May 28, 2003


The Guardian’s computers must have switched to overload when this story hit the screens:

Bob Geldof astonished the aid community yesterday by using a return visit to Ethiopia to praise the Bush administration as one of Africa's best friends in its fight against hunger and Aids.

The musician-turned activist said Washington was providing major assistance, in contrast to the European Union's "pathetic and appalling" response to the continent's humanitarian crises.

"You'll think I'm off my trolley when I say this, but the Bush administration is the most radical - in a positive sense - in its approach to Africa since Kennedy," Geldof told the Guardian.

The neo-conservatives and religious rightwingers who surrounded President George Bush were proving unexpectedly receptive to appeals for help, he said. "You can get the weirdest politicians on your side."

Former president Bill Clinton had not helped Africa much, despite his high-profile visits and apparent empathy with the downtrodden, the organiser of Live Aid, claimed. "Clinton was a good guy, but he did fuck all."

He sure did. All of these, for starters. Another unlikely source also supports Bush:

Lord Alli, the aid activist who is accompanying Geldof on the trip organised by the UN children's aid agency Unicef, echoed his praise of the Bush administration.

"Clinton talked the talk and did diddly squat, whereas Bush doesn't talk, but does deliver," Lord Alli said.

UPDATE. As Alan McCallum points out in comments, the ABC somehow missed the Bush angle.

Posted by Tim Blair at May 28, 2003 08:18 PM

Well, Tim, there IS an election looming in the good 'ole U S of A. I think it's called pork-barrelling....

Posted by: Niall at May 28, 2003 at 09:13 PM

Another brilliant insight Niall. Are you familiar with the concept of pork barrell? Last time I checked AIDS infected Sudanese don't vote for the president of the United States.

Posted by: Gareth at May 28, 2003 at 09:40 PM

Pork barrelling is cramming money into your constituency (through unrelated appropiation bills), not another country.

Posted by: Heather at May 28, 2003 at 09:41 PM

Ah, but that proves what a total incompetent Bush is. First he conquers a country to get all the Oil, then he stupidly doesn't take the stuff, but leaves it in the hands of the inhabitants. His attempts at genocide on muslims were laughable, he should have killed millions, not hundreds. Then he replaces a tyrannical former client with a Democracy - one that might actually get run by people not in total agreement with the USA's every whim. Now he's giving money away, not to "Developing World Rulers" to sway their votes in the UN (and help them buy another few armour-plated Mercedes), but to totally undistinguished starving masses, who don't even vote. Finally, he fails to capitalise on this with an advertising campaign to sway the bleeding-heart Vote.

You'd never find a Democrat, either US or Australian, behaving like this. The guy's obviously a moron.

(For rabid Greens and others who are hard of thinking, insert <sarcasm> tags)

Posted by: Alan E Brain at May 28, 2003 at 10:25 PM

I guess if you consider dropping bombs on pharmaceutical plants in Al Shifa benign foreign policy - three days after when the polls suggested no one believed his Lewensky apology - yeah, I guess Clinton did nothing in Africa. Go Bush!

Posted by: Chris Francis at May 28, 2003 at 10:49 PM

Europeans live in a different universe. Notice how you can't say anything positive about Bush without hedging: I know he is completely evil, but guess what, he's doing the right thing. Not that I would ever allow such evidence to change my default opinions....

Posted by: Tim Shell at May 29, 2003 at 01:55 AM

Niall that looming election is two years away. That's nearly as far away from an election as you can get in the US. And I doubt the Bush folks started this yesterday or Sir Bob would not have had such praise.

Posted by: ruprecht at May 29, 2003 at 02:01 AM

> "Clinton talked the talk and did diddly squat, whereas Bush doesn't talk, but does deliver," Lord Alli said.

Winston Churchill once complained that British diplomats seemed to believe that half a loaf was better than a whole loaf. We seem to live in a time when lip service is considered better than actually doing something.

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at May 29, 2003 at 02:42 AM

Now he's giving money away, not to "Developing World Rulers" to sway their votes in the UN (and help them buy another few armour-plated Mercedes), but to totally undistinguished starving masses.

Yeah, sure he is. Think for a minute about how the the money for such aid goes via USAID to the US agricultural industry to support overproducing, already highly subsidised farmers.

Pork-barrel? grain-sack? same thing.

Posted by: dc.zilla at May 29, 2003 at 08:00 AM

Poor old Lefties. They can't beat Bush with ideas, because he's far too clever for them. Every time they tell us something he's done is stupid he succeeds and they are left looking even sillier. How many quagmires have they predicted and how many have there been?

It's always the same, when a strong right wing leader emerges the left goes into fits of spleen and throws all the insults it can at his or her direction. Most of it is complete balderdash and serves to strengthen the leader concerned.

Thatcher and Reagan were villified up hill and down dale by the left (I would have said "stupid left", but that would have been a tautology), and yet they achieved great things. Both set their countries free from much of the dead hand of collectivism and statism to which those on the left are in such thrall and which had almost ruined the spirit of the West.

Posted by: Peter at May 29, 2003 at 09:24 AM

Good one Tim.
Did you notice that on ABC[Oz] news last night they did not mention the bit about Bush?
I have links on my page.

Posted by: Alan McCallum at May 29, 2003 at 10:05 AM

Hear , hear and, a good chuckle, A.E.Brain. Spot on Peter.
It is worth noting ,`the poor', the `disadvantaged', the `discriminated and so forth on the long litany of socialists' `causes' and `issues' , are mere vague generalisations cited as justification for taking the West once more down the road to serfdom.Senator Macklin gave the game away, why should the genuinely destitute receive any help which would genuinely enable them to get out of the gutters, as opposed to the `social welfare', `freeschools,universities' and that other massive fraud, `medicare' which ensure some do remain trapped in the gutters and, furthermore, drags many others down to.The greens are a great advertisement for such savagery.
It should be the Green's motto: we care to let many suffer and die in destitution than see people liberated by open commerce, technology and the elimination of regimes run by thugs.

Posted by: d at May 29, 2003 at 10:06 AM


Could you elaborate on what Macklin said? Or provide a link?

Posted by: Patrick at May 29, 2003 at 05:28 PM

SMH does not mention the Bush comments:

Posted by: Tiu Fu Fong at May 29, 2003 at 06:31 PM

I don't think the SMH mentioned the Bush angle either.

Posted by: Andjam at May 29, 2003 at 09:39 PM

Oops. Tiu beat me to it by 3 hours.

Posted by: Andjam at May 29, 2003 at 09:41 PM

This is starting to really worry this right-wing death beast. Where is the hot and cold running arsenic and oil-marinaded polar bears? Andrew Sullivan's written several pieces pointing out that Bush seems to be a stealth environmentalist as well as a sneaky humanitarian.

We at the Vast Right-Wing Zionist Oil Conspiracy will be recalling Agent 43 for immediate reprogramming. Failing that we will pull the toxic handshake of death thing we saw on 24.

Posted by: Craig Ranapia at May 29, 2003 at 10:43 PM

Niall wins the Goofiest Comment of the Week!

Posted by: tim at May 29, 2003 at 11:29 PM

Patrick ; Macklin's remarks on the new arrangements viz, universities and financing of students. In particular, the shift to ensure those who do need external muscle get.Macklin said, the poor should receive no such dedicated arangments over against middle class university entrants.Quite revealing and that also summarises much one also has witnessed of those who parade their `social conscience, -compassion ' and so forth. Nothing admirable about such types. For such types, `the poor' and the long litany of causes they constantly chant,is nothing but a means to build feudal empires at taxpayers expense: careerahists who, at bottom, produce nothing and grab all.

Posted by: d at May 30, 2003 at 12:42 PM