Thursday, March 26, 2009

There's Something About Barack!

The Brits are well and truly teed off. The Aussies aren’t faring much better. But it is now obvious, more than ever, that US President Barack Obama officially LOVES Ireland.

And it seems that the Irish and our very own Taoiseach loves him too.

Judging by the reaction that Brian Cowen has been getting since he returned home from Washington last week, one would be forgiven for thinking that Ireland is about to become the 51st State of the USA!!

The Obama spell was cast far and wide - not just among Brian Cowen and Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin, but among the Government officials who travelled with him and the media who got to see the Holy Grail that is Obama in the flesh.

A mere mention of his name along the corridors of power this week sparked smiles of almost disbelief that they got to breathe the same air as the demi-God with roots in Offaly (Obama, that is!)

I was one of that media pack that was left gobsmacked by experiencing in the flesh the sheer charisma of the new US President. And judging by the reactions of friends and colleagues, I certainly count myself eternally grateful to the faithful but well-worn Visa card that got me there in the first place.

It is fair to say that Brian Cowen hasn’t had an ease ride since he took over the hot seat less than a year ago - consumer confidence is at rock bottom, faith in the banks has disappeared down the toilet, the economy is in the sewers and Fianna Fail support has taken up residence down there as well.

So it was nice to see him get a lift thanks to the royal treatment he was given in Washington.

A full day - a meeting, a lunch and a lavish party - all in the company of President O himself, you couldn’t really wish for much more.

So spare a through for poor old Gordon Brown - it seems the Obama administration couldn’t wait to get rid of him when he paid a visit a few weeks back. The poor Aussie Prime Minister didn’t fare just better - he just got a meeting with the Big Man on Tuesday.

And it seems that the royal treatment that our Offaly man got has really ticked off some commentators from across the pond in the UK.

“Brian Cowen, the Taoiseach of Ireland, is hardly a world figure, but he received the kind of red carpet treatment in Washington that would normally be reserved for royalty,” wrote one British commentator.

“The Irish PM has no influence whatsoever over the policies of the United States. Yet he was greeted for a 40 minutes meeting in the Oval Office on Tuesday by not only the president but also Hilary Clinton, Joe Biden and National Security Adviser Jim Jones.”

“In addition, Obama hosted a lavish dinner party for 400 guests in Cowen’s honour to mark St Patrick’s Day. At Michelle Obama’s request, the White House fontain was even turned green to mark the event.”

“When Gordon Brown was received at the White House at the start of March, he was denied a press conference as well as an official dinner and was treated in a humiliating, demeaning fashion.”

“Brown may well be a lame duck at home, but he is still the representative of 60m Britons and a nation that has sacrificed blood and treasure alongside America time after time. The whole affair was hugely insulting to the British people,” the commentator concluded.

It is hard to resist putting your thumb to your nose and going ‘nah, nah, nah, nah, nah’!!!!

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