Now Liberals Are Worried About Offending Our Allies
Now that the savior of the crumbling Salt Lake City Olympics and presumptive Republican presidential nominee has passed through London, liberals are suddenly horrified at the prospect of a U.S. president treating the British shabbily.
The left has moved on from lamenting Mitt Romney’s stay in Great Britain to trashing his trip to Israel, but I’m not done with London yet.
At the start of his visit to attend the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics last week, Romney casually noted to Brian Williams that some aspects of Great Britain’s lack of preparations were a bit “disconcerting.”
This probably had something to do with the fact that the security firm contracted to oversee the Olympics didn’t supply enough workers, which forced the British military to supplement these with several thousand troops in order to prevent chaos from breaking out. Also, British immigration officials had threatened a disruptive strike during the Olympics, which they didn’t call off until two days before the opening ceremonies.
Also, organizers posted welcome signs in nonsensical mistranslated Arabic and designed a swimming pool that prevented spectators from seeing the divers. The London Olympic committee displayed South Korea’s flag instead of North Korea’s on stadium screens and scoreboards, prompting offended team members to walk off the field.
Also, London cops lost the keys to Wembley Stadium.
In response to Romney’s comment, left-wing UK papers branded him “Mitt the Twit.”
Isn’t it natural that a man who left his lucrative career in capital management to work 16-hour-days for little pay to rescue the Olympics might have an opinion on how other cities run theirs? Even Brits have been complaining endlessly about the London Olympics since at least 2008.
But no—Romney was uncouth, ungracious, incapable of showing respect to an American ally.
• One month in, Obama unceremoniously disposed of the bust of Winston Churchill that Tony Blair had given President Bush after 9/11 as a sign of solidarity. Obama’s gesture was interpreted as a slap in the face by Brits and a symbolic rejection of the special relationship between the U.S. and the UK.
• A month later, Obama refused to give Prime Minister Gordon Brown a proper welcome upon his first visit to the White House under its new occupant. A State Department staff member later sniped, “There’s nothing special about Britain. You’re just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn’t expect special treatment.”
• During that trip, Brown gave Obama a desk set made out of timber from an anti-slave ship whose sister vessel was used to craft the Oval Office’s Resolute Desk. In return, Obama tossed Brown a box of DVDs of such films as E.T. and The Graduate—discs that were unreadable by Region 2 UK DVD players.
• In April 2009, Obama gifted the Queen with an iPod clogged with his inauguration snapshots and boring speeches. The Queen reportedly already had an iPod, presumably loaded with pictures of people she was actually fond of and audio files she intended to play at least once.
• In January 2011, Obama told French President Nicolas Sarkozy that France was “our strongest ally.” This, just after a seven-year stint in which the British lost hundreds of soldiers while aiding the U.S. in Iraq, and in which France lost not one.
• In May 2011, Obama toasted the Queen at Buckingham Palace, then continued blathering while the band struck up ‘God Save the Queen,’ leaving confused attendees to put down their glasses without drinking.
• Also on that trip, Obama offended British scientists by refusing to accept the Royal Society’s King Charles II medal for research he had funded in the U.S. Obama chose instead to play ping-pong with students at an inner-city school in South London.
• Last month, Obama publicly referred to the Falkland Islands as “the Maldives,” in a failed attempt to use the Argentineans’ name (Malvinas) for the island chain. Obama intentionally disrespected Brits by implying that this long-held UK territory was the rightful property of Argentina.
This clumsy string of embarrassments reflects shocking disrespect toward the U.S.’s greatest ally and a stunning ignorance of foreign protocol. In this context, Mitt’s indiscretion resembles suave flirtation.
But according to the Daily Kos, it was Romney stumbling around looking like an “ass” and a “buffoon.” Jonathan Chait argues that Romney’s gaffe “dwarfs” all of Obama’s three years of “pseudo-controversies” put together.
Romney’s rescuing the nearly-insolvent 2002 Winter Olympics was the single most uncontroversial, impressive accomplishment of his career. In a new ad from the Super-PAC Restore Our Future, gold medal-winning athletes in attendance in 2002 congregate to sing his praises.
Liberals couldn’t care less about offending genuine U.S. allies like Great Britain and Israel. Having mischaracterized Romney’s governorship of Massachusetts and slandered his tenure at Bain Capital, they’re merely using the Brits to taint by association Romney’s final remaining uncontested accomplishment.