Yesterday President Bush was in Chicago speaking about (surprise!) immigration and (even more surprise!) the “war on terror”, and he said this:

I am going to continue to remind our hemisphere that respect for property rights and human rights is essential for all countries in order for there to be prosperity and peace. I’m going to remind our allies and friends in the neighborhood that the United States of America stands for justice. I want to remind people that the United States stands against corruption at all levels of government, that the United States is transparent. The United States expects the same from other countries in the neighborhood, and we’ll work toward them.

Thank you very much. I’m concerned — let me just put it bluntly — I’m concerned about the erosion of democracy in the countries you mentioned.

Wow, you can just smell the irony dripping from his lips, can’t you? He speaks of property rights (hello, eminent domain!) and human rights (hello, rendition and waterboarding!), goes on to recall justice (hello, PATRIOT Act, goodbye habeus corpus!) and “transparency” (hello, state secrets!), and finally ends with concern about the erosion of democracy (hello, PATRIOT Act again!).

Do people really believe anything he says any more? In my mind, the United States has lost so much face with the international community that for us to stand up and preach to other countries about democracy and justice and human rights is not only ironic, but insulting.