The President is down under in Australia meeting with Prime Minister John Howard and his Labour Party opponent, Kevin Rudd. You can get the sense that Australians are a little different from Americans in the following poll results:

A boozy boys’ night out in a New York lap-dancing club has increased the opinion poll lead of Australia’s opposition leader, as he bids to unseat the prime minister, John Howard, a survey revealed.

The Labour leader, Kevin Rudd, said he expected “a belting in the opinion polls” after the details of a drink-fuelled night out in 2003 came to light.

However, a survey published yesterday by The Australian newspaper found that his personal approval rating had instead climbed two points since mid-August to 48 per cent, while Mr Howard’s had slipped two to 37 per cent.

The poll also showed Mr Rudd’s party with an 18-point lead over Mr Howard’s conservative coalition.

Maybe the Australians like a guy that goes for lap dances. I like Rudd because he has promised to pull the Australians out of Iraq if he is elected (which he will be). This must be confusing to Bush, especially in light of this:

Iraq and Afghanistan dominated discussions. Mr Bush later thanked Australian military personnel at a lunch at Garden Island.

He believes success is being achieved in Iraq and told the Deputy Prime Minister, Mark Vaile, upon arrival on Tuesday night that “we’re kicking ass”.

That’s right. We are kicking ass in Iraq. That’s what George W. Bush wants you to believe. I think Steve Benen put it best.

Now, I realize that the president isn’t exactly an impressive guy, and making a good impression overseas probably ranks fairly low on his priority list, but does he really have to embarrass us this much?

As for the “substance” (I use the word loosely) of Bush’s boast, could he be any more wrong? Yesterday, the GAO documented the fact that Iraq has successfully completed three of the administration’s 18 benchmarks. Maybe 17% results were enough for Gentlemen’s Cs to get Bush through school, but in this universe, it hardly qualifies as “kicking ass.”

It does, however, qualify as ‘getting our asses kicked’. Up is down.