Thursday, April 02, 2009

What's Up With This?

When President Obama met Queen Elizabeth II yesterday, he nodded his head as he shook hands. This was an entirely appropriate way for an American President to meet the Queen of England.

(We'll give the whole touching the Queen controversy a pass...Mrs. Obama should have been coached on this, but the assumption is this was a gesture of friendship not meant to offend.)

However, I confess to being more than a little, well, creeped out by the way President Obama greeted the King of Saudi Arabia: a very deep bow, completely bent over at the waist, with bent knee. (Click the title of this post for a photo.)

There have been rumors that somehow President Obama didn't know the State Department had a protocol office -- how is this even possible? -- but that would seem to be true, at this point.

How did the President of the United States miss the memo that Americans -- most especially the President of our country -- do not bow, bend the knee, and show submission to foreign monarchs?

And if he's going to bow, what's with the bent knee full bow to the Saudi Arabian monarch, but the head nod to the Queen of the nation which is our closest ally?

Moreover, if an ordinary American citizen such as myself happened to know that the Queen already had an iPod -- it was a cute news story a couple years back -- why didn't the White House know? Doesn't anyone use Google?

On the other hand, the signed score by Richard Rodgers was the kind of quintessentially American, one-of-a-kind gift which is traditional for such visits. Thumbs up.

Secretary of State Clinton also seems to need help from the State Department protocol office, as she didn't seem to have been briefed before visiting Mexico City's Shrine of Guadalupe a few days ago, asking "Who painted it?"

What makes that question even more egregious is that she had visited the Shrine approximately three decades ago.

I also visited the Shrine of Guadalupe in the late '70s, and I certainly haven't forgotten what I was told about the painting's miraculous origins. Regardless of what one personally believes about the creation of this stunning art, the question was beyond silly coming from the head of America's diplomatic corps.

While these stories have received some media play -- most heavily by conservative outlets -- can you even imagine the fits the New York Times and other mainstream media players would be having if this series of flubs was committed by members of a Republican administration? We'd never hear the end of stories about that rube, Sarah Palin, or whoever it happened to be.

Update: Scott Johnson doesn't mince words at Power Line regarding the now-infamous bow to the Saudi King: "It is a disgrace."

Welcome to Yahoo News readers!

Friday Update: Ed Morrissey has put together a video comparing how President Obama greeted the Queen of England with how he bowed before the King of Saudi Arabia, and asks "What does that say to the world?"

Ed's opinion regarding the bow to the King: "No American President should ever make such an obsequious display to any monarch — ever."

Saturday Update: Power Line's Scott Johnson notes that, as far as the mainstream media are concerned, this incident seems not to have ever happened.

Ed Morrissey and The Anchoress note that the New York Times complained when President Clinton seemed to incline his shoulders towards Japan's Emperor Akihito, yet they have chosen to ignore President Obama's deep bow.


Blogger Dana said...

Well said, Laura. And considering the MSM outlets still find a spot here or there to make fun of a Bush gaffe, if Obama had an R after his name, this would, one could safely assume, be fodder for at least five more years.

12:42 PM  
Blogger Barb the Evil Genius said...

Maybe Obama really is a Muslim??

10:16 AM  
Blogger NoirGirl said...

Great commentary, Laura. The bowing thing creeps me out, too. And, I'm sorry, I have a really hard time believing that all this stuff is gaffs. He took a veritable army of staff overseas with him. There must be some protocol advisers in the mix. If regular people like us can see that there's something wrong, why can't all the paid staff see it?

7:02 AM  

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