Monday, June 11, 2007

We'll always have Tirana

By Michael J.W. Stickings

It is a sign of how poorly things have gone for George W. Bush -- that is, what a disaster his presidency has been and how low his popularity has fallen -- that his warm reception in Albania is being met with such delight from his supporters.

Here is the (unintentionally) hilarious headline at Gateway Pundit: "Bush Mobbed in Albania!... Pro-US Nation Celebrates Historic Visit." Wow. The post there includes photos of an obviously ecstatic Bush -- hey, at least he's popular somewhere -- and cheering, flag-waving Albanians, as well as the remarks of Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha, who seemed genuinely happy that someone important had bothered to visit his country: Bush was "greatest and most distinguished guest we have ever had in all times".

Please, could someone send Paris Hilton over for a state visit? Or maybe Madonna would like to adopt an Albanian child?

This post was picked up by Pajamas Media and Instapundit, two leaders of the rightist blogosphere.

Amazing, huh?

Sure, Albania went all out for Bush's "historic" visit: "Tirana's streets had been cleaned, US flags were draped over buildings and a commemorative set of stamps had been issued for the occasion," according to the BBC (linked above). "On a quick trip outside the capital [Tirana], Mr Bush was given a welcome worthy of a rock star by thronging Albanian fans, who shook his hands and kissed his cheeks as he walked through the crowd waving and blowing kisses." But Albania was basically the lone exception on Bush's European tour, not the rule. If he is a "rock star" in Albania, he is a warmongering delinquent pretty much everywhere else. But I'm sure Bush himself doesn't see it that way. I'm sure he thinks the Albanians are the only ones who get it.

To be fair, one or two blogs do not represent the rightist blogosphere, let alone Bush's (remaining) supporters generally. But it is amusing nonetheless that there has been such enthusiasm in response to Bush's reception in Albania.

And even more amusing that Bush found his delusional counterparts in a former tyranny on the outskirts of Europe.

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  • This whole thing has brought back memories for me. (Appropriate for a comment to a post called "We will always have Tirana," no?)

    I was in Tirana in the fall of 1991 on a democracy-assistance mission (which, apparently, was of minimal value, but I digress). One day an Albanian man came up to me and said, "Long live George Bush." He spoke just enough English for me to understand that he was telling me that was what the graffiti said on the pedestal where a statue of Enver Hoxha had stood. Then he said, "to us, Americans are like gods."

    I also recall seeing transit buses with pictures of Bush (the father, of course) and Jim Baker (who had visited shortly after the fall of communism.

    Yes, the Bushes will always remember Tirana fondly.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:36 PM  

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