George Bush Makes the Usual Trips in Europe


So much for predictions that President Bush's trip to Europe (code-named "Europe on $2.5 Million a Day") would be marred by gaffes, protests and other disasters. In reality, the voyage has gone magnificently. Ha ha, just kidding, of course. It's been one blunder after another:

Day 1

* Arriving in Madrid, Bush wins over a skeptical Spanish crowd by mispronouncing Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's last name as "Anzar" and later, "Babar." His hosts respond by graciously sending Bush on a private walking tour of Pamplona wearing a "special, honorary red cape."

* Elsewhere in Spain, angry mobs fill the streets, denouncing Bush's pro-death-penalty stance and his support for trade sanctions against Iraq. Some shout: "We miss Clinton, who approved the execution of a mentally incapacitated man in Arkansas and also endorsed Iraq sanctions. Er, wait, that didn't come out right. But we still think Bush is a jerk."

Day 2

* In Belgium, Bush commends the nation for its "valuable contributions to waffle science."

* Moving to placate his NATO critics, Bush relies on his trademark method of bestowing humorous nicknames. He endears himself to the Europeans by calling Germany's chancellor "Hitler Jr." and French President Jacques Chirac "Jacques Cousteau." Later, during a side trip to Paris, he further ingratiates himself to the French by telling Chirac: "Hey, your Eiffel Tower looks just like the one in Vegas!"

* After the NATO session, Bush fulfills a college fantasy by visiting Munich's famed Hofbrau Haus, where he sits in with the oompah band, teaches a local teen the game of quarters and delivers a teary farewell that concludes: "Ich bin ein stein of Budweiser!" He also picks up a souvenir T-shirt for daughter Jenna that says, "My dad went to Germany's best beer hall and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."

Day 3

* In Stockholm, Bush praises Sweden for its "myriad contributions to world peace, including Abba, meatballs and stylish but cheaply made Ikea furniture." He adds: "You Swedes also make excellent Swiss watches."

* Traveling through Austria, Bush tells local dignitaries: "I'm a huge fan of your Crocodile Dundee movies."

* Later, hoping to soften his image as a Texas yahoo, Bush demonstrates his love of nature by hiking the Austrian Alps. Luckily, he remembers his shotgun and bags a mountain goat, a wild boar and several members of the Von Trapp family.

Day 4

* Landing in Warsaw, the president warms up the crowd with his down-home sense of humor. "How many Poles does it take to screw in a thousand points of light?" he jokes.

* Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, more anti-death-penalty protests erupt. "We believe in the sanctity of all human life," demonstrators yell. "Well, except for our legalized euthanasia program." Elsewhere, thousands of British demonstrators gather outside the U.S. Consulate in London to lambaste Bush for being a "big, dumb American." After the protest, the crowd tanks up on pints of dark ale and heads to a nearby soccer match, where they beat the living daylights out of each other.

Day 5

* If it's Tuesday, this must be Slovenia. While visiting the city of Ljubljana, Bush stuns audiences with his perfect pronunciation of Slovenian towns and names. He later explains that Slavic words are easier for him to pronounce because "they don't got as many of them troublesome vowels to deal with."

* In a moving public ceremony on the banks of the Rhine river, Bush forgives the German people for their "below the belt" attack on Pearl Harbor.

* Bush visits Berlin, a city teetering on bankruptcy largely because it inherited the problems of East Berlin and declares: "Mr. Putin, please put the wall back up!"

* Russian President Vladimir Putin responds by inviting Bush to a special behind-the-scenes Father's Day tour at a local zoo. For his safety, the Russian president urges Bush to strip naked, roll around in bacon fat and carry a 5-pound porterhouse steak into a small cage with a Russian brown bear.

* Working to win support for his missile defense shield plan, Bush tells European leaders the shield will also protect against global warming. "If greenhouse gases build up, we'll use missiles to blow a few holes in the ozone layer so the gases can escape to outer space."

Day 6

* In a fitting postscript to his European tour, Bush flies to Kyoto, Japan, where he attempts to renegotiate the global warming treaty. He argues that more research is needed to back scientific claims of a "Green Acres effect," and makes an additional call for more studies to prove tobacco is a carcinogen, Elvis is dead and the world is round. He finishes the visit by throwing up on the Japanese prime minister. "That's my boy," says George Bush, the elder.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World