Tuesday, April 13, 2010

We can all hope its just incompetence

On July 4th, 1776 America declared independence from Great Britain, and with it their monarchs.  We cast down their kings and queens and became a Republic, a nation ruled by laws and not men.  When we became a sovereign nation we demanded to be treated as equals, not as subjects.  We have no masters, and we rule ourselves.  Such a fundamentally American message became one of the key rules to all US Presidents for over 200 years:  Don't bow.  The American people don't bend their backs to any foreign power, so why should our leader?

Err...ok, so he bowed.  He's new at this whole being a leader thing.  And beside Nixon did the same thing.  He wasn't kissing the floor, but he bowed!  Surely we can overlook this one mistake and cut our new President some sla...

For the love of God, Barry!  We just went over this!  Don't.  Bow.  Look, I'm not bowing right now!  You try it now.

....I...I just...can't...*sigh*...

Today's post is in honor of Obama bowing to his third world leader last night.  The first time he did it conservatives had a lovely time expressing their outrage.  Everyone else was still drunk on the Obama kool-aid so they largely just watched from the sidelines.  But among the conservatives things broke down into two camps (although there were people who went between the two).  The conservative fringe thought that this was proof positive that Obama was a muslim.  Bowing to the leader of the Sunni faith isn't a coincidence right?  Eh well they're fringe for a reason.  All the other rational people thought it was either a sign of his weak ideology or just flat out incompetence.  Between the two incompetence was the preference, although conservatives had been making the argument that he would be a terrible leader since 08 so the "I told you so" points may make it even.  Of course inevitably the bow came with a whole bunch of fun attached to it including a White House denial:

"It wasn't a bow. He grasped his hand with two hands, and he's taller than King Abdullah," said an Obama aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

What the hell does that even mean?  How does that even excuse bending your spine forward in a gesture that closely resembles bowing?  If you're going to lie to the American public at least -try-

And then, of course, there was the media outrage. 

Harsh, but what more could we expect?  In 1994 the NY Times tore Clinton apart for ALMOST bowing to the Japanese Emperor, so of course Barry had to expect the same treatment!  We're nothing if not consistent.  That's what it takes to have a fair, unbiased media.  Even The One is not above such things.

Eventually the controversy died down until conservatives used it as something to snicker about.  Just a little piece of evidence to remind us of the type of people we had in the White House.

And then Obama went to Japan.

The thing about the Japanese bow is that its -so low-.  In Japan the lower the bow the more respect you're showing to someone.  Oh and weakness.  Lower the bow, the more weakness you're displaying.  Of course such details are below the leader of the free world.  Heck the Emperor of Japan is just a figurehead anyways, I bet plenty of people say "Damn the protocol!" and kiss the ground anyways.

Tch.  Well at least we got the White House spin!

"...But I don’t think anybody who was in Japan – who saw his speech and the reaction to it, certainly those who witnesses his bilateral meetings there – would say anything other than that he enhanced both the position and the status of the U.S., relative to Japan."

I had a friend try to argue this point with me.  "Well whats one bow if it gets stuff done?"  How the public  of the nation in question views the representative of your nation has NOTHING to do with trying to get things done diplomatically right?  If we're going to sit down with another nation and engage in diplomacy shouldn't it be done as equals?  It's not even that the Japanese find bowing so completely offensive.  There are correct ways to do a bow and to show respect without conceding weakness.  Its just that nobody told Obama that.

"The bow as he performed did not just display weakness in Red State terms, but evoked weakness in Japanese terms....The last thing the Japanese want or need is a weak looking American president and, again, in all ways, he unintentionally played that part."

Hey about just shaking his hand next time?  None of Japan's newspapers will be so embarrassed by a handshake that they'll refuse to publish the picture.  Unlike your bow.

By the time we get to the Chinese bow there's nothing left to say.  Apparently Obama just likes bowing when its completely inappropriate.  If its incompetence then its crossed that line into stupidity.  Seriously, not bowing isn't hard.  In fact I do it pretty much every day.  I'm pretty sure I've gone years without bowing!  The alternative is that he truly believes it's ok to whore out the respect of his both position and that of the United States for the chance of diplomatic gain.

Or that he's a Japanese, muslim, communist.  (I love you fringe <3)

Like the title says:  We can all hope its just incompetence.

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