Brown in the U.S.A.

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Times have been tough. We are down in the dumps and perhaps this time there will be no rabbit to pull out of the hat. Perhaps America's time is over.

But you know who is hearing none of that talk? Our best pal, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

"Your creation of America was the boldest possible affirmation of faith in the future ... a future you have built with your own hands," Brown said. "People said it couldn't be done, but America did it ... America is not just the indispensable nation, you are the irrepressible nation."

Now get out of bed, Slugger, and go out and invade the subcontinent!

How screwed must we be when Britain is trying to cheer us up? That place gets like two hours of sunshine a year. It is like a coffeeless Seattle.

Clearly Brown likes President Obama, but what type of relationship will they have? Will they be unlikely partners, like Bush and Blair? Or inspirational allies, like Roosevelt and Churchill? Or will they have more of a cool-black-guy/white-nerd vibe, like Hitch or Silver Streak?

Then again, it's not like Brown will be copying Obama. Wait, is he trying to hone in on Obama's mojo by repeating his catchphrases, like "This defining moment in history," "What we need is real change" and "We have to seize the moment"?

What are you, a Barack Obama cover band? Gordon Hopefoot and the Yes We Can Five?

Of course, Brown showed up at the White House like any good houseguest, bearing gifts. The prime minister brought Obama a pen holder made from the timbers of the anti-slave ship the HMS Gannet, which is the sister ship of the HMS Resolute, from which the Oval Office desk is carved. That is a fantastic gift.

It is thoughtful, unique and entrenched with layers of meaning, connecting Barack Obama's ancestral past to the lineage of the presidency. It is interwoven with the centuries-old special relationship between the United States and Britain.

It is a gift wrapped inside a present, stuffed inside a thoughtful gesture. It is a Hallmark turducken.

What did our new president give the prime minister in return? Twenty-five DVDs.

You gave the guy a DVD box set? He is a visiting head of state, not a PBS donor.

You live in the White House - it is a museum. Give him crap from your new house. Maybe Harding's chair, Eisenhower's spittoon or even the Taft toilet desk. (It was more of a necessity that a luxury - he couldn't move very well.)

Of course the U.K. is just the tip of the Obama reconciliation plan. We are also trying to reconnect with Russia.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a meet-and-greet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and presented him with a gift: a little box with a red button that said "reset."

"We want to reset our relationship," said Clinton. "We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?"

Nope, she got it wrong. The word we used for "reset" actually means "overcharged." And, one other thing: Putin's father was killed by a red button. But other than that ...

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