April 1, 2009

A Tale of Two Giftings: Obama vs Bush

trapped.jpg
Fee. Fi. Fo. Fum.

Confirmed: The Obamas are Tacky, Tasteless, and Cheap The gifting gaffes roll on. First you had a cheap set of American movie DVDs that couldn't be played in England and now, when meeting the Queen of England,

Barack Obama's gift for the Queen: an iPod, your Majesty Barack Obama met the Queen at Buckingham Palace today and gave her a gift of an iPod loaded with video footage and photographs of her 2007 visit to the United States. [but...] The Queen already has an iPod, a 6GB silver Mini version she bought in 2005 at the suggestion of Prince Andrew.
What is it with these two Clampets? We they born in a barn? This is getting embarrassing. What are they going to give the rulers of China? Taiwan or a poo-poo cushion?

A commenter at Ace says, "Wow, we were really lucky to get rid of that Texas hillbilly, and miss out on that Alaskan chick, huh?

Up next, his gift to Angela Merkel: copies of "The World at War" and "Schindler's List" on DVD along with a first edition of "The Diary of Anne Frank"

UPDATE: What did the George and Laura Bush give to the Queen when she visited in

2007? Commenter Eric Blair has located this list a Raymond P. Martinez hosts Ask the White House

President and Mrs. Bush gave Her Majesty a bronze statuette “High Desert Princess” with a personal inscription on the bottom of the base. It is a replica of the original life size statue that is located in front of the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Ft. Worth, Texas.

President and Mrs. Bush gave The Prince Philip an exclusive sterling silver eagle box by Tiffany & Co. with personal inscription on the inside lid.

President and Mrs. Bush gave Their Majesties a leather presentation box filled with a collection of documents from the National Archives. One of the items was a copy of an original letter from President Roosevelt to her father, King George, written in 1938. There were also photos from previous royal visits and a DVD of the footage from the Queen’s visit to the United States when she was Princess Elizabeth in 1951.

I'm sure Her Majesty will put the Obama iPod in suitable place. No fair dumpster diving behind Buckingham Palace.

UPDATE 2: In an update to the original story at the Telegraph it is revealed:

Barack Obama's gift for the Queen: an iPod, your Majesty :: Toby Harnden

UPDATE: Pool reporter Richard Wolf of USA Today says that an Obama aide told him the President also gave the Queen a "rare songbook signed by Richard Rodgers". END UPDATE

Which does "upgrade" the gift. I look forward to learning more about the hit tunes in the signed songbook.

UPDATE: (THIRD AND FINAL) It could have been worse:

Mr. Obama rather unceremoniously handed the Queen a shopping bag from the Duty Free shop at Heathrow airport. It contained a signed paperback copy of Dreams of My Father, purchased at the WH Smith shop at the airport, a bottle of Johnny Walker Scotch (black label), a CD of the Swedish band ABBA's greatest hits (still in shrink wrap with a 2-for-1 sticker on it) and ten bags of M&Ms with the presidential seal on them. -- Obama's Gift to the Queen - Jonah Goldberg - The Corner on National Review Online

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Bush gift vs Obama gift: Any questions?



Note: Extra special blather and spew in the comments brought to you by "The King of the Combovers," barren James Wolcott. A man whose scribblings betray an unusual collection of obsessions involving cats, ballet, urination, and excretion. His little minions seem to follow suit. I note, however, that the minions seem to be substantially fewer than they once were. Traffic down, old pip? It must be getting harder to fill Andrew Sullivan's slot. Or perhaps not.

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James Wolcott: The Ideal and the Real.

Have at it my pretties.

Posted by Vanderleun at April 1, 2009 11:06 AM | TrackBack
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Look, just make it easy on the poor, Overwhelmed One and start giving out $100 Walmart gift cards to foreign dignitaries.

Posted by: director at April 1, 2009 11:53 AM

Umm, no gift cards from the right-to-work WalMart are allowed!

Posted by: Boots at April 1, 2009 12:14 PM

This is sort of interesting as I don't think this protocol stuff got exactly the same attention previously.

I found this from the Queen's visit to the US in 2007, on a white house archive site, in a question and answer piece with the chief of protocol:

"Tyrone, from Florida writes:
Hon. Mr. Martinez, Thank your for taking our questions. Her Majesty, Elizabeth II, Queen of Jamaica is such a grand woman. I am glad that she was able to make the trip to the "colonies." I would like to know what official gift was presented to her by the President and what gift she present to the President and the American people on behalf of her many subjects?

Raymond P. Martinez
Tyrone, the principals conducted a leader to leader gift exchange in the Red Room of the White House immediately after the arrival ceremony. President and Mrs. Bush gave Her Majesty a bronze statuette “High Desert Princess” with a personal inscription on the bottom of the base. It is a replica of the original life size statue that is located in front of the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Ft. Worth, Texas.

President and Mrs. Bush gave The Prince Philip an exclusive sterling silver eagle box by Tiffany & Co. with personal inscription on the inside lid.

President and Mrs. Bush gave Their Majesties a leather presentation box filled with a collection of documents from the National Archives. One of the items was a copy of an original letter from President Roosevelt to her father, King George, written in 1938. There were also photos from previous royal visits and a DVD of the footage from the Queen’s visit to the United States when she was Princess Elizabeth in 1951.

Their Majesties gave President Bush a sterling silver oversized plate by William & Son with gold seals including: the Presidential seal, the Royal seal and a center seal with the star of Texas surrounded by roses. There was a personal inscription on the back of the plate. They gave Mrs. Bush a gold and crystal clock with the Royal seal by William & Son.

The Office of the Chief of Protocol assists the President and First Lady in the selection and presentation of gifts to foreign leaders."

Ok, so that's that. I've been looking, but have not found much for any of Bush's other trips, other than Tony Blair giving Bush a nifty set of Churchil related stuff, apparently because Blair knew that Bush was a big fan of Churchill. (I'm sure you remember the Churchill bust flap recently).

This seems to be making fun of a gift from Blair to Bush: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/1524577/Chavs-favourite-Blair-gift-to-Bush.html

And this from the BBC mentions the gifts from Bush's State visit in 2003:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/3279581.stm
relevant bit: "The White House tells us that President Bush has given the Queen some gifts. Two silver platters and a porcelain bowl. Apparently the Queen gave Mr Bush a sterling silver ruler engraved with the names of past US presidents, a book about the Crown Jewels and a jewel box."

Which compares to the article you quote: "In return, the Queen gave the President a silver framed signed photograph of herself and the Duke of Edinburgh - apparently a standard present for visiting dignitaries."

You know what, I think both sides are just going through the motions here. Goldberg's prank post over at the corner had me going for a second, which I guess is its point.

But why is this getting so much attention?

Posted by: Eric Blair at April 1, 2009 12:23 PM

I saw this story this morning and couldn't believe this couple could have so little class. My son said, "they need 'knife and fork' school, a school to teach social graces, protocol, and good manners to new officers in the Navy.

Next we'll hear the iPod was loaded with Rap and Heavy Metal or something along with the trip pics.

And yes, it is getting embarrassing. Even the most backwoods hillbilly wouldn't be as crass and unclassy as these two nitwits.

Posted by: Sara (Pal2Pal) at April 1, 2009 12:46 PM

Heavens! What's next? Giving Her Majesty an unsolicated massage?

Posted by: Adam at April 1, 2009 1:15 PM

Heavens! What's next? Giving Her Majesty an unsolicited massage?

Posted by: Adam at April 1, 2009 1:15 PM

I expect to see a nice earmark for BestBuy in the near future. They're obviously cutting Bama some sweet deals.

Posted by: djaces at April 1, 2009 1:40 PM

bronze statuette “High Desert Princess” with a personal inscription on the bottom of the base. It is a replica of the original life size statue that is located in front of the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Ft. Worth, Texas.

that's class.

Posted by: albertcamus at April 1, 2009 1:43 PM

Is there a reason why you deliberately omitted mention of the rare Richard Rogers song book, autographed by Rogers, that the Obamas also gave to the Queen? Oh yeah, that doesn't conform to your thesis, so it must be ignored. LOL. The dishonesty here is breathtaking.

Posted by: Booster at April 1, 2009 2:30 PM

Why is the rest of the gift being left out of the equation? The rare signed songbook from the Queens favorite American composer Richard Rodgers? Does it not fit the hillbilly meme?

Posted by: tinat at April 1, 2009 2:41 PM

"Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged."

If this is the case, how in the world do you get beyond the posts for this blog?

Posted by: Jeff Huffman at April 1, 2009 2:58 PM

Updated the item to reflect the later update at the Telegraph.

Posted by: vanderleun at April 1, 2009 4:16 PM

This 'analysis' is laughable on its face.

ALL gifts to heads-of-state are 'inscribed' by the office of protocol. These are not 'deep, personal' musings - they are fluffy, flowery innocuous statements, with the commemoration date. The description of 'personally inscribed' is just p.r. words.

So:

President and Mrs. Bush gave the royal couple:

- a bronzed (not 'bronze') statuette (read: miniature) replica of a statue in front of the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Ft. Worth, Texas. This is a cheap tchotchke and a pretty light 'gift'. Yee-haw!

- an 'exclusive' sterling silver eagle box by Tiffany & Co. with personal inscription on the inside lid. Of course, Tiffany & Co. have been supplying these boxes to the White House for centuries. Its one one Tiffany's biggest promotional points of honor. These "eagle boxes" - which are small cigarette-box-style containers with the American Eagle etched on the lid - are given to most every head of state. Usually, there are, y'know, things *inside* of them, so they don't get counted as part of the 'gift' itself.

-a leather presentation box (again, elevating the plain old available-anywhere *container* to a higher lever) filled with *paper replicas* of documents that are stored in the National Archives. Any one of which could be downloaded off the 'net for exactly the same value - they are just replicas.

- photos from previous royal visits and a DVD of the footage from the Queen’s visit to the United States when she was Princess Elizabeth in 1951. I'm sure she didn't have access to any of that.

Guess what?

The Obamas - who also gave her video of a previous visit, albeit in 'modern', digital media, outdid those gifts in one fell swoop: with a very-rare Richard Rogers song book, autographed by Rogers (also extremely rare), who the Queen had stated was her favorite American songwriter. The iPod was simply the media on which the digital visit footage was stored.

Absolutely laughable double-standards here. But I'm pretty sure y'all already knew that. Unless you actually believe that the Queen - who I admit is probably 'difficult' to shop for (what to you get the monarch who already has everything?) - will treasure and appreciate her li'l Cowgirl Statuette more than the songbook. Because market-value-wise AND 'personal touch'-wise... the Obamas have already far outclassed W. in gifting.

Posted by: Jerry G at April 1, 2009 4:35 PM

Right. One iPod (Probably with Hail to the Chief at the top of the play list -- Ooops that was meant to be God Save the Queen by The Sex Pistols) plus one signed book of song. Yup, Jerry, your taste really is all in your mouth.

Posted by: vanderleun at April 1, 2009 5:11 PM

At least he didn't give her a shoulder rub.

Posted by: Xanthippas at April 1, 2009 5:28 PM

Wow, Vanderleun, that's amazing!

A reductionist & simplistic "summary" of a full analysis manages to glibly "reverse" my point?

What a high level of discourse you engender!

No wonder you have no taste and no class.

Posted by: Jerry G at April 1, 2009 5:47 PM

Actually, it could have been worse. The original plan was to present her with a bust of Al Sharpton.

Posted by: Gagdad Bob at April 1, 2009 6:02 PM

Well, the gifts are equally dotty on both sides.I liked the Walmart coupon idea.The Rogers song book was an uncharacteristic brainwave.LOL. This is Jane from Israeli Uncensored News

Posted by: Jane at April 1, 2009 6:24 PM

Now, now Jerry, that's enough of neener, neener. You must be young, very young, in mind if not in body. You aren't here to make a point, only for display.

High marks for discourse and engender though.

Posted by: vanderleun at April 1, 2009 6:28 PM

Hey racist rubes, he also gave her a rare Rodgers and Hammerstein songbook. And as for the "class" of George W. Bush, how quickly we forget:
http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,21691374-5006003,00.html

Oh, and at least Obama will be classy enough not to massage/molest Angela Merkel like Bush did.

Sorry, folks, as much as you want to hate him, Obama's not as clumsy as his predecessor.

Posted by: Gramsci at April 1, 2009 6:32 PM

Gee, Gerard. Looks like you've been assigned your own stop on the angry mob bus tour.

Congratulations. You must be doing it right.

Posted by: TmjUtah at April 1, 2009 6:33 PM

Dear Gramsci,

When you write
"Hey racist rubes, he also gave her a rare Rodgers and Hammerstein songbook."

This indicates you are winging in from elsewhere and have not actually read the item as it currently exists.

Please do so before you beclown yourself further.

As for "massage/molest" please do not project your schoolyard fantasies any further. Thank you.

Posted by: vanderleun at April 1, 2009 6:35 PM

Attention Wolcottdunkies: In case you failed to read the above, I repeat:
==
Note: Extra special blather and spew in the comments brought to you by "The King of the Combovers," barren James Wolcott. A man whose scribblings betray an unusual collection of obsessions involving cats, ballet, urination, and excretion. His little minions seem to follow suit. I note, however, that the minions seem to be substantially fewer than they once were. Traffic down, old pip? It must be getting harder to fill Andrew Sullivan's slot. Or perhaps not.
===

Posted by: vanderleun at April 1, 2009 6:49 PM

Do you mean Baron? You are a Morren.

Posted by: Jeff at April 1, 2009 7:08 PM

I'm afraid, Vanderleun, with you, the "neener, neener" opportunities never end! You own 'displays' couldn't possibly leave yourself more open for further 'point'-making....

"Which does "upgrade" the gift. I look forward to learning more about the hit tunes in the signed songbook."

- If you aren't familiar with Rodgers & Hammerstein (and your misplaced smarmy use of "hit tunes" certainly suggests that you are not,) then I imagine that I'm actually much older than you, child.

- If you want to use Jonah Goldberg's "April Fools" piece from the National Review site as an official 'citation', you go right ahead! It underlines the desperation of your scribblings.

- The fact that you make sport of that satirical writer's combover, but call the caricature - with *more* baldness and a more absurd combover - the "ideal"... well, that just goes to prove that you aren't mature or intelligent enough to wield "satire". You just come off like a boy wearing daddy's suit.

This thread is, simply, the bee's knees of childish churl!! Thank you for making this so *easy*!
Yaaaaayyyy, Vanderleun!!


Posted by: Jerry G at April 1, 2009 7:15 PM

I'm afraid, Vanderleun, with you, the "neener, neener" opportunities never end! You own 'displays' couldn't possibly leave yourself more open for further 'point'-making....

"Which does "upgrade" the gift. I look forward to learning more about the hit tunes in the signed songbook."

- If you aren't familiar with Rodgers & Hammerstein (and your misplaced smarmy use of "hit tunes" certainly suggests that you are not,) then I imagine that I'm actually much older than you, child.

- If you want to use Jonah Goldberg's "April Fools" piece from the National Review site as an official 'citation', you go right ahead! It underlines the desperation of your scribblings.

- The fact that you make sport of that satirical writer's combover, but call the caricature - with *more* baldness and a more absurd combover - the "ideal"... well, that just goes to prove that you aren't mature or intelligent enough to wield "satire". You just come off like a boy wearing daddy's suit.

This thread is, simply, the bee's knees of childish churl!! Thank you for making this so *easy*!
Yaaaaayyyy, Vanderleun!!


Posted by: Jerry G at April 1, 2009 7:16 PM

Please be articulate. I beg you!

Posted by: Eman at April 1, 2009 7:20 PM

Jerry, your mother must be so proud.

Posted by: unkawill at April 1, 2009 8:36 PM

Ah, Jerry, you are the living embodiment of ye olde French saying: "Les chiens ne comprennent pas des plaisanteries."

Posted by: vanderleun at April 1, 2009 8:46 PM

For those gone crazy because no one mentions the signed Rodgers song book, you're right in that caustic verbage is being spent on the gift of the Ipod at the price of the Presidents gift giving skills. This only means the gift sucked only half as bad as the gifts given to the Prime Minister.

Posted by: David McKinnis at April 1, 2009 9:10 PM

Gerard,

I see someone hotlinked you at Kos, or a preschool, or something. Great fun.

Think of the spittle-soaked monitors out there....

Posted by: Rob De Witt at April 1, 2009 10:06 PM

My understanding is the iPod not only contained pictures of the Queen's last visit to the States, it also had pictures from O-Hole's inauguration, as well as video of his 2004 DNC speech and his inaugural address. Lest the Queen get all uppity and forget who it's all about. This guy isn't a moron. He's deliberately insulting the nation that single-handedly ended the Atlantic slave trade. What a putz.

Posted by: Velociman at April 2, 2009 3:54 AM

What I find amusing is that you consider Bush's gift "tasteful." I was already aware that Bush had the vapid taste in art befitting an American conservative, but to give such a god-awful monstrosity to the Queen of England, whose whole life is spent surrounded by luxury and class is simply insulting.
I cannot speak for the Queen, but I would much rather have something personalized for me by the First Couple than a tacky cowboy sculpture. Bush's gift only perpetuates all the very worst stereotypes of Americans.

Posted by: sf99 at April 2, 2009 6:54 AM

You mean statues celebrating strong and independent American women as opposed to an electronic device and a book about musical comedies? You reveal more about yourself than President Bush.

Posted by: vanderleun at April 2, 2009 8:33 AM

sf99

If the original of that bronze were executed with equal skill and craft, but portrayed a politically acceptable image, say a boy and his "two mommies", would you be as critical of the gift?

Many years ago I heard a statement from a professor that has proved a reliable benchmark in evaluating "art": All 'artistic' endeavor is essentially craft. Occasionally, very occasionally, the craftsman can transcend himself and produce art.

I don't know whether that piece is art - but it certainly should not be dismissed as a "tacky cowboy sculpture". It certainly communicated something of the American heritage and character, and perhaps something of the origin aspirations of the giver (the former First Lady, in this case).

sf99, your post only perpetuates all the very worst stereotypes of America's cultural "elite".

Posted by: BobK at April 2, 2009 8:39 AM

Oops! "origin AND aspirations"

Posted by: BobK at April 2, 2009 8:42 AM

That's not much of a combover on Wolcott, though we're unlikely to notice as he wears a crown (if he is, indeed, the "king" of combovers).
Calling the Obamas "tacky" makes for exceedingly thin gruel. Funny how NPR harped on the same issue this morning. Thank goodness the financial crisis is over.

Posted by: Jay Schiavone at April 2, 2009 9:40 AM

According to Newseek, the Obama Administration does not have a protocol officer and was unaware the State Department has such people available.

Hillary is fiendish, isn't she?

Posted by: Mikey NTH at April 2, 2009 11:18 AM

Wow, guess you really nailed them now! And you, sir, could not carry Mr. Wolcott's jockstrap, let alone be a better writer. Oh,yes, let's pick on the man's physical appearance, because that is so germane to his abilities. Mr. Popper, you have demonstrated your ignorance to a vast audience now. Mission accomplished!

Posted by: Xenocrates at April 2, 2009 11:19 AM

"Mr. Wolcott's jockstrap"...heh...perhaps "manzere" would be more fitting...
In the meantime, this line "I was already aware that Bush had the vapid taste in art befitting an American conservative" captures the essence of the left's 'smarter than you' mentality. At least President Bush gave the Queen some things that represent the American spirit, as well as tie in the historic relationship that our two countries have, as well as the personal relationship that this Queen and her family has with our Nation.
Go home trolls.

Posted by: UncleJefe at April 2, 2009 11:50 AM

Dear Xeno,
I'll leave it to you to carry Wolcott's jockstrap since you seem so keen on it and since I know he would enjoy it so much, especially if he was in it at the time.

I would not pick on Wolcott the Hut's appearance except that it so accurately represents the state of his soul - flabby, blotchy, and pullulating with excrement. Hard to ignore.

Posted by: vanderleun at April 2, 2009 12:16 PM

I'm proud of the Obamas for putting that tired old monarchy in it's place as any good American ought to do.

Posted by: Boronx at April 2, 2009 2:38 PM

OK, Boronx. Are you referring to the head of state or to the country that boasts that head of state?

If the former, compare and contrast Elizabeth II and Barack Hussein Obama and I think my point is made.

If referring to the country, will you kindly remember that the country you are insulting is the one that with little support held at bay the worst monster the world has ever seen, while America (with less than a double handful of honourable exceptions) sat on its collective arse?

Of course, this is the same country that birthed your gang of ungrateful barbarians. And created the world's largest democracy. And had effectively democratic government two hundred years before your country existed.

Posted by: Fletcher Christian at April 2, 2009 3:10 PM

We've seen the kettle; now show us the pot. Since ridicule of Wolcott's physical appearance is part of your ad hominem, could we get an unretouched pic of you? Didn't think so.

Posted by: winfernal at April 2, 2009 3:29 PM

Sure thing. Much better looking. Better sense of fashion. Taller and slimmer too. PS: Under the hat a full head of hair.

In the Keys, Florida 2009

And, sans beard, With hotter babes as well.

Posted by: vanderleun at April 2, 2009 4:23 PM

Hey! That wasn't just any iPod! It was loaded with his speeches like the one from the '04 convention! "Some of my greatest moments" I think it was called.

Posted by: Lucy at April 2, 2009 4:28 PM

Actually, you're right. You are much better looking. Much. I'm impressed. If you were gay I'd hunt you down.

I'd even give up my crush on Wolcott as my bear daddy, but alas I'll have to stick with him.

Posted by: winfernal at April 2, 2009 5:14 PM

Not to grind England into the mud, of course, but the special relationship ain't exactly fair and balanced.

I have to take it back since the thoughtless twerp who chose the IPod for a gift was the Queen Elizabeth.

Posted by: Boronx at April 2, 2009 10:04 PM

This article is a bunch of rubbish! The queen of England specifically asked Obama for an Ipod, but who really cares?? Why not report on the G20 summit you wingnuts!!!!

Posted by: Yasuko at April 3, 2009 11:29 AM

You mean nobody's doing that?
G20 reportings not so fat?

Who knew?
Here's a clue.

See that search slot at the top?
Search "G20." See a lot.


Posted by: vanderleun at April 3, 2009 12:00 PM

I must admit that I am unable to read and comprehend the simple rule: " COMMENTS THAT EXCEED THE OBSCENITY OR STUPIDITY LIMITS WILL BE EITHER EDITED OR EXPUNGED."

Does "edited" mean you can change them at will?

Does expunged mean what I say here might be deleted?

Please clarify.

Posted by: winfernal at April 4, 2009 1:46 PM

This article is a bunch of rubbish! The queen of England specifically asked Obama for an Ipod, but who really cares?? Why not report on the G20 summit you wingnuts!!!!

Posted by: at March 3, 2011 5:07 PM

If this is the case, how in the world do you get beyond the posts for this blog? "Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged."

Posted by: Johnson at November 4, 2012 3:40 PM
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