Wednesday, November 19, 2003

George and the despot special

The official website of the monarchy tells me that previous recipients of hmq's official hospitality include Nicolae Ceaucescu, Hastings Banda, King Khaled of Saudi Arabia, a random collection from the Nigerian tyrant-of-the-month club and assorted fingernail extractors from far and near.

As such, I can't be too supportive of the notion that the US President shouldn't be granted the same privilege.

While a lot of failry innocuous world leaders have received the same treatment, it still comes across as a "despot special" bed and breakfast deal.

It's pretty obvious what the despot gets out of it. A trip down the mall with the queen in an open landau, cheered on by the few thousand loyal dimwits who always turn out for such occasions and who may pause to wonder who the funny looking foreign feller with the monarch is. Back home, this goes straight to the top of the TV news: "behold, our glorious leader is beloved by the people of many lands."

Clinton never seemed to fel the need for the full-on royal lay-it-on-with-a-trowel treatment: nor did Eisenhower, Truman or any other US presidential visitor. The last one who got it was Woodrow Wilson. So the interesting thing is why Dubya's advisers consider it the most appropriate format for highlighting him to the folks back home. Still, the man must know his own voters, I guess.