Bush is about to tour Latin America, and according to Dan Froomkin, has been trying to out-Chavez Chavez with faux-populist rhetoric of the kind he wouldn’t ordinarily be caught dead using here.
Just before heading off for a six-day visit to Latin America, President Bush yesterday attempted to co-opt the populist rhetoric of his hemispheric arch-nemesis, President Hugo Chavez, of Venezuela.
Speaking to the “tens of millions in our hemisphere” who “remain stuck in poverty, and shut off from the promises of the new century,” Bush said: “My message to those trabajadores y campesinos is, you have a friend in the United States of America. We care about your plight.”
But if you think Bush has a credibility problem in his own country, it’s even worse south of the border — especially when it comes to issues of social justice.
Let there be no doubt about this: Bush’s attempt to persuade Latin Americans that he is the champion of the poor — given his pro-business bent and six years of an almost exclusive focus on free trade and terrorism — is utterly doomed. Almost laughably so.
Bush leaves for Brazil on Thursday, then travels to Uruguay, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico. Here’s the text of his speech to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce yesterday. Startlingly, it contains the phrase “social justice” fully five times.
“Social justice” and Junior Bush? You might say that’s the textbook definition of “cognitive dissidence”.
But believe it or not, it gets worse.