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Just what I was thinking:

So with one word, Obama both offended the British and made himself a laughingstock with the Latin Americans.

John Hinderaker said it, and Instapundit has just linked to it. The one word being “Maldives” for “Malvinas”. Causing this much derision and contempt with just the one word is indeed quite an achievement. I’m betting the Maldiveans are not that impressed either.

The British media, the BBC in particular, mostly treat Obama, still, as some kind of Holy Sage, whose every word is Truth and whose every enemy is Evil and Stupid. How could any American with brain cells in the plural possibly object to “free health care”?

In the BBC’s parallel universe, only the previous President was capable of gaffes on this globe-spanning scale. But can anyone think of a GWB jnr gaffe that is any gaffer, as it were, than this “Maldives” clanger? Thought: they should call Obama “The Gaffer”.

It will be very interesting to see what the BBC now makes of this, if anything.

The Daily Telegraph’s Jonathan Gilbert describes this error as uncharacteristic, saying that this was the kind of thing Bush did do, but Obama doesn’t. Hinderaker says different:

When did Mr. Bush ever display such geographic ignorance?

Anyone? I can’t remember anything from Bush that was this doltish. Comically non-existent new words, yes. But blunders like this on matters of diplomatic significance? Not that I can remember. But then I never did think Bush was an idiot, and preferred to listen to what he said rather than dwell on the errors he sometimes committed while saying it.

(I don’t think Obama is a complete idiot either. He was, after all, clever enough to get the Presidency, in defiance of the wishes of the Clinton clan. And clever enough then to use it to do real damage to most Americans’ idea of what America is, even if not as much as he might have managed, had he been even cleverer.)

Our own Perry de Havilland wants Obama to win. He reckons the Republican chap with be a Cameronian disaster, who will, by talking free markets but by doing business as usual, will ensure that our side gets blamed for all the ordure that has yet to hurtle towards the fan.

This sort of equal opportunities offensiveness from Obama makes it that much harder for Perry to get his way.

29 comments to “Maldives”

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I guess he could have said Malvern, or maybe Maldon (in Essex). We can start a new word game!

  • JeremiadBullfrog

    The point about Romney perhaps being a “Cameronian disaster” is well taken. But it must be balanced with an adequate appreciation of the appointing power of the White House. Another 4 years of Obama while waiting for a true Conservative free-marketer would be fine if all we had to worry about was his being kept in check by a Republican congress. But the fact that we have to worry about retiring Supreme Court justices, not to mention all other sorts of lower-level policy crafters/influencers, makes me think that the balance tilts towards getting Obama out regardless of Romney’s flaws.

  • Dom


    You should ask readers to add to a list of BHO gaffes. Here’s the start:

    — “Corpsman”
    — 57 states
    — Austrian Language

  • Dale Amon

    I understand the Indian Ocean beaches on the Maldive Islands are simply marvelous. Maybe he was thinking of the vacation he was planning with the wife after he leaves the White House next January.

  • Stonyground

    I seem to recall that GWB thought that Mexico was in South America and thought that people in South America spoke Latin. It is possible that I misrememberised this though.

  • Laird

    For the life of me, I can’t understand why the British media idolizes Obama. He clearly despises Britain (witness his churlish return of the Churchill bust), for reasons well articulated in Dinesh D’Sousa’s The Roots of Obama’s Rage. For any rational being the feeling should be mutual.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    In the American film industry, a ‘gaffer’ is a senior lighting technician. So “The Gaffer” fits nicely with “the lightworker,” but not too well with the actual amount of light that Mr. Obama spreads.

    And if Britons weren’t already offended by the gratuitous return of the Churchill bust, they’re probably past praying for.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Laird: “churlish” is an excellent word. I wish I’d thought of it.

    And what a pity that modern Britain has so little respect for itself.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    The sad thing is, some young Brits don’t know about who Churchill is, and still fewer would know that he was half-American (on his mother’s side), and proud of it, too.

    God, I am starting to sound like a real old git (mid-40s).

  • Gene

    I don’t recall reading a post in which Perry lays out his Obama-should-win scenario, so perhaps I am unfairly reacting to an oversimplified version of it. My problem with that position, though I have some sympathy with it, is that the great majority of people will certainly adapt to a “new normal” as needed to get on with their lives, but will also maintain their old prejudices. IOW, collectivists will blame capitalism for any and all disasters regardless of what actual policies are in place to precipitate those disasters.

  • David C

    Sarah Palin made a list of Obama gaffes after her well publicised North/South Korea mistake – I thought there was a video compilation somewhere but I can’t find it.


  • Alisa

    I really don’t see what the big deal is – but maybe it’s because I’m not running for office…Obama is about my age, and I make these kinds of mistakes about things I actually know (there are lots of things I don’t know, but thankfully I’m in no position to have to make public statements about them).

  • RAB

    Laird, the British Media love Obama even though he despises Britain, because they also despise Britain, and that goes in spades for the BBC.

    My dad was in the Maldives with a Catalina Flying Boat squadron in WW2. The beaches are fine, but the rest of the dump is an Islamic stinkhole. Bring on Global Warming, I hope it sinks like they keep on bleating it is, and holding their begging bowls out for handouts.

  • TDK

    Isn’t “the Gaffer” British Slang for the Boss. In which case, it’s probably a bad nickname

  • Laird

    Ahh, fair point, RAB. That would explain it.

  • Obama is about my age, and I make these kinds of mistakes about things I actually know

    I am younger, and so sometimes do I. Even about something you know, the wrong word sometimes comes out. (Saying “Mugabe” when I was talking about the Egypt and meant “Mubarak” was one that I found particularly excruciating after a said it).

    As for Mexico being in South America and Latin Americans speaking Latin, these were both originally attributed to Dan Quayle and (like a lot of things that were said by or attributed to Quayle) reattributed to George W Bush when Bush was decided to be the Republican mocked by the left. I am not sure about Mexico, but Quayle definitely didn’t ever make the remark about Latin Americans speaking Lain either: it was made as a joke by someone else, suggesting that it was the sort of thing that Quayle might say.

    I believe that the tourists who go to the expensive resorts in the Maldives generally stay in their five star compounds and never go anywhere near the locals. Sounds ghastly all round.

  • Our own Perry de Havilland wants Obama to win.

    Yes in a functional sense that is true but more accurately, I want Romney to lose rather than for Obama to win 🙂

    In an ideal world… what I really want is for them both to lose.

  • MajikMonkee

    I couldn’t think of a worse candidate to take on Obama. What were they thinking? The man who invented obamacare, running on an anti-obamacare ticket. The debates will be laughable.

  • Paul Marks

    Verbal gaffes are only a problem if they are wildly (and repeatedly) reported.

    Bush’s verbal mistakes were so reported, Obama’s (56 States – and on and on) are not so reported – such is the bias of the media.

    Of couse sometimes things that are not verbal mistakes but are JOKES are reported as verbal mistakes.

    For example, the media (including the “JOURNALISTS of Fox News” as Shep Smith and co call themselves – to indicate, I suppose, that they are just as bad as the journalists on other networks, and nothing to do with comment people such as Neil Cavuto) regularly sneer at Prince Philip’s jokes (obvious jokes) as if they were unintentional “gaffes”.

    There is an irritating English journalist (his name escapes me) who does this on Smith’s show on Fox News.

    He sneers at the stupidity of Prince Philip (in a very bad immitation of Prince Philip’s voice) – and, in fact, shows his own stupidity (in not understanding the statements are JOKES – not unintentional verbal slips).

    Anyway…. back to Comrade Barack.

    Congress would be no limit on him at all.

    The Centre for American Progress (and so on) have long drawn up what a Progressive President needs to do to bypass Congress in an “emergency” situation.

    And 2013 will indeed see such an emergency situation.

    So people better hope Comrade Barack loses the election.

    Unless they have a concrete plan for military VICTORY.

    Not some pointless killing of a few leftists – a credible plan for the violent overthrow of the Obama regime.

    I do not support gesture politics.

    If there is no credible plan for VICTORY – it is better not to kill anyone at all (after all leftists are human beings – they have relatives and friends, those who love them as human beings).

    “Gesture killings” will just give Comrade Barack and co more of a excuse for the crack downs they have planned anyway.

    So either win the election, or come up with credible plans (plans that could work) for a military coup – like that in Chile on September 11th 1973.

    Obviously if people are working on the military option – they should not tell me (and other nonrelevant) people about it.

    If a military coup is not a “need to know” thing, I do not know what is.

    “Romney will be like Cameron”.

    He will not have that option.

    The economy will collapse in 2013 – Romney simply will not have time to mess about with the silly games that Cameron has wasted years on.

    Romney will face a choice – either go along with the free market reforms of people like Congressman Ryan in the House and (better) Senators such as Rand Paul and Jim De Mint (hopefully the Senate will have a Republican majorty in 2013 and IF THE PRESIDENT AGREES there is no 60 vote rule on a budget – it can be passed with 51 votes in the Senate).

    Of course Mr Romney may choose the other alternative – do not back free market reform and let everything collapse around his ears.

    Then we are in a different position.

    At that point secession may be the least worse option for some States in the United States.

    Comrade Barack could declare any State that tried to leave the Union “racist” (“a return to the Confederacy and the KKK…..) and have the American armed forces slaughter the population of the offending State (with the full support of both American and international media), but a President Romney does not have the race card to play.

  • And what were the Democrats thinking when they nominated John Kerry to oppose GWB?

    The nomination system of both American parties is completely broken, to state the obvious.

  • Laird

    I don’t disagree with Michael Jennings’ remark about the US nomination process, but I have to ask: what is the UK nomination system? It produced David Cameron, after all.

  • Paul Marks

    John Kerry came very close to winning in 2004 – in spite of what seemed to be a very strong economy (high wages, near full employment, strong “economic growth” and so on).

    So Kerry (or rather the media – for they were the Democrat campaign) did not do badly.

    They made the mistake of playing up the “Kerry the soldier” angle – he turned up to his nomination saying “John Kerry – reporting for duty”.

    This led to the minor matter of Senator Kerry giving aid and comfort to the enemy during time of war – becomming politically relevant.

    Not that the media would mention it of course – but alternative media (such as talk radio) ran with it hard.

    First there were the blatent lies that young John Kerry told.

    Not the lies about his Irish grandfather (who was not Irish – he was an Austrian Jew who changed his name to “Kerry” to fit in to Boston) suffering “no Irish need apply” discrimination in Boston (which is actually impossible – as the Irish ran the city at the time).

    No these lies were too minor to matter.

    It was the lies he told (on television in the early 1970s) about seeing American soldiers rape and murder civilians in Vietnam.

    Which soldiers did you see?


    The only incidents of such crimes (or anything like them) came from places where John Kerry had never been – so unless he had eyes that could…..

    And the (vastly greater) crimes of the enemy were totally unmentioned.

    Far from “reporting for duty” -young Kerry did everything he could to help the enemy win the Vietnam war. His testimony before Congress was propaganda.

    But the media had a reply to this…..

    “At least he faught – more that drunk Bush did”.

    Then (and only then) did the “Swiftboat” people become relevant.

    The people who had actually served with Kerry – and knew the truth about him.

    It is very rare that old soldiers will speak against a Comrade-in-arms, but these men did (and with good reason).

    John Kerry was not the hero the media presented him as – he was a coward. The lies he told about people afterwards (and, to be fair, John Kerry never did libel specific individuals in his testimony before Congress – although that may have been because actual individuals can answer back) were the least of people’s problems – if they actually served with him.

    Still what harm has Kerry’s past really done him?

    The Senator with the most leftist voting record in the Senate (before Barack was elected in 2004 – by the way Barack was a leading speaker at the Kerry Convention, this is when the media first started to push him).

    Exposed as a traitor and a coward during the 2004 election – he almost won anyway. Remember not everyone listens to talk radio.

    And is he now in some underground cell in a maximum security prison in Colorado?


    John Kerry is Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

    And history?

    History records “Swiftboating” as evil lies against a good man.

    Yes almost everyone who had come into contact with John Kerry (and lived) was lying about him.

    History records it so – and so children are taught at school. Although they are just taught that to “Swiftboat” is to smear a good man and this is done by evil right wing folk (best not to look into the details),

    And people wonder why I talk about the dying West.

  • Paul Marks

    “The nomination process is broken….”

    No that is too easy.

    Candidates like Kerry and Obama reflect the political opinions of the education system (the teachers and so on) and the media.

    The Democratic party represents these groups – so candidates like Kerry and Obama are logical.

    As for the Republicans.

    No one prevents someone standing in Iowa and New Hampshire.

    Make yourself well known by going round Iowa and New Hampshire – and they will vote for you (they really are influenced by townhall meetings and the like).

    No one prevented conservative Republicans voting for anyone they wanted to.

    Mitt Romney came second (a very close second) in Iowa – supposedly it was going to be impossible for a Morman to do well with the evangelical Christians (the people who turn up for Republican caucus events in Iowa).

    Then he had a big win in New Hampshire.

    Where Republican Primary voters are known for the fiscal conservatism (their tax and spending conservatism).

    So Mitt Romney convinced a lot of people – and it was not all television ads (he relied on that in 2008 and it blow up in his face).

    He went around Iowa and New Hampshire and convinced a lot of both social and fiscal conservatives that he is a man of the right – a righteous man.

    Now he may well have been lying – at all those townhall meeting and so on.

    I would not be wildly surprised if he was lying. And he is not a righteous man.

    But, if Romney was lying, then blame the voters (for believeing him) not something vague like the “nominating process”.

    Americans (especially American conservatives) are nice people – they want to hear stories of repentance, of someone turning their life around. They believe them.

    The hopeless drunk George Walker Bush – becoming a good family man and Christian.

    The cynical Progressive Romney – becomming a righteous man.

    I am not nice – I am not American.

    I tend to assume guilt and during a “trial” I am already thinking in terms of punishment.

    So I am not like voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.

    But would they be the good places they are if they were inhabited by cynical distrusting people?

  • Julie near Chicago

    Oh my! So much to agree with here!

    Laird and PfP: What you both said. Repeated thrice for emphasis.

    Alisa: That’s a very good point you make and much as I wish It (I do not consider the incumbent an actual real Human Person) would roast in the Eternal Fire even I have often thought the same.

    However, Michael’s and Paul’s follow-ups to that are also excellent points. I believe I will use the excuse to cut It a little less slack (and myself a little more). :>) However, I’m unconvinced that Alisa needs to have any worries about slips of that type as in my experience she’s about the least slip-prone person I’ve found on this miraculous Web. :>))

    And Majik: Your point is also spot-on and the situation is in some ways a re-play of 2008, I think. McCain was the one primary candidate nobody wanted! And yet, as somebody here pointed out somewhere along the way, Sarah Palin darn near upset the applecart by giving him a fighting chance of WINNING! No WONDER she had to be destroyed!

    If ever there was a rigged primary, it was that one. In the present case, for some reason I think Mittens actually had some popular support as against the other candidates…but mostly it seemed to come from the don’t-scare-off-the-voters and Fear-the-Tea-Party Republican Establishment types and their followers. :>( I think somebody suggested awhile back that perhaps Romney is at least spineless enough to be somewhat bendable if enough, and influential enough, voters insist on at least refusing to extend governmental overreach. I hope that’s true…but I fear it will not prove enough to overcome his Progressive self and his apparent need for to belong to the In-Group…which personally I think was a major part of McCain’s reach-across-the-aisle trouble.

    Even so, Paul’s first* comment is depressingly accurate insofar as the underlying situation and possible outcome (and necessary plans should that action come about) are concerned. Whether there will be an actual forceful confrontation I’m not so sure–the signs and portents read to me that we WILL go gently into that evil night, but perhaps my countrymen have more stones than that. Either way very bad times are ahead.

    * I see that further has come in since I started this comment, and I am going to submit it before reading subsequent remarks. A risky thing, but there it is…. :>)

    By the way–the diktats that most especially the present incumbent has gotten into the habit of sending down as Executive Orders already obviate the need for the Executive Branch to concern itself messing about with sticky things like the facts that the Congress is supposed to be the Legislating body, and of any relevance of either statute or Constitutional law to its edicts. This is another area where leaving the incumbent in place is simply insupportable.

  • Alisa

    Several excellent points there, Julie.

    As to mistakes, some people are better at writing, and others at speaking – I happen to belong to the first group, especially when it comes to English:-) Paul, on the other hand, happens to be an exceptionally eloquent and articulate speaker.

  • Midwesterner

    This is the small government types learning how to fight by the rules on the field. Whenever the MSM uses something as a weapon against small government types, or anyone up against their candidate, they resort to dirty tactics to destroy them.

    Our side is learning how to fight back. Attack Rush Limbaugh as a misogynist for a plausible if unkind remark about one person, we drag Bill Mayer into the misogyny arena kicking and screaming until the tactic is abandoned and they struggle to prevent a wildfire (misogynists make for a target rich environment on the left). Attack Romney as a dog hater for the dog crate on the roof thing, we bring up the part in Obama’s book where he describes eating dog flesh (it’s gone viral). Attack anybody and everybody for those unavoidable verbal misspeaks and, well . . .

    We need to continue to do this and escalate the game. It shouldn’t matter, policy and principles (or lack of them) should be what matters, but the curse of democracy is that many voters are influenced by these tactics. This is turning Alinskyite tactics to good use.

    Holding conservatives to their own standards is Alinsky. Holding leftists to their own claimed standards is, . . . sweet.

  • Laird

    Midwesterner is correct. I’ve long argued that we should all read (and re-read) Alinsky, and adopt many of his tactics. It’s a short book.

  • Paul Marks

    Midwesterner and Laird.


    With limitations – as some of Alinsky’s tactics only work for evil.

    For example, LYING (a tactic that Alinsky used a lot).

    “Lying for a good cause” may (or may not) sound O.K. – but it practice it does not work in politics.

    Lying only works for a bad cause in politics (although not always in intelligence work).

  • Laird

    Paul, Alinsky may have lied a lot, but lying as a tactic is not one of his 11 Rules:

    Rule 1: Power is not only what you have, but what an opponent thinks you have. If your organization is small, hide your numbers in the dark and raise a din that will make everyone think you have many more people than you do.

    Rule 2: Never go outside the experience of your people. The result is confusion, fear, and retreat.

    Rule 3: Whenever possible, go outside the experience of an opponent. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.

    Rule 4: Make opponents live up to their own book of rules. “You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.”

    Rule 5: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It’s hard to counterattack ridicule, and it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.

    Rule 6: A good tactic is one your people enjoy. “If your people aren’t having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic.”

    Rule 7: A tactic that drags on for too long becomes a drag. Commitment may become ritualistic as people turn to other issues.

    Rule 8: Keep the pressure on. Use different tactics and actions and use all events of the period for your purpose. “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is this that will cause the opposition to react to your advantage.”

    Rule 9: The threat is more terrifying than the thing itself.

    Rule 10: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. Avoid being trapped by an opponent or an interviewer who says, “Okay, what would you do?”

    Rule 11: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it. Don’t try to attack abstract corporations or bureaucracies. Identify a responsible individual. Ignore attempts to shift or spread the blame.

    That’s my summary. I’m especially partial to #5 & 11.