Government by Mere Mortals
Not everyone at the Mandela jamboree was doing selfies with the Danish pastry. One reader passed along this photograph: No sign of Barack buddy David Cameron, but here are three of the Queen’s other prime ministers – Australia’s Tony Abbott, Canada’s Stephen Harper, New Zealand’s John Key – having a working lunch ahead of the memorial service. All three are conservatives, and, while there are many who’d like a bit more red meat with respect to this or that, every single one of them is well to the right of President Obama. Come to think of it, their respective leftie (Liberal/Labour) predecessors (Julia Gillard, Paul Martin, Helen Clark) were also to the right of President Obama. For a supposed “right of center” nation, it is striking how at odds with its allies America is.
But what I like about the photo is its ordinariness, right down to the restaurant decor, the wall print of wine bottles, and the spare chair. The Obama cult doesn’t seem to allow for anything so low-key – see, for example, this absurd scene from the US Embassy in London. After five years under the klieg lights of Obama glamor, there’s something to be said for being governed by non-messiahs.