I doubt that most people abroad care whether Bush is an idiot, a trained actor, or a genius who is pulling all the strings. They care about the policies of his administration. That is what has led to the astonishing increase in fear and dislike of the US government around most of the world.
What surprises people, at least judging by the information we have, is that Americans are split 50-50 (among those who bother to vote). People elsewhere are astonished that George Bush is protecting them from destruction. That so many Americans believe that Iraq threatened them, and still believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and was linked to 9-11. That apparently includes Congress, which voted almost unanimously on the anniversary of 9-11 for a resolution that basically repeated the propaganda line on the Iraq-9/11 linkage, including Powell’s outlandish fabrications at his Feb. 03 UN testimony, all totally discredited and lacking any credibility even before.
There is also a great deal of wonder, and distress, over the apparent lack of concern for murdering and torturing Iraqis, out of “revenge” — They did it to us (9-11), so we’ll do it to them (“all ragheads are alike”). Or Fallujah for example, conceded to be a revenge massacre. Those who think are also likely to be struck by the farcical character of the elections: the PR extravaganzas, the principled evasion of issues, the focus on IBM electric typewriters in 1970 and swift boat charges, particularly dramatic alongside the complete incapacity to see that every significant question about the Vietnam war has been sent so deep down into the memory hole. And on, and on.