Monday, May 07, 2007

On dinner with Queen Elizabeth and King George

Okay, so it's a big week at the White House. The White House chef is whipping up some extra-special barbecue, the White House maids are picking up a vast collection of scattered presidential Legos, and the White House event planners are drilling the president on table manners and not laughing at elaborate hats. Why all the fuss? The queen is coming to town.

- Queen Elizabeth, having visited Jamestown and the Kentucky Derby on her fifth visit to the US, flew into Washington today for a state dinner at the White House. Notably, she did not even attempt to land a helicopter in the Rose Garden.

- Voiced concerns about President Bush's more casual, down-home, chicken-fried tendencies becoming apparent at a white-tie dinner with the Queen have been met with indignance from his supporters:
Let's review: George W. Bush is not a country bumpkin. He is not a stranger to formal affairs. He didn't spend most of his youth clearing brush. He knows how to use all of the forks at the table. He's not going to accidentally hawk a loogie into the Queen's hair while aiming for the White House spitoon. He probably even knows how to tie a bow-tie. He is a very wealthy man, the product of a long line of New England aristocracy....The central achievement of his political life has been disguising all of that beneath a thin veneer of "rustic Texan", but the New York Times shouldn't have respected that nonsense in 1999, and shouldn't take it at all seriously now.

As Tom Hilton points out, the public rarely acknowledges that Bush's favorite dusty cowboy hat sits atop a Connecticut-bred, silver-spoon Yale frat boy. And if you want to know where all of that good breeding and home training has gotten him, well, just ask Angela Merkel.

- In light of Prince Harry's upcoming deployment to Iraq - which he insists on serving despite protests from the British government - it is hoped that the president won't inquire about the grandkids.

Welcome, Your Majesty; best of luck, all; and hands off, Mr. President.

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