Barack Obama and Tim Geithner have had a tough couple of weeks, and criticism is pouring in from unlikely quarters. The Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said yesterday the US administration's stimulus plan is a "road to hell". President Obama might have expected warmer words in the run-up to his Prague visit scheduled for early April. Topolanek gave vent to his feelings at an EU meeting just after his government lost a vote of confidence. I doubt his successor will thump him on the back, saying: "thanks a bunch, Mirek, for telling it like it is".
Damage control operations have commenced. The Czechs now claim the translation was faulty: The suggestion wasn't that the US plan is bad, only that it would be catastrophic for the EU to follow that path. Which still indicates Americans aren't on a stairway to heaven.
And its whispered that soon
If we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason.
And a new day will dawn
For those who stand long
And the forests will echo with laughter.
With each passing day fewer people believe the piper's name is Barack. Chris Rea reflects the mood of the moment better than Led Zep:
And all the roads jam up with credit
And there’s nothing you can do
It’s all just bits of paper flying away from you
Oh look out world, take a good look
What comes down here
You must learn this lesson fast and learn it well
This ain’t no upwardly mobile freeway
Oh no, this is the road to hell
Update March 28: I wasn't far off the mark. Mirek Topolanek today said his remark about Obama's 'road to hell' was subconsciously inspired by AC / DC's Highway to Hell, which the band played during their Prague gig a few days beforethe Czech PM made his gaffe. The song's words don't seem as prescient as the Chris Rea lyrics, but here's the opening stanza anyway:
Living easy, living free
Season ticket on a one-way ride
Asking nothing, leave me be
Taking everything in my stride
Dont need reason, dont need rhyme
Aint nothing I would rather do
Going down, party time
My friends are gonna be there too
Im on the highway to hell