JOSÉ MARÍA AZNAR
Old job: Prime minister of Spain, 1996-2004
New image: Spanish voters gave Aznar the boot after his government attempted to pin the blame for the 2004 Madrid train bombings on ETA, the Basque separatist group, when they were in fact carried out by Islamist extremists hoping to punish Spain for its support of the deeply unpopular Iraq war. Since then, Aznar, who runs a think tank and sits on the board of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., has distinguished himself mainly by the extremity of his rhetoric.
Aznar has joined with Czech President Vaclav Klaus in calling global warming a "new religion" and referring to environmentalists as "flag bearers of the global-warming apocalypse ... who seek to restrict individual liberties in the name of a noble cause ... as the communists did!" (Never mind that under Aznar's tenure, Spain signed on to the Kyoto Protocol to combat global warming.)
Aznar has also suggested that Muslims apologize for the medieval occupation of Spain, called efforts at interfaith dialogue stupid, and called the U.S. election of an African-American president "a historic exoticism and predictable economic disaster." Aznar also attacked Spanish government campaign against drunk driving -- while accepting an award from a vintner's association -- saying, "Let me decide for myself; that's what liberty consists of. Who asked you to come and drive for me? Let me drink my wine in peace; I'm not putting anyone at risk."
Aznar recently kicked off a more defensible campaign to drum up international support for Israel, but the folks in Tel Aviv might want to consider whether he's really their most effective cheerleader.