The upcoming inauguration has taken an Aussie turn. Barack Obama's displacement from Blair House was caused by former Australian Prime Minister John Howard who is to receive the US Medal of Freedom from his mate George W. Bush.
U.S. bloggers were outraged apparently. Australian bloggers were just as vocal.
Open Democracy used their signature cartoon to comment. They also quoted online media service Crikey.
from Crikey …..
Our Johnny keeps the Obamas out
Richard Farmer writes:
It is always a bit embarrassing in Washington when there's a new President. The old one hangs around in the White House for two and a half months after the election while the new one prepares his team to take over.
The normal thing to make the home switching as painless as possible is for the incoming President to take up residence a couple of weeks before the official inauguration in Blair House, the President's guesthouse, managed by the Office of the Chief of Protocol at 1651 Pennsylvania Avenue. This January things have been different and Washington insiders were puzzled as to why Barack Obama, his wife and two children were spending their time in a Washington Hotel.
Did this mark a new point in relations between incoming and outgoing, Democrat and Republican? Was George W Bush practicing some final form of revenge?
At last such unwholesome speculation has ended with the Washington Post revealing this morning “Blair House Mystery Solved: It's John Howard”. The veil is lifted, said the report. “We now know who is booked at Blair House, kicking President-elect Barack Obama and his family to the waiting list and across Lafayette Park to the Hay-Adams Hotel. The only overnight visitor at the presidential guest manse is none other than John Howard, a former Australian prime minister and leading member of President Bush's coalition of the willing in Iraq.”
Our Johnny will be in Washington to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from his retiring friend George Dubya on 13 January. Whereas fellow recipients of that honour, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, declined the presidential invitation to stay at Blair House and found private accommodation the Howard entourage accepted the invitation to bunk down at Blair House on the night of 12 January.
The Obama family are now scheduled to move in on 15 January.
Jeremy Sear used his usual sarcasm at An Onymous Lefty:
Our exiled former leader (only overseas can he escape the cruel derision of his former subjects) tries his hand at humility:
I think I speak more on behalf of Australians than you do, John, when I say - please, feel free to keep that “compliment” from George W Bush all for yourself. No need to pass it on to the country that rejected you. No, really, we insist. Don't ascribe it to us - we don't want it, the man who's giving it, or the man who's receiving it.
Thanks, but no thanks.
Scott at GrodsCorp explains through a series of links why those on the left are laughing.
Former Prime Minister John Howard is set to receive the US Medal Of Freedom from outgoing President George W. Bush. Of course, the award has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Howard was one of only a few leaders who pledged his full support for the flailing President in the face of overwhelming opposition from most of the world.
I could only fit one link on each “achievement”, so what are some other examples of John Howard’s commitment to improving lives, promoting democracy, defending human rights, and fighting for peace?
UPDATE: Of John Howard, MK sez: “Humble as always.” The larfs!
The reference to MK is to a post on right wing blog Crusader Rabbit that defines its purpose in no uncertain terms as: “Radical islam has two allies here in the West - the Left and political correctness. The fight is with all three.” The post:
LiveNews - Former prime minister John Howard will receive the US Presidential Medal of Freedom at a White House ceremony next week. The award is said to be the highest civilian honour bestowed by a United States president. Mr Howard is being honoured for his role in fighting terrorism and for standing by the US as an ally during his 11 years as prime minister.
“Yes, I am honoured by it, more because of the compliment it pays to our country Australia,” Mr Howard told ABC Radio. “It's an indication of the very close relationship between our two countries and I'm very pleased that during the time as prime minister I was able to contribute too.”
Humble as always.
Soon both Howard and Bush will both be men of the past. History can make its judgment on their political contributions. The man of the present may well remember Howard's remarks in early 2007:
“I think he's wrong. I think that will just encourage those who want to completely destabilise and destroy Iraq, and create chaos and a victory for the terrorists to hang on and hope for an Obama victory,” Mr Howard told the Nine Network.
“If I were running al-Qaeda in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008 and be praying as many times as possible for a victory not only for Obama but also for the Democrats.”