The Confusion, Part II

This weekend, Newt Gingrich went on Meet the Press and said polls don’t matter: Obama is maintaining his popularity but losing his credibility.

With stories like that, such may be true:

Barack Obama ‘too tired’ to give proper welcome to Gordon Brown – Telegraph
Sources close to the White House say Mr Obama and his staff have been “overwhelmed” by the economic meltdown and have voiced concerns that the new president is not getting enough rest.
British officials, meanwhile, admit that the White House and US State Department staff were utterly bemused by complaints that the Prime Minister should have been granted full-blown press conference and a formal dinner, as has been customary. They concede that Obama aides seemed unfamiliar with the expectations that surround a major visit by a British prime minister.
But Washington figures with access to Mr Obama’s inner circle explained the slight by saying that those high up in the administration have had little time to deal with international matters, let alone the diplomatic niceties of the special relationship.
Allies of Mr Obama say his weary appearance in the Oval Office with Mr Brown illustrates the strain he is now under, and the president’s surprise at the sheer volume of business that crosses his desk.

I knew Barack Obama would be incompetent, but I hoped that he would simply rely on Washington insiders. Instead, there are signs that he is winging it.

Hopefully not, or we could have the world’s first underpants war.

14 thoughts on “The Confusion, Part II”

  1. Please. The British press has been absolutely bonkers about this since even before the visit. Brown’s staff were raising unreal expectations of what he would get from Obama. Let’s be blunt, Brown is responsible for much of the financial disaster Britain is in. Worse, he (a) opened up the door to protectionist British behavior and (b) has been popping off about shared burdens in gov’t spending to halt the global recession while spending very little compared to China, America, etc. as a percentage of GDP. He has been a miserable failure in office and is likely to be trounced by the conservative candidate next year.

    Were Obama to have given this more than a second or third thought, he probably should have done even less for a leader who has done next to nothing for Britain and nothing for America. It is not Obama’s job to prop up failed leaders, even if it is supposed to be according to the British press and conservatives in America. His #1 job is fixing the US economy as best he can after 16 years of failed policies, the creation of banking entities that are “too big to fail” thanks to failed regulation and oversight by the USG and shareholders and after that he has to keep up the US-China relationship and countless others more important than what the do nothing Euros are up to.

  2. Eddie,
    I agree, Brown stinks. Still, not excuse, especially for a simple gesture of a gift. That no protocol officer or something similar could gin such a thing up is disturbing to me because it may be a signal of greater disarray in the White House.
    Also, our future is in the Pacific and Indian Ocean, but remember Good Friends, new and old, one is silver, the other is gold. Even in it’s waning days Great Britain has been with us, we shant lose neglect such an ally for wont of a simple gesture.

  3. Elam,
    Brown is diminishing the UK-US alliance quite enough by himself. His self-serving antics in the financial crisis will likely not be forgotten by American policymakers, British voters or his fellow do-nothing Europeans.

    David Rothkopf explains with regards to all the taxpayer money we’ve given to him to help clean up his screw-ups :

    One, the Royal Bank of Scotland, is now pretty much owned by the U.K. government…so Gordon Brown can complain as much as he wants about the DVDs Obama gave him, this one was worth billions. Say “thank you” Gordon.

    http://rothkopf.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/03/08/free_money_from_the_government_no_strings_attached

  4. If Eddie’s comments are representatives, it’s striking how quicly Obama fans are morphing into a satire of the Bushies they fought so bitterly just a few years before.

    For years, we heard cries for respect for allies, multilateralism, and transatlanticism from liberals.. and a dismissiveness from conservatives. ‘They should be greateful for NATO!,’ ‘They are free-riding off our effort,’ etc. Attempts to support-while-tempering our policies (say, Schroeder threatening to resign as Chanceller if the German military did not deploy in support of NATO, while criticizing the Iraq War) were dismissed as grandstanding.

    Now, from Eddie, we learn that respect for allies, multilateralism, and transatlanticism are old hat, that Europeans are ungreatful, and that European attempts to support-while tempering our policis are grandstanding.

    ElamBend,

    I agree completely.

  5. This was a snafu crafted by the British press, which in a sense is obsessed with taking Brown down earlier than the elections. He has a long litany of gaffes and missteps that slow him down akin to daggers in the back.

    I compare this to manufactured snafus (like when the Taiwan national anthem was played instead of the PRC one during a Bush meeting with Chinese leaders) egged on by naysayers seeking to prove a non-existent point.

    The Europeans have an even bigger financial mess on their hands than we do. They have been taking shots at America for months now over our failure, yet have done remarkably little to respond to their own. They are in an utter denial of reality over how deep a rathole they have fallen into.

    Brown talked about multi-laterialism and cooperation, lecturing to the US congress about what America needs to do, while his actions (and heck, even some of his words, especially promoting protectionist job programs) fall woefully short of his rhetoric.

    Given how McCain disdains posers like Brown (and adores the conservative leader David Cameron), I could not imagine him doing better than Obama on this regard with Brown.

    Also given that Britain is an absolute economic basketcase, I can not imagine what Obama fulfilling whatever “ideal” summit was supposed to occur in the mind of the British media or Brown’s staffers was going to accomplish for Brown. His voters already want him gone and consider him a rotten failure.

    For example, the press crowed about why Obama didn’t meet Brown in a gala in the Rose Garden. They seem to ignore reality in that it was a cold, snowy day when that was supposed to occur. I have not seen pictures of American leaders standing out in the freezing cold in the Rose Garden to meet someone and then stand around for an hour or so answering questions from an equally freezing press.

    These are cheap political points devoid of fact.

  6. One could reasonably retort to Dan’s claims: certain conservatives are morphing into faux Bush-era liberals with the continual stream of Obama-related manufactured crises and scandals that blow over as quick as they came.

    In reality, Obama is in deep trouble across the board domestic and foreign (without the need for these non-existent crises manufactured by outlets and individuals who have long ago lost credibility), most of it not of his own creation but some of it quite dreadfully self-inflicted.

  7. I compare this to manufactured snafus (like when the Taiwan national anthem was played instead of the PRC one during a Bush meeting with Chinese leaders) egged on by naysayers seeking to prove a non-existent point.

    If, to use the example, Bush had said “Play Taiwan’s national anthem,” or Laura had handed out Taiwanese flags, then the analogy would be accurate.

    Indeed, this demonstarte’s ElamBend’s point about the chaos inside the adminisration. The gaffe that you cite as analogous was lower level, and the President was insulated it. Instead, the Obamas were directly involved with a number of breaks of protocol (Returning the gift, a gift of DVDs, a gift of toys lifted from the White House gift shop, etc), as well as the lose of face caused by an unexpectedly low-key meeting that you pointed out.

    The Europeans have an even bigger financial mess on their hands than we do. They have been taking shots at America for months now over our failure, yet have done remarkably little to respond to their own. They are in an utter denial of reality over how deep a rathole they have fallen into.

    An irrelevent tangent.

    Brown talked about multi-laterialism and cooperation, lecturing to the US congress about what America needs to do, while his actions (and heck, even some of his words, especially promoting protectionist job programs) fall woefully short of his rhetoric

    I think I read a similar attack on Schroeder at RedState

    Given how McCain disdains posers like Brown (and adores the conservative leader David Cameron), I could not imagine him doing better than Obama on this regard with Brown.

    Are you asserting that protocal should be dictated by the personal warmth between world leaders?

    One could reasonably retort to Dan’s claims: certain conservatives are morphing into faux Bush-era liberals with the continual stream of Obama-related manufactured crises and scandals that blow over as quick as they came.

    In reality, Obama is in deep trouble across the board domestic and foreign (without the need for these non-existent crises manufactured by outlets and individuals who have long ago lost credibility), most of it not of his own creation but some of it quite dreadfully self-inflicted.

    Insulting one of our greatest allies due to incompetence is a manufactured crisis?

  8. I fail to see this as an insult and no one but the British press and a few bloggers with ulterior motives seems to see it as an insult.

    That European “tangent” was in response to your bit about multi laterialism. This is not a “war of choice” or a “climate change” agreement that we are seeking cooperation on and screwing the pooch with b/c we just have to go our own way because we feel like it (as Bush did) irregardless of the consequences.

    It is a struggle to prevent an economic collapse. When our “allies” are not pulling their weight by any means, why should we pretend otherwise?

  9. Eddie,

    I fail to see this as an insult and no one but the British press and a few bloggers with ulterior motives seems to see it as an insult.

    Misdierction. As I’ve said, there’s no ulterior motive: only chaos, incompetence.

    As for whether it happened or not: I thought that you agreed there was a serious breach of protocol, but thought that it didn’t matter? Now you don’t see one?

    That European “tangent” was in response to your bit about multi laterialism. This is not a “war of choice” or a “climate change” agreement that we are seeking cooperation on and screwing the pooch with b/c we just have to go our own way because we feel like it (as Bush did) irregardless of the consequences.

    This point is exactly as idiotic as saying Obama’s is subsidizing zombie banks “because we feel like it.” There are serious policy differences in life. Saying “because we feel like it” may fly as an explanation at Daily Kos, but not here.

    It is a struggle to prevent an economic collapse. When our “allies” are not pulling their weight by any means, why should we pretend otherwise?

    When there is disagreement on tactics between alies, we should give our allies a cold shoulder?

    Or are you hoping that foreign leaders treat Obama the same way, because of his steps that have made the financial crisis worse (creating zombie banks, pushing a cap-and-trade system during an economic downturn, advocating higher marginal income tax rates, signing two ‘Buy American’ laws, and so on).

  10. Again, I fail to see this as an insult or incompetence. If it was, then so be it. I still see no one claiming that though besides the British press (who have it in for Brown) and a few bloggers.

  11. Again, I fail to see this as an insult or incompetence. If it was, then so be it

    Your argument is therefore then this was a calculated demonstration of competence not intended to insult?

    I still see no one claiming that though besides the British press (who have it in for Brown) and a few bloggers.

    Is your assertion then that British perceptions of America does not matter, or that ad hominem attacks are enough to dismiss allegations of incompetence?

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