America's image throughout the world: That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo."
While questioning Condoleezza Rice (search) today, Senator Joseph Biden (search) said America's image all over the place is in bad shape, and it's true. The Associated Press poll asked people in the following countries whether or not they have a favorable opinion of Americans.
Canada: 80 percent favorable, 18 percent not; Australia: 69 percent like us, 26 percent do not; France: 41 percent like us, 52 percent don't; Germany: about the same, 41 percent thumbs up, 53 percent down; and in pain: Just 35 percent of Spaniards like Americans, 49 percent do not.
In the Third World, things are even worse. In Pakistan, for example, 65 percent of the people there like Usama bin Laden (search), think he's a great guy.
Now some Americans think these perceptions are the fault of the Bush administration. They say it's too arrogant. We'll let you decide on that.
But two factors are undeniable. First, overseas media coverage is blatantly anti-American, and, second, here within the USA, displays like the one you're about to see about the Iraq War make deep impressions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE NOMINEE: It was the total picture, Senator, not just weapons of mass destruction, that caused us to decide that post-September 11 it was finally time to deal with Saddam Hussein.
SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, you should read what we voted on when we voted to support the war, which I did not, but most of my colleagues did. It was WMD. Period.
You quote President Bush when it suits you, but you contradicted him when he said, yes, Saddam could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year. You go on television nine months later and said nobody ever said it was going to be...
RICE: Senator, that was just a question of pointing out to people that there was an uncertainty, that no one was saying that he would have to have a weapon within a year for it to be worth it to go to war.
BOXER: Well, if you can't admit to this mistake, I hope that you'll...
RICE: Senator, we can have this discussion in any way that you would like, but I really hope that you will refrain from impugning my integrity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Now partisan politics in America is rabidly reported overseas. They'll show that clip all day long. Michael Moore (search) is a hero over there in many places, and, sadly, there is no pro-USA equivalent to Moore.
Most governments overseas control the press, so people get propaganda instead of objective reporting. Even in places like France and Germany, the media is so far left, it's almost impossible for people to get a alanced view.
When hateful outlets like Al Jazerra (search) dominate information flow in the Arab world, how can anyone expect America to have high favorable ratings? It's flat-out impossible.
And then there's socialism. As European governments drift further into the entitlement culture, the aggressive capitalism of America is rejected by many.
So there is little the Bush administration or anybody else can do to reverse the anti-American trend. Finding common ground with individual countries, mutual assistance is really the only strategy.
Europe is largely sitting out the War on Terror, Russia and China are actually profiting from it, and many in the Third World are rooting for the terrorists. It is, indeed, a cold world out there, and it has nothing to do with January.
And that's "The Memo."
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
We are trying to convince our pal, Michael Moore, to come in here next week, as the Academy Awards will be announced, but, in the meantime, Moore may have a better shot at an Oscar than he does at being elected to his high school hall of fame. Davidson High (search) in Michigan has rejected Moore four times for the honor.
Now, whether you like Moore or not, he is famous, and just how many other people of his notability does Davidson High have anyway? It may be ridiculous. Moore should be in the school's fame hall. He's famous.