PM, POTUS and the Governator

Is not often one feels sorry for George W Bush, but after the week he's had, it's hard not to. After having breaky with The Man of Steel (and Weetbix and Vegemite, presumably) on Thursday morning, POTUS headed off to the Vatican to meet with another man who was past his peak and of rapidly declining relevance.

But back to Mr Howard goes to Washington. It seems an odd move for Howard to continue to tie himself to a sinking ship. Whilst Bush's fortunes may well change between now and November, at present he is looking like joining his father as a single-term president. Howard would be better off avoiding warm and fuzzy press conferences with the Prez, and instead stay local and focus on domestic issues. As for Bush's attempts to demonise Latham, they are most likely to backfire and give the impression that the PM is seeking out the protection of his older brother in the playground, trying to stop Mark the bully from turning all the kids against him. Saturday's Age editorial captures the mood well.

And for Howard's short and sweet meeting with Governor Schwarzeneggar, there were two very different takes from either side of the Pacific. Writing in The Age, Michael Gordon took a somewhat cynical position:
While he clearly impressed Mr Howard with his knowledge of the BHP Billiton proposal, the Governor was less well briefed on some basics of the Australian political system, asking how many political parties there were in Australia.

The Prime Minister issued the customary invitation to visit Australia and the Governor expressed a desire to accept "in the near future".

...whilst in the LA Times Deborah Schoch played a much straighter bat, but suggested that the LNG project will not be all smooth sailing for BHP-Billiton:

Plans for the terminal, proposed by Australian-based BHP Billiton Ltd., have generated strong opposition among some coastal residents, and the Malibu City Council last week went on record opposing the project.


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