Anyone Else Remember the Five Chefs?

The Right has worked itself into a frenzy about the alleged outrage of the British public over the Obama visit. The Obamas gave the Queen an iPod! Michelle Obama touched Her Majesty for a couple of seconds! Oh Noez!

Avedon Carol, who actually lives in Britain, says bull. Eric Boehlert notes that all of this outrage seems to be coming from the Times of London, owned by (guess who?) Rupert Murdoch.

I seem to be the only one who remembers the 2003 state visit to Britain by President Bush. Very little about the visit is still online, but I found this:

TOO MANY COOKS SPOIL BUSH. Queen Elizabeth II reportedly was steamed when George W. Bush brought five personal chefs to Buckingham Palace, London’s Daily Telegraph reported. “She’s not thought to be [thrilled] about the whole visit anyway,” a snitch told the Telegraph, “but when you consider that she has excellent cooks herself, you can see why this would be taken as a bit of an insult.” Then it got worse, according to the Nov. 23 Daily Mirror: “The Queen is furious with Bush after his state visit caused thousands of pounds of damage to her gardens at Buckingham Palace … Palace staff said they had never seen the Queen so angry as when she saw how her perfectly-maintained lawns had been churned up after being turned into helipads with three giant H landing markings for the Bush visit. The rotors of the Marine Force One helicopter and 2 support Black Hawks damaged trees and shrubs that had survived since Queen Victoria’s reign. And Bush’s army of clod-hopping security service men trampled more precious and exotic plants.”

Here are some old posts from the Mahablog archives:

Travels With George (November 18, 2003)

Heavy Fish (November 22, 2003)

At the time, many still were hoping against hope that George W. Bush was a real POTUS. When he behaved badly, everyone pretended not to notice. So George W. Bush could be a five-alarm boor and trash the Queen’s plants, and it was all politely swept under the rug.

How times have changed. Leslie Savan writes at The Nation,

The real question about how Barack and Michelle Obama are being received on their Rolling-G-20-Summit/Euro-Tour ’09 has nothing to do with how the Europeans treat them, but all about the American mainstream media itself: What infinitesimal nit will they find to pick about the new president’s conduct abroad that can be blown up into a two- to three-day pseudo-international incident? …

… Turns out the Queen requested the video iPod the president gave her, and he filled it with footage of her American visits and 40 showtunes; he also presented her with a rare songbook signed by Richard Rodgers, the Broadway composer who wrote one of the Queen’s fave musicals, “Oklahoma!” But that won’t stop the piss-ant dramas. When Gift-gate turned out to be just another murder of Vince Foster, some of the same folks started getting the vapors over Michelle patting the Queen’s shoulders during their meet’n’greet. Nobody “touches” the Queen, for chrissakes, they mooned–at least, until Buckingham Palace put out word that there was no violation of protocol, and the Queen thought Michelle was expressing a very natural “affection,” which she shares.

Also: In his last year in office, Bush still didn’t know what the G20 was.

Oh, yes, the G20. Heads of state form around the world are discussing the future of the global economy, but there must be 20 times the news coverage of the Royal iPod than about, you know, real stuff.

9 thoughts on “Anyone Else Remember the Five Chefs?

  1. Al Rodgers at DailyKos has one of his wondeful photo diaries of the visit, and you just sense how relieved and overjoyed the rest of the world is that America is finally being run by someone sensible. And with a whole lot of class to boot.

    And so let the rightards snit about nothing, and let’s call the MSM on their junior high obsessions. I was concerned that Stephen Colbert would be out of material once W left office, but I needn’t have worried – the depths of wingnuttia knows no limit. Now, if we could only pull their megaphones, and turn down the volume of their paranoid shrieks, we might be able to solve some of the country’s problems.

  2. Well, I for one am tickled pink by Michelle Obama ….Her style reminds me a bit of Lady Di….I thought she was pretty cool before but now….I just love her! She is real and so elegant! Finally a first LADY we can look up to! She has conducted her self with such grace ! I was moved by her visit to the all girls school…I was so proud. Bravo Michelle….you go girl!!!!!!!!! I hate to fall into the shallow what did she wear thing….but bravo there too….what a class act…. the right is just jealous because their first ladies wouldn’t know class if it bit them in the ass.(one look at who they chose to spend life with makes that clear).

    One note about the bush visit(recall the photo taken of GW on that trip looking out the window in his underroos ,,, there is class for ya righties!) you forgot to mention the distress to the queens birds bush caused..what a jerk he was!

  3. I think that even if Bush pulled out his schwantz right in front of the Queen and watered the Buckingham Palace plant’s, the right-wing press would have complimented him on his native American, down-home ability to be natural.

    But, let Obama give the Queen an I-Pod and a hug from Michelle, and you’d think they stole the silverware.

    I studied journalism in college. Did they stop teaching it there? Is the highest level of journalizm now taught in Junior High School? That’s what it looks like to me…

  4. The scandal du jour (Thursday) is that Obama had to separate Sarkozy and Hu Jintao, who are described by Jake Tapper over on as verging on fisticuffs (re: tax havens). The Right will probably spin it that Obama was taking the Chinese commie’s side over the rightie Frenchman’s.

    Meanwhile, Michelle spoke at an all-girls’ school, and the teenaged students reacted as if she were a pop star. Better Michelle than Madonna, imo.

    I am so vicariously enjoying this trip.

  5. Somebody in the White House did some research here; the Queen’s favorite song in the time after she had fallen in love with Prince Philip but before they were engaged was “People Will Say We’re In Love,” from Rodgers’ Oklahoma.

  6. I’m amazed on how excellent a representation for America the Obama’s are doing. It makes me proud to be an American. I really admire the Obama’s humble spirits. When I think back on Bush with his obnoxious arrogance and bufoonery, I think of what an embarrassment he was.. like the time he snapped Angela Merkel’s bra, or goosed her,or whatever junior high school behavior he was engaging in during a meeting of world leaders.

    I was also pleased to see Obama bow in greeting before the Saudi king..Obama understands the power of humility and graciousness . And to watch Michelle get on her knees to genuinely embrace muslim girls sends a message to the world that no amount of words could ever convey.

  7. the time [Bush] snapped Angela Merkel’s bra….

    He came up behind where she was sitting, and gave her a “back rub.” [Joan shudders in revulsion.]

    Now, this story may not be true, but allegedly as Bush was leaving the conference room for the last time at the final G8 summit of his presidency, he called out, “Goodbye from the world’s number one polluter!” and made a fist-in-the-air gesture. (Some wags have suggested “Pull my finger” was his alternate farewell slogan.)

    But enough about that jackass; he’s history.

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