Thursday, March 05, 2009


The British papers are abuzz about the gift exchange that occurred between Gordon Brown and Barack Obama. Here's the lowdown:

During his historic trip to Washington, Gordon Brown gave Barack Obama an ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet - once called HMS President.

The unique present delighted Mr Obama because oak from the Gannet's sister ship, HMS Resolute, was carved to make a desk that already takes place in the Oval Office in the White House, after being presented by Britain to the US in 1880.

Mr Brown also took to Washington a framed commission for HMS Resolute, a vessel that came to mark Anglo-US peace when it was saved from ice packs by Americans and given to Queen Victoria.
He also gave a first edition set of the seven-volume classic biography of Churchill by Sir Martin Gilbert.
And what did President Obama present the Prime Minister?

For despite being leader of the world's most bountiful nation, President Obama handed over nothing more thought-provoking than 25 classic American films on DVD.
It was the equivalent of receiving a pair of socks from an unfamiliar aunt at Christmas - and a less-than-glowing affirmation of the UK-US bond.
This must be more of that new diplomacy we were promised.

To quote a 1970s cartoon character (who I must refrain from identifying for reasons of sensitivity. Bonus points if you come up with it.):

"No class."


We have a winner! Bonus points to Jeff Hawkins.

MORE from TigerHawk: For those of you who are inclined to apologize on behalf of our President, the postal address and fax number for 10 Downing Street are here. Or, alternatively, you can contact the British embassy in Washington here.


By Blogger JH, at Thu Mar 05, 02:50:00 PM:

Russell from Fat Albert :)  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Mar 05, 03:14:00 PM:

Like school on saturdays. I think that was the line anyway.

This gesture (or lack thereof) is emblematic of the entire presidency -- superficial thought.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Mar 05, 03:24:00 PM:

For despite being leader of the world's most bountiful nation, President Obama handed over nothing more thought-provoking than 25 classic American films on DVD.

Region 1, NTSC, I'll bet.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Thu Mar 05, 04:02:00 PM:

I hate to say that our President is a churl, but I would hope that we would give a nicer present than that to, say, the prime minister of Nepal, much less the United Kingdom. It is nationally humiliating, and astonishing from a President who was so sanctimonious about our relationship with traditional allies.

Of course, Barack Obama might have been offended by the trinket from the HMS Gannett. After all, it was racist. Obama is not descended from American slaves. Did the British assume that he was because he is black...?

(I kill me.)  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Mar 05, 04:04:00 PM:

Wow,between this, the awkward and stand-offish press conference and that bit about Churchill's bust a while back this trip seems to have been a disaster for all involved. That the President could treat any Head of state much less one from one of our most "traditional allies" in such away is to me appalling. What is President Obama's closer? Is he going to wave a burning union jack while pissing on a portrait of the queen and telling off color jokes about Prime Minster Browns mother?  

By Blogger Charlottesvillain, at Thu Mar 05, 04:51:00 PM:

TH, I actually heard a snippet on the radio that suggested that Obama's grandfather may have been a passenger on the HMS Gannet. Have no idea how or why that would be the case, but maybe there is some connection.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Mar 05, 05:22:00 PM:

Apologies, absolutely but I think we should also consider writing Thank You Notes. I am concerned that the First Family might not do that with any more grace than they did the gift giving.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Mar 05, 06:38:00 PM:

At least Obama didn't book the Prime Minister a trip to Vegas like AIG :)
The press is all over this though! Check out this video: http://riverdaughter.wordpress.com/2009/03/05/was-it-an-intentional-trans-atlantic-cold-shoulder/#comment-314763  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Mar 05, 06:44:00 PM:

*At least Obama didn't book the Prime Minister a trip to Vegas...*

Or buy him a bomber jacket:

The Prime Minister has not had the best of luck when receiving gifts from U.S. presidents.

He was given a fur-trimmed brown leather bomber jacket by George W. Bush during first trip to America in summer 2007.

Commentators gleefully pointed out that the garment was hardly in keeping with Mr Brown's usual sober attire of business suit and tie.

Not surprisingly, it later emerged that the PM had decided not to keep the gift. Instead, he gave it to charity.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Mar 05, 08:45:00 PM:

"Obama's grandfather may have been a passenger"

Not true as Obama nor his Kenyan family has any connection with American slavery unless they were providing slaves for shipment. He only donned the coat of blackness to appeal to guilty liberals and the African-Americans.

But it does appear that Obama has disgraced America by letting He and his wife's racial grudges influence this treatment of the British whom they blame for the plight of Kenya and slavery.

Obama has already proven in less than two months that he is not suited to be leader of this nation.

Totally unfit for the Office.  

By Blogger smitty1e, at Thu Mar 05, 09:40:00 PM:

Calling Lemmy a cartoon character from the 1970s betrays your lack of style, which pales in comparison to that of the POTUS.  

By Blogger Unknown, at Fri Mar 06, 10:55:00 PM:

I have this theory that Obama, neophyte in the realm of foreign relations, is acting like most of the hard lefty people I know. They don't seem to understand that all that campaign talk about "improving our standing with foreign countries" is nice, but to actually get those results is hard work. The recent gaffe with the leaked letter to Russia regarding Iran's nuclear program is a prime example. He just expects other countries to do what he wants, not realizing that those kinds of agreements are only possible after long stretches of following the admittedly silly rules of diplomacy.

For all of Bush's faults, he treated other countries with respect. It may have been overly familiar to some, but he treated visiting dignitaries with... well, with dignity. Obama seems to treat everyone like customers.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Mar 11, 07:49:00 AM:

Perhaps if the films had been the greats, like Anal Driller 9 or Shaving Ryans Privates it wouldnt have been such a big problem  

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