Sunday, March 28, 2010


The Best-Evah ideer on how to improve the Obama administration comes from Blog-Bud Moogie who was ruminating about The One's latest foreign policy no-no:
The accounts of the Obama-Netanyahu Close Encounter are downright embarrassing.

I can just hear my mother's voice, scolding the Young President for his wretchedly poor display of how NOT to host a world leader at the White House.


Maybe that's the solution to the Obama bad-manners department -- we need a corps of strong Southern Mothers to move into the White House to "shake a knot" onto the Young President's head and to teach him some rudimentary etiquette.
Heh.  Moogie has a very valid point.  She brought to mind both my Mom and my grandmother, two Southern Belles to whom good manners and comportment were the very essence of civilization.  It's obvious The One was raised differently; most Liberals are, nowadays.


  1. While watching PBS the other night there was a special on Dolly Madison. There was a bit about how President Jefferson greeted some dignitary from England while wearing his bathrobe and slippers. The Brit was highly offended, but Jefferson was trying to show that Americans were not like the Brits with their aristocratic etiquette and all that stuff. Still, diplomacy is important.

  2. I'm appalled at some of the stunts he's pulled in the etiquette department. A gift of DVDs to one (was it England's PM?), bowing to an Asian diplomat, now this. I'm sure there are more, those are the ones I heard of. Doesn't he have a social secretary to tell him how to act?

  3. I really hope that's not true. Rolling out to greet someone in a bathrobe is a tad pathetic. Surely it should be about affording respect and courtesy in the position you are in to those in a similar position. So Jefferson didn't like the British or our system of government, what's new. The point is surely that if you want to get things done in these roles you create an atmosphere of some mutual respect just as you do in any business meeting. Protocol is hugely important. And manners should just be a given.

    I have had zero respect for Obama since his general demeanour to our Queen, and above all after he pointedly sent back the bust of Churchill. What he did to Netanyahu was equally childish and given the situation quite dangerous. It doesn't befit the role of president of the United States.

    It's been beyond sad to read the British papers this weekend and more talk of the binning of the 'special relationship'. I've long thought that was about to go down the toilet. I suspect Hilary Clinton's actions have pushed that further along. It's sad that the English speaking world which shares so much in common doesn't have any kind of future anymore. Sadder yet that he chooses this kind of a game with Israel. I cannot see how that is a good thing at all.

  4. So true, Buck, kids are being raised today to have no respect for anyone, to expect a handout, and to do whatever it takes to "get their fair share", whatever that is. My mama would have probably knocked me silly if I acted like they do on MTV - or like the kid wait service in the local restaurants.

  5. Hi Buck -

    Ok, I'll ring in on this one, too. Despite my joke about the lib-detector, I usually find that I'm in a sort of limbo, where liberals think I'm conservative and conservatives think I'm liberal. As I've said in my posts, I suppose that all depends on the issue and, besides, I find those labels unhelpful and limiting.

    On the other hand, here's how this issue is playing in the Israeli press. (Ha'aretz, Jerusalem Post, YNet News) To summarize, Netanyahu asked for and deserved most of what he got. Essentially, his administration flipped the bird at their biggest benefactor by announcing new construction in E. Jerusalem during Biden's visit. and Netanyahu himself is being chided for not handling the matter more privately. The Israelis seem annoyed, but not surprised or outraged.

    We have a compelling need, both political and military, to cultivate Arab sympathy right now, in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. The Palestine issue is a key to that. First, because our enemies use it against us: we support Israel against their "Palestinian brothers." Second, for all the Arab world's talk about Palestinian freedom, most of these countries have a fair population of Palestinian expats whom they would like to go away. A Palestinian state would help them there. So there's that, too.

    It seems, under the circumstances, any American president would have needed to b**** slap Netanyahu. Even the Israeli press seems to recognize this, and faults Bibi himself for not avoiding it.

    The way this has been reported over here, you'd think Obama did something childish, while, over there, the Israelis seem to think Netanyahu should have anticipated a very cold response to a visit and not made one at this time.

    Seems to me this is not a question of manners, but statecraft, and the statecraft here is about what should have been expected.

    For the record, I'm not a fan of the current administration, though likely for different reasons. Sorry for such a long comment. Anyways, thoughts?

  6. P.S. Here's a sample of Israeli reaction from Ha'aretz.

    ...The messages coming to the White House from Riyadh and Amman, then, were starkly clear: If you don't rein in your Israeli friends, Tehran won't be the only Middle East capital where American flags will burn.

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates has decisively supported General David Petraeus, the first American military man in years to describe Israel as a strategic burden on the U.S. Gates said America's rivals in the Middle East are abusing the standstill of the political process between Israel and the Arabs. He stressed that he had no doubt a lack of peace in the region was influencing American interests there.

    Netanyahu had been hoping to buy time until November's Congressional elections, which coincide with the deadline he set for the settlement freeze. But with America's strategic interest on the line, Bibi's favorite political game (playing the Jewish community and Congress against the White House and the State Department) isn't working anymore. Obama decided his moderate Middle East coalition is more important than Netanyahu's extremist one.

    The people he supposedly offended so badly seem to be taking it well.

  7. You're quoting Israel's leading LEFT-wing newspaper, Cricket. From The Wiki:

    The Nation describes Haaretz as "Israel's liberal beacon," citing its editorials voicing opposition to the occupation, the security barrier, discriminatory treatment of Arab citizens, and the mindset that led to the Second Lebanon War.[6]

    I keep odd hours and usually sleep in; today is no exception. Consider this an interim reply until I'm fully caffeinated and can read some other Israeli sources, like The Jerusalem Post. Bibi is a hardliner and the Israeli electorate is split almost along the same lines as ours, i.e., 50-50 conservative/liberal. I've read elsewhere that Obama would MUCH prefer a liberal Israeli government. Gee, I wonder why? But... interim reply.

    Alison: I read the bits you're referencing about the demise of the "special relationship." Once again: ALL credit to The One. Dubya seemed to be able to get along pretty well with Blair, despite their political differences in most other areas, other than the nature of the threat we face. The One? Not so much. What a twit.

    Lou: Thanks for the Jefferson anecdote.

    Jenny: Yeah, The One gifted Gordon Brown with NTSC DVDs that won't play on British systems... just like his foreign policy doesn't play in most of the world.

    Staci: Agreed!

  8. Take your time. I know well the need for coffee :-)

    Even in the Jerusalem Post, though: this guy is fairly apoplectic

    This one less so:

    Today's headline here: critical, but not outraged.

    From ynet, somewhat in between:,7340,L-3869314,00.html

    I don't know. It seems to me that they're more concerned with policy than etiquette, overall. Also, as a student of ancient history and Scripture, I have a feeling that anything you do in the Middle East is probably wrong, since they've been at constant war over there for, um... almost all of recorded history.

    Afghanistan is an unfortunate but unavoidable choice. In Iraq, however, the decision to ignore Gen. Shinseki has caused no end of problems - including, at least in part, this one.

  9. Thanks for the links, Cricket. The best bit I've read so far today is Editor's Notes in Friday's JPost. That said, I liked the first link you posted. I also agree with you that the issue isn't the optics of a snub, but the foreign policy implications.

    All of this (the alleged snub) would be a tempest in a teapot were it not for the very visible tilt of American foreign policy towards the Palestinians, not to mention our efforts to cozy up to Syria and other unsavory elements in the Mid-East. Well, check that... I feel they're ALL unsavory in that part of the world, with the exception of Israel. Israel has been a true friend of the United States since its founding, and vice-versa... for the most part. The only other friend we had in the region... and that would be Turkey... has turned against us largely due to our foreign policy ineptitude. But that's another subject, innit?

    Well. I'm done with the subject for the moment and need to get off this danged computer and get into Real Life. There's stuff to be done!

  10. Down South, the phrase one might hear goes something like this:

    "Poor thang, he just weren't raised right."


Just be polite... that's all I ask.