When George w. Bush speaks, he speaks for America. That once meant something. People listened, average Joes and world leaders alike heard the message of the president of the most powerful country on earth and usually got that message. Shrub has changed that. Oh sure people still listen but they're increasingly dismissing the message. The world, it seems, has learned that taking this guy at face value can be a huge - and costly - mistake.
The Bush government spent the last two days trying to persuade the leaders of the major nations of the world to buy Washington's vision for tackling climate change. They listened, politely, but left angry at having wasted their time on more empty Bush rhetoric.
Even China and India who, together with the US, are poised to be the planet's top greenhouse gas emitters have rejected Bush's "voluntary" proposal. They accept the core principal of binding limits or greenhouse gas caps even though they're not yet willing to accept the European limits proposals.
Since Bush wasted two days pulling their legs, the attendees left angry and weren't pulling any punches about how they felt. From The Guardian:
A senior European diplomat attending the conference, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the meeting confirmed European suspicions that it had been intended by Mr Bush as a spoiler for a major UN conference on climate change in Bali in December.
"It was a total charade and has been exposed as a charade," the diplomat said. "I have never heard a more humiliating speech by a major leader. He [Mr Bush] was trying to present himself as a leader while showing no sign of leadership. It was a total failure."
John Ashton, Britain's special envoy on climate change, who attended the conference, said: "It is striking here how isolated the US has become on this issue. There is no support among the industrialised countries for the proposition that we should proceed on the basis of voluntary commitments.
That's not to say that Bush feels entirely isolated on his hapless vision. It is, after all, embraced warmly by mini-Bush, our own furious leader, Harpo. Stevie knows when it comes to this country and climate change, it's a choice between Canada and his precious tar sands and on that score he's Bitumen Boy.