Saturday, November 3, 2007

My Dog Is Smarter Than Your...

OK, some things must be said. While I realize democrats have made some famous gaffes (I'm thinking of Jack "I'm a jelly doughnut" Kennedy and Al "I invented the Internets" Gore here), I am simultaneously amused and horrified by a factual gaffe made recently by our Vice President, Mr. Cheney. You can read about it here (naturally, I read about it first on BBC's new site). Speaking to a meeting of the World Affairs Council in Dallas, TX, Mr. Cheney criticized Hugo Chavez, urging the citizens of Peru-- yes, Peru-- to expect more from their leadership. No small irony in that, I think.

This reminds me of a 2002 incident in which President Bush famously said, during a high-level discussion about Swedish peacekeeping forces in the Palestinian Territories, "I don't know why you're talking about Sweden. They're the neutral one. They don't have an army." Despite being tactfully corrected, the President continued to insist that Sweden is neutral and has no army. You can read the whole story here. (I should add that this is not a website I frequent, just the first one that came up when I googled this incident.)

And I'm not just upset about this because of my Swedish (really, its more like mixed-bag Scandinavian) heritage. I think Americans deserve leadership that can pass geography 101. I've heard many people confuse Sweden and Switzerland in my day, I just think we should elect people who are smart enough not to do that. I think I deserve leadership that will not embarrass me in front of other world leadership. Why should, for example, the Iranians take seriously a leader who doesn't know the difference between Sweden and Switzerland? (Of course, I imagine they also chuckle about the fact that our President pronounces nuclear as if it were spelled "new-kya-lar," a personal pet peeve of mine.)

You would think that someone in Mr. Cheney's position would know the name and at least the approximate location of one of the main oil-exporting countries in the Americas. How insulting to the Venezuelans and Peruvians that he doesn't know one from the other. Perhaps if we tell them he doesn't understand basic gun safety either, they might understand.

Until then, I can only say, move over Hilary, Barak and John: Wooster and Watson for Pres. and Vice Pres. Can they really do any worse than the administration we have now?

No comments: