As if things weren’t bad enough for “Mitt the Twit” as he was dubbed by The Sun, The London Evening Standard ran an article entitled, “London 2012 Olympics: Are you watching Mitt? Michelle Obama gives a fun masterclass in diplomacy”.
Beneath the image, they write: “She’s a winner: Michelle Obama raises her arms in delight as David Beckham applauds during a football game with children as part of the Let’s Move-London event at Winfield”
With Mitt Romney being compared unfavorably to Sarah Palin by the Daily Mail and insiders who met Mitt, and #RomneyShambles still trending on twitter (day 2) in acknowledgment of his epic fail, and Gold medalist Carl Lewis saying Mitt should go home if he doesn’t know what to say, Romney must be embarrassed – or rather, he would be embarrassed if he had any real relationship to other people’s reactions – by Michelle Obama’s ease, grace, and genuine enthusiasm for her role leading the U.S. Olympic delegations.
The British love her.
Michelle Obama won hearts and minds with her good attitude and fun spirit.
Mrs Obama joined a sports carnival for about 1,000 US military children and underprivileged children from London neighborhoods on the lawn of Winfield House. She told the children, “The stories of these athletes remind us that being an Olympian is not just about winning a gold or setting a record. It’s about pushing yourself and believing in yourself and refusing to give up. No matter what obstacles you face, keep pushing.”
The Evening Standard called our First Lady a smashing success, “As a lesson in good natured statesmanship – if not to say simple manners – it was a masterclass.” They continued, “For Michelle Obama cast aside stuffy protocol to join in the fun and games to celebrate today’s opening of the Olympic games with more than 1,000 children.”
This suggests that it’s not about the diplomatic gaffes, but rather about the intention of the person. People appreciate Michelle Obama’s sincerity and engagement, whereas about Romney they said, “Mitt Romney is perhaps the only politician who could start a trip that was supposed to be a charm offensive by being utterly devoid of charm and mildly offensive.”
And then, labeling the Republican Romney “gaffe prone”, they dug in deep:
It was a somewhat different story from another American visitor, presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who was forced to apologise for his comments about London’s readiness for the Games.
The Evening Standard also confirmed that, as suggested by many who were there, indeed the London Mayor did lead the 60,000 crowd in the Obama chant “Yes we are” after he mocked Romney in the opening. Serious hurt.
Showing how she relates to people from all walks of life, our “masterclass” in diplomacy First Lady also shared a personal story about watching the Olympics with her father at a breakfast for American athletes. Mrs. Obama’s father was athletic but contracted multiple sclerosis. She said, “He retained his love of sports, truly. And the Olympics was a special time for him to watch amazing athletes of all abilities compete on the world stage.”
Yes, that’s how we do it. That’s diplomacy, also known as having manners, making others feel important, inspiring people, and leading with enthusiasm and inclusion (also known as having a personality).
This brings to mind distraught conservative Charles Krauthammer’s lament that all Mitt Romney had to do was show up and shut up, but instead of crossing the finish line, he tackled his opponent and fell to the ground. Maybe that’s what all the Anglo-Saxons do these days, but it doesn’t appear as if conservative Britain is enamored of Mitt Romney. The conservative Prime Minister and conservative London Mayor went out on a limb mocking Romney, spanking him until he backtracked like the obedient puppy he so does not want to portray.
We have to wonder just why they felt so safe attacking Romney, considering that he was trying to sell himself as the great white protector of the “special relationship” between Britain and the U.S.
Don’t tell Mitt Rommey, but word on the street is that some in Britain didn’t appreciate that “special relationship,” which consisted of bullying on numerous issues by our former president. Perhaps the British know something we don’t about our election. Or maybe they’re just weighing in as loudly as they can and from the most conservative corners.
Britain says no to Mitt the Twit, but they love some masterclass in diplomacy courtesy of our amazing First Lady. Doesn’t it just make your mouth water for a real press in America?
At least one American politician is doing us proud at the Olympics.
Image: (cropped version) House Picture: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages