Saturday, May 28, 2011

Travelin’ man

Pawlenty tweetEarlier this week, Tim “Mr. Charisma” Pawlenty let out his inner mean girl and posted this snarky tweet. A few of us decided to respond. My tweet was something like “So if you become President (haha), are you going to forgo all diplomatic trips? Quit being a dick, okay?”

Yeah, I said it.

I’ve seen other comments here and there about President Obama’s recent European trip, saying that he’s just out having fun, spending money, blahbittyblahblah. Cut the bullshit, people. He’s the President of the United States of America. He does diplomacy and junk, okay? Let’s look at his 6-day schedule, shall we?

Monday: A meeting with the Irish president and prime minister. A visit to the village where his great-great-great grandfather lived. A pint of Guinness. A speech in Dublin about Irish-American ties.

Tuesday: Off to London for lunch with Queen Elizabeth. Laying a wreath at Westminster Abbey at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior, an important part of every state visit to the U.K. Attending a state dinner hosted by the queen at Buckingham Palace.

Wednesday: A meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron, followed by a news conference with the PM. A speech to Parliament. Hosting a dinner for the queen at the home of the U.S. Ambassador to Britain.

Thursday: Off to Deauville, France, for a G8 meeting. A major topic included how this group of the world’s top economies can assist countries in the Middle East and Africa that are experiencing the birthing pains of democracy. A meeting with Russian President Medvedev.

Friday: More G8 meetings. A meeting with French President Sarkozy and Japanese Prime Minister Kan, then travel to Warsaw. Dinner with several leaders of Central and Eastern European countries.

Saturday: A meeting with Polish President Komorowski, lunch with Prime Minister Tusk, followed by a news conference with the PM. Visits to several cultural sites, including the laying of a wreath at the Warsaw Ghetto, where so many freedom fighters fought and died during WWII.

So, Pawlenty...what did YOU do this past week?

Obama and MedvedevHas President Obama traveled overseas more than any other recent President? Yes, slightly more than Bush the Elder. Not an outrageous amount. If you recall, he also had plenty of ground to make up, considering that Bush the Younger left our overseas relations in a shambles. (We really weren’t very well-liked for some time. Remember that?) This is part of what the President does. He meets with foreign heads of state, both abroad and at home, and fosters good will while discussing policy. Many scoffed at his quaffing of a pint in Dublin, but he was very well-received in Ireland and generated a lot of good will.

Many also seem to take issue at the state dinners that take place at the White House. I get the impression that people think that when President Hu and his wife pop in from China, they should all just get together for fried baloney sandwiches and Pringles. That would save the taxpayers some money, right?!

I remember having a “discussion” with my Dad, who thought it was ridiculous that President Obama took Air Force One everywhere. I said, “Dad...he’s the President. He can’t just fly coach. There are security concerns.” He did seem to concede the point, but I have noticed much more outrage over President Obama’s travels than I noticed in any other Presidency. I don’t recall anyone complaining about George H. W. Bush’s Japan trip in 1994...except maybe for the Japanese Prime Minister who got puked on. (You’ll all be glad to know that I censored myself and did not include a link to the video. I DO respect the Presidency, and President Bush was very ill. I really don’t laugh at that.)

But really, folks. Get a grip and stop criticizing the President for doing part of his job: diplomacy. You can criticize him for his policies, but his overseas trips are vital to our relationships around the world, both those that have been solid for years (the British) and those that are newer and perhaps somewhat shaky (the Chinese). This is just nitpicking bullshit, and Pawlenty’s snarkiness showed him to be puerile, petty, and pandering to the teabaggers who automatically hate anything Obama does. Definitely less than presidential.


  1. I see a lot of the criticism of President Obama going overseas as veiled racism draped in the flag. But that is me...

  2. Nice post. And don't forget, it seemed as though W. was always on vacation at his ranch. No diplomacy going on there, unless it was with the Republic of Texas.

  3. Gawd, can you imagine Palindrome representing us overseas. I could just see her come out of the ladies room and announce: "I couldn't find the gosh darned flush thingy! Everything's so darn different over here!"

  4. I agree with Mark - much of this stems from racism.

    Doesn't President Obama know he shouldn't get all uppity and fly overseas?? He should be riding on the back of a bus somewhere - and ONLY after he got permission from the Bossman.

  5. We haven't been liked overseas since Clinton's presidency. In the years since, I have taken solace in the fact that when I travel outside of the US, local people often think I'm anything but from the US. I stopped arguing with them.

  6. Where's Obama's Medicare plan?!?

    I seem to remember Congress passing something in 2010... In March. Something related to health care and repairing a crumbling Medicare system among other things.

    Hmm... It must not have gotten much media attention.

    Pawlenty's just jealous because his bible-thumping constituents would pop a gasket if he ever was photographed having an adult beverage in public.

  7. Beth,
    Sometimes i just want to sit next to you and listen to you comment about stuff like this. I will even bring the coffee.
    You and your comments hit everything square in the jaw. Thank you for being a bit of a Democrat and for defending the President of our United States.
    Bill Hoover (Facebook)

  8. This certainly is going to be a fun primary season, watching the republicans disintegrate.

  9. An email from Sybil (comments don't seem to be working for her) in the U.K. I DID forget to mention the BBQ at the PM's residence, and Sybil added some details I hadn't heard. Thank you, Sybil!

    I agree with Bill (Hoover) how I woudl just love to be sitting by you as you discuss the going's on's I sut here and with a smile on my face and a nod of my head !!!!

    We enjoyed the Presidents visit very forgot to mention he also had a BBQ in the garden of No. 10..when quite a few US soldiers as well as Brits were invited, he was helping David Cameron do the sausages I think..the "wives" were on the salad table !!

    Sending good vibes your way.
    Sybil x

  10. Your last paragraph was perfect.
    I shout "tell it, sister!"

  11. When a white man does it, it's diplomacy.
    When a black man does it, it's vacation.
    PS Loved your Tweet to Pawlenty!!


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