Bye Bye Bush Buoys Americans Abroad

You can now take that Canadian flag off your backpack.
You can now take that Canadian flag off your backpack ...

It's probably best to wait until there's reliable data to start making any meaningful conclusions -- the next PIPA study should be interesting -- but this reportabout American popularity overseas is encouraging.

From Jakarta to Johannesburg, Americans who travel or live abroad are finding that instead of being scolded about the Iraq war, the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, or U.S. climate change policy, they are being hugged when strangers hear their accent.

Now, I do find that a little hard to believe. Americans are being hugged? C'mon. I recall a Saturday Night Live bit with Al Gore a couple of years ago in which he joked, in a fictional reality in which he'd taken office in 2000, that the United States had become so popular that "American tourists can't even go over to Europe anymore without getting hugged." Are you telling me this has actually happened?

Hug skepticism notwithstanding, if the anecdotal evidence is right, I'm glad Americans abroad don't need to feel embarrassed anymore by their association to the Bush administration:

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