There’s no other way to interpret this: it’s a deliberate and profoundly embarrassing slight to a vital American ally. Granted, the United Kingdom isn’t quite as vital to American history, culture, business, or strategic interest as a world-straddling hyper-power like Ghana. From Front Page Magazine:
When John Atta Mills, the President of Ghana, died last year, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton personally led the delegation to his funeral along with such figures as Johnnie Carson, the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, General Carter F. Ham, the Commander of the United States Africa Command and Grant T. Harris, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs.
But under Barack Obama, what Ghana gets, the United Kingdom does not. Instead the US delegation to the Thatcher funeral looks a lot like the US delegation to the Chavez funeral. Two former secretaries of state friendly to Thatcher and several congressmen who agreed with her views, including Michelle Bachmann.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is coming. Barack Obama obviously is not. Neither is any high ranking member of his government. As at Chavez???s funeral, the highest ranking Federal official will be the charge d???affaires at the American embassy. It???s hard to get any lower profile than that.
The UK Daily Mail reports this is not being taken well across the pond, where “friends and allies of Baroness Thatcher expressed ‘surprise and disappointment’ last night as it emerged President Obama is not planning to send any serving member of his Administration to her funeral.”
Former defence secretary Dr Liam Fox, Lady Thatcher’s closest ally in modern-day politics, said: ‘I think it would be both surprising and disappointing if after President Obama’s fulsome tribute to Lady Thatcher, the American administration did not send a senior serving member to represent them.’
Sir Gerald Howarth, chairman of the Thatcherite Conservative Way Forward group of MPs and peers, said: ‘The bonds forged between the UK and the US through Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher was instrumental in ending the Cold War and liberating millions of people.
‘That the present administration feels unable to be represented as the world marks the extraordinary contribution Margaret Thatcher made will be a source of disappointment to those who served with her in that great endeavour.’
The snub is especially noteworthy because the Queen herself will attend the funeral, a decision that “effectively elevated it to a state occasion unprecedented for a political figure in Britain since the death of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965.”
According to the UK Sun, the British government is miffed that Angela Merkel won’t be attending from Germany, although at least she’ll be sending her foreign minister. “But Downing Street is most angered by rejections from Obama, First Lady Michelle, and Vice-President Joe Biden,” the Sun continues. “A No 10 source said last night: ‘We are a little surprised by the White House???s reaction, as we were expecting a high-profile attendance.'”
The given reason for the complete lack of Administration officials at Lady Thatcher’s service is that everyone is busy pushing gun control legislation back in the United States, as the Daily Mail explains:
The US embassy insisted no snub was intended, but confirmed that Mr Baker and Mr Schulz would represent the US.
‘This is a hugely significant week in terms of US domestic politics,’ a spokesman added.
He said that both the First Lady and the Vice President were ‘the President’s point people on gun control’, adding: ‘This is a week when there is a lot of movement on Capitol Hill on gun control issues.’
Every single member of the Administration is required to shove a half-baked grab bag of gun control measures nobody will actually read through Congress? Half of the proposals heading for the Senate floor are born-to-die distractions, whose only purpose is to get voted down by red-state Democrats so they can polish up their “pro-gun” merit badges for the benefit of gullible constituents. How about if Americans just keep our Constitutional rights, leaving Obama free to bring a blue-ribbon delegation to show proper respect to a towering figure of Western history?