On the eve of his arrival the normal Irish hostility to Bush had settled at the level of a disgruntled murmur rather than an angry roar. But Bush himself turned out to be the best cheerleader--or, rather, roarleader--that anti-war activists could have hoped for: while numbers at demonstrations were only middling (10,000-plus in Dublin was the most we mustered, a small fraction of what Ronald Reagan attracted in the now-forgotten protests of 1984), the radio phone-ins and Sunday newspapers suggest a new level of bitterness toward Dubya. Boston may be the next parish west, but John Kerry must wish Ireland had its own electoral votes, because he'd sweep them in a landslide.
He also comments, rather amusingly, on the infamous interview with Carole Coleman:
Coleman is perhaps the least likely journalist to find herself in the midst of this sort of flap. ("Savaged by a sheep" is the phrase that springs to mind.) Reporting from Washington for RTE for a few years now, she's never appeared particularly interested in the place or in her work. She's the sort of foreign correspondent who is content to find her line in the local mainstream media, regurgitating wisdom about the world as seen by CNN and the Washington Post. To be sure, as the US media has found a small amount of election-year aggression, her work has reflected that, albeit faintly and soporifically. But the White House would have felt safe to assume that her 12 allotted minutes with the president--something of a tradition for the national broadcaster in the event of such a visit--would consist of softball questions about our nations' historic links, the peace process blah blah blah, stuff even Bush could handle in his sleep.
Instead, Coleman looked like she'd downed six cups of coffee to steady her nerves and launched an aggressive-if-slightly-vapid line of questions about the deadly consequences of the Iraq invasion, interrupting Bush when he waffled or wandered. Bush wagged a finger at her and interrupted her back. By the time they got to her pointed question about whether he felt he was guided by God, he finished his evasive stammerings about his "personal relationship with the Good Lord" by declaring "that doesn't make me a better person than you"--and you could tell he didn't mean it: he hated her.
Good old W, representing us abroad.
(Link found on Brian Leiter's blog.