This was the former leader of the anti-American Australian Labor Party, Mark Latham's, view of politicians of John Howard's administration visiting George Bush in Washington six years ago. It looks like the Suckhole is on the other foot. The pictures of Prime Minister Julia Gillard and President Obama from the APEC conference were just as cloying as those we saw of the Howard-Bush "love-ins", but strangely haven't attracted the same political criticism. Had Messrs Howard and Bush come up with anything as tacky as the grass shirts and coconut-bra banter the two concocted for the cameras, they would have been mercilessly lampooned.
"Julia Gillard is fawning over this US president like I've seen no other Prime Minister do over past presidents...but that's forgiven in a Labor leader", says Andrew Bolt, journalist for the Herald Sun newspaper. Greens leader, Bob Brown heckled the previous president to address Parliament; this time he's silent, even though Obama is about to station US forces in the Northern Territory. Amazing!
Obama, who came to office brainwashed by his father to resent America's exceptionalism, bowing to the Saudi king and Japanese emperor, apologising for the US to the Middle East and playing nice guy to China, has been smartened up sharply by reality. On this visit he has defied China by moving troops here, declaring the Pacific region his special focus and boosting a new trade Trans-Pacific Partnership that excludes China. Labor's flirtation with anti-Americanism is now over. It really was just a fit of ideological madness.
Obama and Gillard have engineered a historic recasting of the alliance to manage security and disaster contingencies in Southeast Asia amid the rise of China. We're probably now even closer to the US than ever, with the ever fatuous Greens mute and Labor charmed, so much so that it was embarrassing to to see our Julia, trembling like a school girl, speaking to reporters about Obama being Australia's best friend. What she didn't mention is he is more popular here than at home and we are still inspired by a black man being president. Of course our socialist lame-stream media is delighted that he's of the Left as well but never questioned the mystery of the obvious attraction of white women to black men.
The Way I See It....opposition leader Tony Abbott was the consistently better public speaker, with a more intellectual and thoughtful message than Gillard's servile demeanor. He couldn't resist a few political jabs in his speech of welcome to Obama in Parliament, noting, for instance how Labor took a long detour before backing uranium sales to India. His speech revealed depths of his leadership character that are at odds with the cynical media's stereotype.
What all the speeches made clear is that what binds us to the United States is what will NEVER in our lifetime bind us to China -- our shared values, including those of a free vote, free speech and a free press. However, the fact remains that the greatest danger of military conflict remains in the Middle East and northern Africa. And one of the greatest financial dangers lie in Europe. Let us hope that the Pacific focus is not an excuse to ignore potentially greater and more intractable challenges.