In case you missed it last week, the British Prime Minister paid a visit to our new President. Gordon Brown represents our closest ally, in the war on terror, for democracy around the world, well just about everything. So obviously, great thought has been spent planning even the smallest detail. After all, the world will be watching to see how the new administration treats its closest friend. Likewise, the Brits are planning some wonderful gifts for the Obamas. The Prime Minister brought a pen holder carved from the wood of the HMS Gannett. This ship was an anti-slavery ship and is the sister of the ship whose wood made Obama’s Presidential desk. For the wife and kids, Mrs. Brown brought trendy dresses with matching necklaces and a basket of books by British authors. Very thoughtful gifts indeed.
There’s a lot to live up to for Mr. Obama. He’s promised a new tone and a greater relationship with other countries. Our President has promised to repair the horrible relationships Mr. Bush left for Mr. Obama. So, putting his best foot forward, he went all out. First, he didn’t schedule a state dinner for the visiting dignitary. Second, he didn’t schedule a joint press conference, something standard for visiting heads of state. Well, of course, that would be overdoing it. After all, the poor Prime Minister had spent the previous night trolling the streets of Washington, DC, for some tasty fish and chips since the Obamas didn’t invite him to dinner. I’m sure they were only thinking of HIM when they decided not to have a press conference. He was probably out late.
Certainly, after these fairly basic oversights, the Obamas will make up for it with some very thoughtful gifts. Mrs. Obama gave the Brown children models of the Presidential helicopter, Marine One. Something they could have bought at the White House gift shop. But the best is saved for last. Mr. Brown received 25 classic DVDs! Apparently Mr. Brown wasn’t aware he was visiting Columbia House, not the White House! (come on, that’s an original! I need some props! well. . .I like it!)
So if the gift of DVDs wasn’t bad enough (and it is), here’s some additional information you may not have heard about. People like me who work in the “industry” are aware that DVDs sold here in the States are formatted for Region 1. They will play on all Region 1 DVD players. Great Britain is in Region 2, which means that the DVDs Obama gave the Prime Minister will not play on his DVD player. . .in Great Britain! Perhaps a Region 1 DVD player would have been a nice addition to the bevy of trinkets. I think they’re like $20 at Wal-Mart (another great American invention).
But the kicker to the whole story for me is that Gordon Brown is blind in one eye and losing vision in the other. So Barack Obama gave unplayable DVDs to a nearly blind man! This is almost as bad as Ryan Seacrest trying to high five a blind guy on the first episode of American Idol this season. Except the American Idol guy doesn’t have bombs (that I know about)!
Well obviously, this isn’t entirely Obama’s fault. He has a very large staff who should have been looking out for these kind of things. Actually, there is a culprit here who no one is talking about. Who is it that usually handles protocol for visiting dignitaries? If only there was some department of the government who was charged with studying foreign customs and advising the White House on visiting dignitaries. Oh yes, the State Department. And who is running the State Department? Hillary Clinton! Perhaps allowing your greatest political rival handle foreign relations for your administration is NOT such a good idea after all!
So if you’re keeping score:
Economy = tanked
Diplomacy = ruined
Can’t wait for natural disasters and foreign invaders!