President Obama returns bust of Sir Winston Churchill back to Britain State, National, International, posted by WOW, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2009 at 10:48 pm
Why would he do this? The UK is our greatest ally. It is really more curious why the main stream media (MSM) didn't report on this. I am embarrassed by my president.
"This is a very curious if not troubling act by President Obama. The bust of Churchill, one of the greatest statesman and wartime leaders in human history, which was given to President Bush by PM Blair following the September 11 attacks and where it sat in the Oval Office proudly among other bust of great men, was formally handed back. British officials insisted that he hang on to the gift as a reminder of the “special relationship” that exists between the U.S. and Great Britain, but the response was ”Thanks, but no thanks.”
Winston Churchill is an American icon who is respected and revered arguably more here in the U.S. than in the U.K. So, certainly there is some uneasiness to President Obama’s brash decision to send Churchill packing. Now, a bust of President Lincoln sits in the Oval Office where Churchill bust once sat. Everyone in the world is now well aware of that Lincoln is Obama’s hero so that part doesn’t exactly come as a surprise.
As for Churchill is there any possible motive to the shun?
Churchill has less happy connotations for Mr Obama than those American politicians who celebrate his wartime leadership. It was during Churchill’s second premiership that Britain suppressed Kenya’s Mau Mau rebellion. Among Kenyans allegedly tortured by the colonial regime included one Hussein Onyango Obama, the President’s grandfather.
The rejection of the bust has left some British officials nervously reading the runes to see how much influence the UK can wield with the new regime in Washington. (Telegraph UK)
Apparently, President Obama has taken his Kenyan roots (if that is the case that would be a stretch considering he never lived there, nor kept up with is family there, and has lived a wonderful American life) over his role as President of the United States as the guarantor of the alliance between the U.S. and Great Britain. In the same breathe, this will hardly hinder the relationship between the two nations, but does reveal Obama’s anti-anglo-old-ways-establishment-view that he clearly talks about in his books and listened to during church services. I hate to stir the coals with the un-American and un-patriotic rants, but this act seems so very…un-American, strange, and unbecoming of a U.S. President when one considers the weight and history behind that connection, which is best symbolized by Sir Winston Churchill.
Nile Gardiner director of Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom had this to say:
Obama’s surprise decision to send Churchill home is both wrong-headed and crassly insensitive towards America’s closest ally, coming at a time when nearly 9,000 British troops are fighting alongside their American counterparts in Afghanistan. With good reason, there are growing doubts in the UK over the new President’s commitment to the Special Relationship. The President has never even mentioned the Anglo-American alliance in a major policy speech, and has little affinity for Britain.
The Special Relationship is vital to American and British interests on many levels, from military, diplomatic, and intelligence cooperation to transatlantic trading ties. If President Obama does not invest in its preservation, the end result will be a weaker United States that is less able to stand up to terrorism and tyranny, and project power and influence on the world stage.
Here is a list that Will Inboden has thrown together advising PM Brown not to bring with him to replace Churchill.
We can hope that Brown will present a bust of an inspiring notable such as a Thatcher, Lloyd George, Gladstone, or Disraeli. But then Brown has not distinguished himself as very politically adroit or attuned to the ingredients of greatness. And he does have at least a few bad options to consider. Here are three former British prime ministers whom I hope Brown will not present to Obama for display in the Oval Office:
1. Jim Callaghan, the British Jimmy Carter, who presided over the disastrous recession, stagflation, labor strife, and all-around misery of the late 1970s, and whose failure to undertake the needed free market reforms paved the way for Thatcher’s rise to power.
2. Lord Frederick North, who led the way in raising taxes on the American people. Yes, on Americans. Lord North governed from 1770-1782.
3. And of course, Neville Chamberlain, who made good on his promise to engage in dialogue without preconditions with the foremost tyrant of the day.
I suppose the reader can make his or her own judgements by President Obama’s prerogative to send the bust back to its rightful owners. Of course, President Obama has not released any sort of statement on the issue so any motive is speculative."
Posted by PToWN94566, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2009 at 10:56 pm PToWN94566 is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Honestly, if the American people are going to through a fit over some sculpture, then it's only fit to see why our country has been in turmoil. There are more important things to worry about than some "head" that just sat on a desk. It was given to Bush, and seeing that he's out of office, the Brits' shouldn't take it back with a grain of salt. Also, how is this "un-American" if we're supposed to be the land of the free? I think the president should have a choice over whether or not he wants to keep something on his desk, put it in storage to collect dust (and god forbid he do that and then we find out years later that rats gnawed on it), or simply give it back so someone else can use it.
Posted by I disagree with PT, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2009 at 11:15 pm
"...this act seems so very…un-American, strange, and unbecoming of a U.S. President when one considers the weight and history behind that connection, which is best symbolized by Sir Winston Churchill."
You don't throw just an amazing gesture of Britain, considering the history of SWC. You just don't "give it back". This has nothing to do with America as a free nation - and Obama's rights. This has everything to do with his ridiculous misunderstanding of the fundamental relationship between the United States and our best friends the United Kingdom.
It was either an uniformed and humiliating mistake on the part of Obama, or a telling and chilling foreshadowing of what is to become of our relationship with our best ally.
Listen, man, what if your parents were given a gift from good friends. When your parents died, and you were left in charge of the estate, would you give the gift back?
This incredible gift on behalf of the Brits after what our nation suffered on 9/11, and also knowing what SWC meant to us, was something "on loan" in name only. It was an absolute gift in name of solidarity - incredibly thoughtful - and Obama gave it back? He apparently doesn't even use the Oval office outside of meetings - preferring another little office to work in - so what was it to him? Maybe he was worried SWC's wisdom would get to him?
Posted by PToWN94566, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2009 at 12:21 am PToWN94566 is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
If my parents owned some miraculous statue that was given to them and they died, if I didn't want it I'd sell it. Which if you think about it, there are these things called estate sales that I'm sure you've heard of. No use it keeping something that someone doesn't want.
Posted by mary, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2009 at 8:45 am
PT you dismay me. Sending it back is only an ill-prepared, non-statesman-like response. It could have easily been moved to another location, honor being kept, and Obama could have saved face. This man, Obama, continues to show he's a bull in a china shop and politics aren't run well by bulls.
Posted by Really?, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 10, 2009 at 8:29 am
"A White House spokesperson says the Churchill bust was removed before Obama's inauguration as part of the usual changeover operations, adding that every president puts his own stamp on the Oval Office."
"It was lent for the first term of office of President Bush. When the President was elected for his second and final term, the loan was extended until January 2009."
Obama now has the bust of Lincoln in its place. I see this as a fitting tribute to the 200th year anniversary of his birth and to an amazing American president. Each President decorates the Oval Office to their taste. Don't you remember the "camera event" when Bush stripped the room after Clinton left office.
Posted by Rae, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Aug 10, 2009 at 9:00 am
In the words of Mr. T, "I pity the poor fool" who feels that, of all the real issues facing Americans today, the return of a piece of statuary to its rightful owner is worthy of notice, let alone discussion.
Posted by Classy, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 10, 2009 at 3:42 pm
"Britain wants President Obama to put a bronze bust of Sir Winston Churchill back in the Oval Office, where it stood for the past eight years as a symbol of an enduring special relationship with America..."
"The bronze was lent to George Bush by Tony Blair in 2001 from the Government Art Collection..." and "was due to be returned. However, a spokesman for the British Embassy in Washington said yesterday: “WE HAVE MADE IT CLEAR THAT WE WOULD BE PLEASED TO EXTEND THE LOAN..."
This was likely never intended to be reclaimed by the Brits with out mutual admiration and iron support. Obama acts like he was raised by wolves without any basic etiquette training. Perhaps he should appoint an "Etiquette Czar", then maybe he wouldn't bungle such important relationships (Britain), elevate ones that shouldn't be (Iran, Venezuela, etc), or call out the police as "stupid".
Posted by Piece of work, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 10, 2009 at 5:26 pm
You have got to be kidding me!
This is the first I heard about this. I just read the article. Why couldn't he have just moved it to another place in the White House if he preferred the Lincoln statue? What, not enough space?? I had an aunt who was getting on in years but faithfully visited us. Whenever she came for a visit, my wife would make sure she put out the awful and gaudy things my aunt would send over the years. We hated her taste, but even we knew it was important to make her feel good. It's called respect.
Why did the media try and cover this one up? He's one piece of work.