Saturday, August 11, 2007

Presidente Cómo-se-llama

This is stunning. According to this Zogby survey, fully 20 percent of Americans know who the president of Mexico is. And yet, surprisingly, the doom-and-gloom eggheads who commissioned the poll think this is just terrible.

“The poll suggests that American adults are badly misinformed about the region,” said Peter Hakim, the president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington think tank that collaborated with Zogby on the poll. “Most Americans believe Brazil and Mexico are the U.S.’s best friends in the region, but the great majority cannot identify the president of either country, and they mistakenly identify Washington’s closest ally in the region, Colombia, as an adversary,”

Dude! Thirty-one percent of Americans don't know who their own vice-president is! Only 21 percent can name the secretary of defense. Of America. Of an America which is fighting two wars, which give the SecDef a reason to be on the tee-vee! The fact that the president of Mexico is as well-known as the secretary of defense is amazing. Now the fact that the secretary of defense is as little known as the president of Mexico is, of course, massively depressing. As is this:

A substantial plurality (48%) believe that...the U.S. has been most harmed by NAFTA,... while 12% said they think Mexico has gotten the short end of the stick. Conversely, respondents, by a three–to–one margin, believe Mexico has been a bigger beneficiary than the U.S. under the trade agreement.

Sad, but in a country where more people recognize Beyonce than Nancy Pelosi, it's at least understandable.

For the record, having lived 39 years within 300 miles of the Canadian border, I've been struggling to recall the name of the Canadian - what is it, prime minister? It'll come to me.

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