Obama's re-election this week has, of course, been the dominant story. The failure of Romney & his rabid allies of Fox News & the Tea Party to unseat him has been met with an almost audible sigh of relief around the globe. Now that the election's over, the Oldham Echo has a suggestion for the Commander-in-Chief: visit Liverpool (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2012/11/07/top-five-reasons-why-us-president-barack-obama-should-visit-liverpool-100252-32185114/ ).
Neil MacDonald's puerile piece begins memorably:
"US President Barack Obama was re-elected through the night, but despite the many challenges facing him in the next four years, the burning question on everyone's lips is when will he visit Liverpool?"
Yes, indeed, when will he pay such an important trip here? It's a question that has been leading all the news bulletins on CNN, the BBC, ABC, NBC, CBS & even Fox News (the network's anchors referring to "Marxist Merseyside"). Moreover, it's such a "burning question on everyone's lips" that possible & planned trips to South East Asia, the Middle East & Russia may have to be rescheduled to accommodate Obama's visit to Liverpool. The White House is expected to make an announcement in the next few days, I understand.
The Echo draws up five reasons why Obama (or POTUS, as it refers to him, nicking a piece of jargon from The West Wing) should pay the city a visit: 1. "One of America's founding fathers was born in Liverpool." Fair enough, I suppose, but sufficient reason to make a visit? 2. The International Slavery Museum. By all means, draw attention to the way in which the Slave Trade enriched the city's merchants, but is that a unique selling point? 3. The Fabs. Ah yes, it wouldn't be a proper Echo piece without a gratuitous reference to John, Paul, George & erm, whatisname from Thomas the Tank Engine, would it? 4. The Port of Liverpool. Mildly interesting to Americans, perhaps, but a compelling reason for Obama to visit? 5. "Loads more reasons". Yes, MacDonald really did write that. To be fair, he does mention a few more connections, however tenuous, between the city & the US. The mental image, however, is of a hack desperately grasping at the slightest link for the purposes of his piece.
It's an image that remains in the mind when MacDonald concludes:
"Do you know any more links between Liverpool and America, or reasons why President Obama should visit the city? Let us know in the comments below."
Hear that sound? It's the sound of wooden fragments which formed the base of the barrel being scraped frenziedly.
We've been here before, of course. Not long after Obama's 2008 victory the Echo was asking the same question (http://condensedthoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2009/01/i-suspected-it-wouldnt-be-long-before.html ) & repeated it a month later (http://condensedthoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2009/02/letter-to-america.html ) when both the city council & Oldham Hall Street had high hopes of an "imminent" visit.
It would be interesting for Obama to contrast his own economic stimulus package with the savage cuts that Joe "Tea & Sympathy" Anderson is making on behalf of the ConDem government, I suppose. Perhaps that thought has crossed Mayor Joe's mind, too.
Anyway, we hope the invitation's been issued. We wait with baited breath.