What do we tell the world?Next Tuesday morning, before I will have had a chance to vote, I will be discussing US politics on the Spanish-language service of Radio France Internationale. I think (from her accent) that interviewer, Alexandra Pineida, must be Colombian, and the audience will include people throughout Latin America as well as in Spain. She and most of her listeners are astounded that Americans (that is, U.S. Americans) could re-elect (or actually elect for the first time) George W. Bush. She'll be calling me at 7 a.m. New York time, 1 p.m. in Paris, so we will not yet have any news on how our compatriots have in fact voted, but I hope to come up with something more than your usual indecisive pundit commentary. What can I say to foreigners, to help them make sense of a political campaign that seems to them just bizarre?
What would you like foreigners to understand about our process? Scotty Embree has helped already, by sending me an article about all the newspapers that have turned away from Bush, after backing him in 2000. That list sort of redeems at least one sector of the media from the accusation of idiocy. What else can we say, about a president who jokes and a vice president who snarls and denies obvious facts (Halliburton, the abandonment of the weapons dump, the non-connection between Saddam and international terror)? I'll be happy to see your suggestions: write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.