Great news: Obama fumbled Brown visit because he’s in over his head

posted at 4:19 pm on March 7, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

After insulting Gordon Brown during the British prime minister’s visit this week by ignoring protocol and cheaping out on the traditional gift exchange, the UK media has erupted in outrage.  The Obama White House has now started to recognize the firestorm the new President created with our closest ally, and wants to assure the Brits that he meant no disrespect.  Instead, Obama apparently wants to assure them that he’s simply in over his head and floundering (via Radio Equalizer):

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. …

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.

A well-connected Washington figure, who is close to members of Mr Obama’s inner circle, expressed concern that Mr Obama had failed so far to “even fake an interest in foreign policy”. …

The American source said: “Obama is overwhelmed. There is a zero sum tension between his ability to attend to the economic issues and his ability to be a proactive sculptor of the national security agenda.

“That was the gamble these guys made at the front end of this presidency and I think they’re finding it a hard thing to do everything.”

I’m not sure which is worse.  At least if he meant to snub Brown, it would suggest a certain competence at this brand of diplomacy.  Instead, we’re told that the Obama White House and their staff are just a bunch of incompetents who got in over their heads.

Which is, of course, the point we made continuously over the last two years.

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Having thought about this one, I’m mostly embarassed by the tackiness of the gift. Yikes!

AnninCA on March 9, 2009 at 6:11 PM

The explanation that they are amateurs does not jibe because most of Obama’s upper echelon are Clintistas, well aware of protocols. The Clinton crowd in general, in public, followed protocols carefully

Are you referring to the same Cllntonistas that trashed the White House the day they left office and turned it over to Bush? What protocol were they following then? /sarc

Fed45 on March 10, 2009 at 2:02 AM

When McCain “left” his campaign to focus on the economic crisis, Mr. Cool Obama countered how he could most certainly best McCain by being able to do more than one thing at a time.

Now this rank amateur 47 year old can’t muster up the energy or initiative to manage a decent reception or gift for our staunchest ally. Hollywood Movies??? No wagyu beef? No black tie dinner with Obama waving a glass of Chardonnay? What a crass embarrassment after receiving the fabulously thoughtful British gift! Mere words fail me.

All the Obamessiah can definitely do well is campaign. Walking and chewing nicorette simultaneously seem beyond POTUS’ pay grade. The Brits are right, Barack needs a smoke.

marybel on March 10, 2009 at 8:47 AM