they are. The Post, keeping a cool eye on events, knows better.