Another of those nearly annual visits is now in the books, proof yet again that several million dollars, a couple of hundred police officers, three bomb-sniffing dogs, and a week’s worth of advance work here in the Capital District by 200 or so White House staffers can make a 145-minute appearance go smoothly.
Still, do you remember when presidential visits used to be extraordinary, almost unique happenings for a community (“unique” cannot be modified, can it? sorry).
Instead, we get Barack Obama for the umpteenth time in three years. “Umpteenth” is really kind of hyperbolic, excessive; he has been here three times to be exact.
But that’s a lot. And remember that Republicans very gently have tried to warn him that he runs the risk of becoming more celebrity than statesman.
For my money, Visit Three came off a teensy bit bland, kind of vanilla ice cream-ish. Obama could have used some schtick, like he could have stirred some excitement by strapping a dog carrier to the roof of the presidential limo. No dog necessary, just the carrier would have done it. Or how about the president holds up a cardboard sign in the rear side window saying “Yeah, I did it. I killed him. You didn’t kill him and neither did Mitt. I did it.” Or what, he thinks it’s too good for us, a couple of lines from Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together?”
And wouldn’t-ja love to know the real reason for moving the visit from GlobalFoundries down to the nanoscale college at UAlbany” “Logistics,” they said. Yeah, sure. Others suggested it had to do with politics; Global is Arab-owned and Saratoga County is Republican; nanoscale and Albany are Democratic, like Obama. I like to think it had something to do with all those roundabouts in Malta, like maybe the Secret Service was worried that that monster of a limo might get stuck going round one of them. Remember when the limo got stuck on a grade in the driveway of the U.S. Embassy in Dublin last year?
Two local police sources told me — and I ain’t kiddin’ on this one — that the Secret Service had complained to them, in pre-visit briefings, that the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department had given the feds “the cold shoulder” on the Global visit so they were glad it was shifted. Sheriff Jim Bowen swore to me this was not true. However, Bowen did say that he informed the Secrets that presidential visit security has “state police” written all over it.
“They have all those recruits down there at the academy,” Bowen told me the day before the visit, “more than enough to man the bridges and the overpasses.” Does that constitute “cold shoulder?”
Did the switch in sites have anything to do with Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, the Ferrari-driving “Dr. Nano,” the super-physicist with a super ego who heads up the college? That really would be delicious, but so far, his fingerprints have not been found at the scene.
No doubt they are disappointed, but tell the folks at GlobalFoundries to hold their ponies. Tell them if Obama gets re-elected he will be around here so much that you’ll be running into him in the parking of Jumpin’ Jack’s in Scotia.
And why can we not get a Joe Biden visit tossed in? A veep visit might even be more entertaining. I mean, who ever will forget my favorite, Joe exhorting the paralyzed campaign worker to stand up and take a bow. C’mon, Jimmy, don’t be so modest, get up there and take a bow. Then someone whispers in the vice
president’s ear. Oh, sorry about that, Jimmy. You cannot write stuff like that and if Biden were to visit, next day, at water coolers all across the nation, they’d be saying “Where did Biden say that? Albany, N.Y.? Oh, that place where Obama goes all the time.”