Obama disses Brit PM

The press does not seem happy with the way President Obama treated Prime Minister Brown during his short visit to Washington, DC.  
Dana Milbank of the Washington Post noted that
Somewhere in the British Embassy, a bronze bust of Churchill was turning in its storage crate. 
British Prime ministers are just not treated this way by American presidents.  They are personally greeted at the airport. THey are treated to state dinners or overnights at Camp David. Their private meetings are always followed by a long joint press conference in which members of each nation's press get to question both heads of state at length.  If Milbank is a bit sour, his British counterpart left scorch marks. Alex Massie of the Spectator wrote .
Obama is not on the campaign trail any longer but his press strategy does not seem to have switched to governing mode yet.

Indeed, for a President who wants to "renew" America's relationship with the rest of the world, Obama is strikingly reluctant to actually, you know, speak to the rest of the world.

That's not quite true. I'm sure he'd happily address any governing body that extended an invitation.  What he is reluctant to do is take any tough or unexpected questions of the press. Too bad.  Many of us were looking forward to seeing Obama how might cope at a press conference the company of a British Prime Minister used to taking tough questions from member of parliament on a weekly basis without notes or TelePrompTer.   American politicians often look pretty clumsy next to a veteran of debates in the British Parliament and British journalists have a reputation for brutal questioning.  


In avoiding such a comparison Obama left many people unhappy.  He made Prime Minister Brown look foolish back home, something that will not be lost on other heads of state. The still overly deferential American press were disappointed not to witness the results of genuine presidential interaction with their far blunter British brethren.  When discussing how very strange Obama's actions had been, journalists reminisced about Bush's experience with British reporters at such events.   And the British press seems to think they know why it happened and it is something that usually gets their juices flowing.  They see an emotional weakness, perhaps even a bit of cowardice in the American President. The Telegraph's Washington correspondent,
Tim Shipman believes Obama has been running scared of the international media and their tough questions for a long time. 

He didn't give a single interview to a British outlet even when he was in the UK. This is very unusual, particularly from a man who so desperately wants to be loved on the world stage. We know we're not special, given Obama's general contempt for beat reporters (as opposed to his schmoozing with editors), but it is still peculiar.

As I read the British press, I recalled Inauguration day.  I couldn't bring myself to watch the coverage and had a movie channel on instead.    About the time Obama was taking the oath of office, Turner Classic Movies was running a seldom seen classic from 1957, A Face in the Crowd. When I saw the title, I suspected someone in programming at TCM has a particularly subversive sense of humor.  Starring Patricia Neal and introducing Andy Griffith, the movie is about a reporter who helps turn an unknown rustic charmer into a nationwide media and political sensation, falling in love with her creation along the way.  After romantic heartbreak, she comes to realize she has helped create a megalomaniacal demagogue, dangerously drunk on power.    


As the press watches a new president who is both politically ambitious in his aims yet curiously detached from the details, a control freak about his image who turns large portions of the agenda over to Congressional leader to fill in the all important blanks to then show up alone on the stage to sign the end result,  I have to wonder. Like Patricia Neal,  might the press be having deep reservations about what they have helped create?
  

The press does not seem happy with the way President Obama treated Prime Minister Brown during his short visit to Washington, DC.  
Dana Milbank of the Washington Post noted that
Somewhere in the British Embassy, a bronze bust of Churchill was turning in its storage crate. 
British Prime ministers are just not treated this way by American presidents.  They are personally greeted at the airport. THey are treated to state dinners or overnights at Camp David. Their private meetings are always followed by a long joint press conference in which members of each nation's press get to question both heads of state at length.  If Milbank is a bit sour, his British counterpart left scorch marks. Alex Massie of the Spectator wrote .
Obama is not on the campaign trail any longer but his press strategy does not seem to have switched to governing mode yet.

Indeed, for a President who wants to "renew" America's relationship with the rest of the world, Obama is strikingly reluctant to actually, you know, speak to the rest of the world.

That's not quite true. I'm sure he'd happily address any governing body that extended an invitation.  What he is reluctant to do is take any tough or unexpected questions of the press. Too bad.  Many of us were looking forward to seeing Obama how might cope at a press conference the company of a British Prime Minister used to taking tough questions from member of parliament on a weekly basis without notes or TelePrompTer.   American politicians often look pretty clumsy next to a veteran of debates in the British Parliament and British journalists have a reputation for brutal questioning.  


In avoiding such a comparison Obama left many people unhappy.  He made Prime Minister Brown look foolish back home, something that will not be lost on other heads of state. The still overly deferential American press were disappointed not to witness the results of genuine presidential interaction with their far blunter British brethren.  When discussing how very strange Obama's actions had been, journalists reminisced about Bush's experience with British reporters at such events.   And the British press seems to think they know why it happened and it is something that usually gets their juices flowing.  They see an emotional weakness, perhaps even a bit of cowardice in the American President. The Telegraph's Washington correspondent,
Tim Shipman believes Obama has been running scared of the international media and their tough questions for a long time. 

He didn't give a single interview to a British outlet even when he was in the UK. This is very unusual, particularly from a man who so desperately wants to be loved on the world stage. We know we're not special, given Obama's general contempt for beat reporters (as opposed to his schmoozing with editors), but it is still peculiar.

As I read the British press, I recalled Inauguration day.  I couldn't bring myself to watch the coverage and had a movie channel on instead.    About the time Obama was taking the oath of office, Turner Classic Movies was running a seldom seen classic from 1957, A Face in the Crowd. When I saw the title, I suspected someone in programming at TCM has a particularly subversive sense of humor.  Starring Patricia Neal and introducing Andy Griffith, the movie is about a reporter who helps turn an unknown rustic charmer into a nationwide media and political sensation, falling in love with her creation along the way.  After romantic heartbreak, she comes to realize she has helped create a megalomaniacal demagogue, dangerously drunk on power.    


As the press watches a new president who is both politically ambitious in his aims yet curiously detached from the details, a control freak about his image who turns large portions of the agenda over to Congressional leader to fill in the all important blanks to then show up alone on the stage to sign the end result,  I have to wonder. Like Patricia Neal,  might the press be having deep reservations about what they have helped create?