Barack Obama’s Indonesia/Australia trip has been delayed  by three days so that he can
take longer to fail to negotiate the passage of his health care reform agenda. In Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’ trademark blundering style, the media were given the run-around, initially told that the President had no intention of changing the date, before announcing it on Twitter instead.
This pushes Obama’s Canberra visit back from Tuesday the 23rd of March until (presumably…Gibbs hasn’t released an updated itinerary yet) Friday the 26th.
The president was expected to leave Thursday for the six-day tour that included Guam and Australia. He has pushed it back until next Sunday.
The White House made the announcement on Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’ Twitter.
On Wednesday, Gibbs hinted that the president wasn’t planning on delaying his travel to negotiate the sticking points among House Democrats in accepting the Senate health insurance reform bill.
“If we have any changes in the schedule, we’ll certainly let you know, but the president believes it is an extremely important trip with — it’s an important region of the world and these are important partners,” he said.
Gibbs added that “if it takes a couple of days extra” to get the bill passed, the president would be fine with missing the March 18 deadline he set for lawmakers “even if he’s already gone.”
This makes me wonder what we’re going to do with our own politicians. Parliament finishes its current session on Thursday the 18th and we were going to have a special session on Monday the 22nd, presumably to justify the cost of keeping them all here over the weekend so that they could be addressed by Obama on the Tuesday. Surely we won’t keep them here for a whole week of nothing, so I suppose this means that we’re sending them back home on Thursday the 18th and flying them back for the visit on Friday the 26th.
If that’s the case, then so be it. As much as I may dislike the man, I won’t begrudge him his visit…it does after all present me with an opportunity to protest against him. Seriously though, I understand the need for foreign leaders to visit, but given the cost to their country as well as our country, I do have to wonder why we can’t replace many of these visits with teleconferences…and that’s for all world leaders, not just the ones I dislike.
Anyway, as strange as it may sound coming from me, I am actually looking forward to Obama’s visit. I will be very interested to see how our domestic politicians react to his visit when it happens as, pleasantries aside, their reactions and comments will say a lot about their own policy agendas. Tony Abbott’s reaction will be particularly interesting as I’m hoping that Obama will be asked for his views on Abbott’s parental leave policy…being a massive tax increase on business and a redistributionist policy that Mao could be proud of, it should get Obama’s full support…one can only hope that such a thing would bring Abbott to his senses, even if it’s too late to regain any credibility on that issue.
That to one side (as it’s a topic which needs it’s own blog post), I do hope that Obama visits Canberra on the Friday as this will give me the opportunity to watch his plane leave in the afternoon. I didn’t see Air Force One when George W. Bush visited and seeing it in person would actually be the highlight of the trip for me. I’ll probably protest and be glad to see Obama leave…but I’ll be happy that I’ll have seen the plane. The trip is worth it if I can see the plane.