The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Friday, March 20, 2009
Dumb and Dumber
Once upon a time, my sister had a leading role in the Office of Protocol for a former President. A key State Department role, it is all about creating impressions for visiting dignitaries, and above all NOT creating shame and insult. It involves researching cultural customs, and when it comes to gift giving--being actually thoughtful.
This is absolutely unbelievable. You recall the embarrassment over the Obama administration's incompetent treatment of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown during his state visit to the U.S. The last link in that chain of ineptitude was Obama's parting gift to Brown, a box of 25 Hollywood CDs. Hey, when Sarkozy comes to town, maybe we can get him a Netflix subscription.
At the time, some wondered whether North American DVDs will even play in European machines. But that seemed too wacky to be true. As Mark Steyn says, "at the back of my mind, I didn't quite believe that even the Obamateur Hour crowd at the White House could be that clueless."
Only--oops--it turns out they could be:
While not exactly a film buff, Gordon Brown was touched when Barack Obama gave him a set of 25 classic American movies - including Psycho, starring Anthony Perkins on his recent visit to Washington. Alas, when the PM settled down to begin watching them the other night, he found there was a problem.
The films only worked in DVD players made in North America and the words "wrong region" came up on his screen. Although he mournfully had to put the popcorn away, he is unlikely to jeopardise the special relationship - or "special partnership", as we are now supposed to call it - by registering a complaint.
Well, one good thing--thank goodness we have smart, sophisticated Democrats on the White House staff now, instead of those yahoo Republicans. Then again, maybe not:
A White House spokesman sniggered when I put the story to him and he was still looking into the matter when my deadline came last night.
By the way, when Obama's unlikely gift was disclosed, a reader emailed me to ask if Clueless was among the films. Funnily enough, it was not.
The Obama administration is rapidly earning a reputation for incompetence. We'll leave the last word to Mark Steyn:
But don't forget, folks: Somewhere in Texas a village has been reunited with its idiot, and we now have the whip-smartest administration of David Brooks' lifetime.
ONE MORE THING: Can you imagine the Democrats' reaction if the Bush White House had given a European head of state a set of DVDs that can only be played on North American machines? It would have been conclusive proof of Bush's provincialism, lack of sensitivity to our allies' sensibilities, ignorance of the wider world, techno incompetence, failure to appreciate the superiority of European civilization, blah blah blah. That's how it would have been reported and editorialized on in every newspaper. So let's check tomorrow's papers and see whether that's how Obama's gaffe is covered. Or whether it's covered at all.
I admit, I am no big fan of Gordon Brown--he is basically another Marxist that the Brits will replace at their earliest opportunity, because they are on to him now. Regardless, the UK has long been a friend and one of our staunchest allies; and for the President to blow his first state visit this badly speaks volumes. It was beyond an insult; it was offensive.