Is the First Family bringing Shame to America?

Posted on 02 April 2009

When Michelle Obama put her arm round the Queen at Buckingham Palace, some of the more excitable elements of the media – particularly us Americans – suggested she may have been guilty of a breach of protocol.  It’s true, you just don’t go around hugging the Queen of England.obama-breaks-protocol

Although there is no official book of ‘do’s and dont’s’ and the Queen has made clear in recent years that she does not expect people to curtsy or bow any more, the “no-touch” rule has always been sacrosanct.   (Here is the protocol from the Queen of England’s website — which applies even to her own subjects)

Members of the public introduced to the Queen are told they should wait until she extends her hand for them to take it and kissing is totally frowned upon.the-queen-and-michelle-obama

When the former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating put his arm around the Queen in 1992, he was branded the “Lizard of Oz”.  His successor, John Howard, didn’t fare much better and was forced to insist: ‘We firmly deny that there was any contact whatsoever’ when he was accused of touching the royal person.

Barack Obama on HM Queen Elizabeth II — “She reminds me of my grandmother, only with a bigger house“.

Obama Bows to Saudi King at G20 Summit (watch the video).   Americans do not bow to foreign monarchs because that act signifies the monarch’s power over his subjects.

Obama Bows to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

Obama Bows to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

And then, it was an ipod gift to the 80 yr old Queen of England loaded with Obama Speeches.. actually I take that back…. one of the first embarrasments was when PM Brown from England came to visit President Obama.

It is well understood that visiting diplomatic delegations come bearing gifts and gift giving is returned in like fashion by the host country. It is an ages old human practice in diplomacy after all. Usually the gifts are valuable, representative of the products of the nations involved, or at least symbolic of the history of those nations.

For his part, PM Brown gave two symbolic gifts and one that expressed national pride. Brown came bearing a pen holder carved from the timbers of the sister ship of that which gave the wood to create the famous “Resolute Desk,” the desk that has been in America’s charge since 1880. He also gave Obama the framed commission for that famous ship, the HMS Resolute. His third gift was a seven-volume biography of one of England’s greatest leaders, Winston Churchill.

So, what did President Obama give the British PM? 25 movies on DVD. Yeah, that’s it. Brown gives a symbolic gift like the pen holder fashioned from a famous British warship and Obama responds by sending a staffer to WalMart to pick up a few quick movies.

And I’m not the only one to scoff at this thoughtless gift. The entire British press is up in arms. Many in Britain are seeing this as entirely gauche and indicative of the low esteem in which the Obama’s hold England.

Worse, no one is 100% sure that Obama was smart enough to know that DVDs made in America don’t play on European DVD players. American DVDs are created in the “Region One” format while those in Europe play in “Region Two” format. A U.S. DVD just won’t play on a machine made for the English market.

Not to be out done in tastelessness by her husband, Michelle got into the act, too. Mrs. Brown came bearing two outfits for the Obama girls from Topshop, one of Britain’s trendiest and expensive women’s wear retail outlets.

In return, Michelle apparently had a staffer run down to the White House gift shop and grab two toy Marine One helicopter models for the Brown’s boys.

Class all the way.

All of this is on top of the snub of the Brits that Obama tossed off immediately upon entering office. One of his first official acts was to summarily return to the Brits the generous gift of the most famous bust of Winston Churchill that has sat in the Oval Office since the attacks on 9/11.

This threw British diplomats into a tizzy really blindsiding them. Even when they reiterated that Obama could keep the generous gift to the American people, he rejected it without comment leaving the Brits at a loss for words.

9 Comments For This Post

  1. Rick DeBeer says:

    What do you expect from someone unfit for duty? He bows because he is a Muslim in the presence of a King, and his wife manhandles the Queen Mum because she can’t read the protocol book in Pimpmobile 1.

  2. MizT says:

    America…wake up…look what you are sending to represent us! Even I know you don’t touch the queen!

  3. David Reep says:

    What I personally find most telling in these two photos and from reading the news both pro and con regarding the Obamas European trip is this…
    I am certain that protocol was covered in all the briefings about how to greet the Queen and “Saudi Royals” so it appears the Obamas made the decision that Mrs Obama would not curtsy to Queen Elizabeth and that President would bow to the Saudi King if indeed that is what he appears to be doing. Everyone knows from the Gordon Brown visit last month to Washington that the White House treated him very casually. I have no idea how he was supposed to be treated other than the customary State Dinner which I think never happened and we all know the DVD gifts were for North America region 1 only. As for the iPOD given to the Queen, it was loaded with Obama speeches that made me laugh a bit.

    The Obamas spend tremendous amounts of money on themselves from all accounts. I am curious about what the clothes, hair and makeup are costing for Mrs Obama in Europe. I still remember the beating Sarah Palin took in the press for wearing “borrowed clothes” during her run for Vice President. It’s becoming obvious that the Obamas are very casual in their treatment of others but lavish with themselves. As for embarrassing the USA, who knows? Europeans love celebrities. What embarrasses me the most is the out of control spending, always apologizing for America, tax cheats and corrupt Congressman and the lack of respect for our own Constitution.That scares and embarrasses me the most.

  4. george says:

    Lets not forget the photos of then walking around holding hands with this saudi king, just like two little lovebirds.

  5. William Cavendish says:

    The Gift Division of the Office of Protocol in the State Department needs to brief the President about the symbolism of HMS RESOLUTE and how the gift of the ship in 1856 prevented a third war between Britain and the USA. The Americans had actually sent the British Ambassador home. HMS RESOLUTE has paid a handsome peace dividend ever since and the returns on the $44,000 spent by Congress have been extremely worthwhile. The Obama aides need to read “HMS RESOLUTE: From the Canadian Arctic to the President’s Desk’ by Elizabeth Matthews. Incidentally, HMS GANNET was built in 1879 just as old RESOLUTE was going off to the breakers yard and furniture shop, and therefore was not RESOLUTE’s sister ship. Finally, RESOLUTE was not a warship but an exploration vessel, and you should not be saying THE HMS RESOLUTE as you are incorrectly saying THE Her Majesty’s Ship.

  6. G-Man says:

    I didn’t vote for him!! I would never vote for some one not willing to Salute The AMERICAN flag.

  7. G Clark says:

    Who cares if the gifts weren’t nice enough, or that Michelle Obama hugged the queen? It doesn’t matter at all guys! Why the hell does the queen of England deserve that respect anyways? She’s a symbol of an antiquated political system – one that held back progress for almost as long as the Church has.

    And bowing to a Saudi King? What’s inherently wrong with that? Sure it can be seen as representing subservience, but it was probably done nonchalantly, out of respect.. Not that I feel the Saudi government deserves much of that either.. Either way IT’S NOT THE ISSUE

    Stories like these force our attention away from the real issues at hand. We should be looking at the political relationships between these people, not the public PR relationships. What really matters is the politics between these countries, not how their leaders greet each other on Television and in front of the media.

  8. lilamae says:

    You can’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. We have two sows’ ears, folks. Welcome to the change.

  9. Frank Doric says:

    Aristocrats, oligarchs and plutocrats–scum sucking bottom feeders the lot of them

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