President Barack Obama hosted a visited from British Prime Minister Gordon Brown last Tuesday at the White House. PM Brown arrived bearing thoughtful gifts of historical significance for the freshly minted American President. The gifts from the Prime Minister to the President include a pen holder that was made of timber from the HMS Gannet, a British Navy ship that ran anti-slavery missions off the coast of Africa. It matches the desk which currently sits in the Oval Office. The desk was given to President Rutherford Hayes by Queen Victoria and is made from the wood of a sister ship.
According to FoxNews.com,
Another treasure given to Obama is a framed commissioning paper for HMS Resolute, a Royal Navy ship that came to symbolize British-American goodwill when it was rescued by the U.S. from icebergs and given to Queen Victoria. It is the sister ship of the HMS Gannet.
Finally, Brown gave Obama a first edition of Martin Gilbert’s seven-volume biography of Winston Churchill, whose World War II partnership with President Franklin Roosevelt symbolized the U.S.-Anglo alliance.
And what did the American President give to the British Prime Minister? A set of 25 movie DVDs. The list of the movies is a closely held secret, but is rumored to include ET, Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz.
The Times OnLine opined that Michelle Obama also demonstrated a “gift for the gaffe.” The Prime Minister’s wife, Sarah Brown, the mother of boys, brought gifts for the Obama daughters Malia and Sasha which she had picked out especially for them. The little girls were give “Top Shop dresses (with matching necklaces) and a selection of books by British authors.”
Mrs. Obama gave the Brown boys, Fraser and John, two toy models of Marine One, the Presidential helicopter. According to the Times OnLine:
It’s not as though anyone needs reminding that Barack Obama is President or that he has his own helicopter. Short of giving the boys Action Man models of her own husband smiting the evil forces of neoconservatism, Mrs Obama’s gesture could not have been more solipsistic or more inherently dismissive of Mrs Brown.
Some media pundits are actually lauding the Obamas for their display of thrift in harsh economic times. Accepting this explanation requires overlooking the Wagyu beef (costing as much as $100 a pound) served by the Obamas as recently as last week at the White House governors dinner, not to mention the President’s weird mission to turn the United States into a classless society by destroying all of the wealth through wreckless spending of the nation’s treasure. Even granting that the First Couple believes it is a virtue to use fiscal restraint when exchanging gifts with the leader of our country’s staunchest ally, the world’s classiest couple did not demonstrate that they are capable of putting any thoughtfulness behind the gesture.