It never fails that any criticism of President Obama from conservatives is met with the usual “they’re overblowing it/they’re being stupid” cry from some on the left, and this weekend is no different. In response to the legitimate outcry over the President bowing at a clear 90 degree angle to Japanese Emperor Akihito, liberals at blogs like “The Moderate Voice” (does that place even have any moderates posting there anymore?), Alan Colmes’ blog, and others are blasting conservatives for getting upset at our President allegedly “observing a cultural custom.”
Think again. Both Ed Morrissey and Allahpundit dug up a 1994 New York Times piece back when the first Obama bow controversy emerged, and Ed reposted the link to the article again today. In it, the liberal NYT talks about a tradition among American Presidents that does not involve bowing:
It wasn’t a bow, exactly. But Mr. Clinton came close. He inclined his head and shoulders forward, he pressed his hands together. It lasted no longer than a snapshot, but the image on the South Lawn was indelible: an obsequent President, and the Emperor of Japan.
Canadians still bow to England’s Queen; so do Australians. Americans shake hands. If not to stand eye-to-eye with royalty, what else were 1776 and all that about?
Guests invited to a white-tie state dinner at the White House (a Clinton Administration first) were instructed to address the Emperor as “Your Majesty,” not “Your Highness” or, worse, “King.” And in what one Administration aide called “some emperor thing,” an Army general was cautioned that he should not address the Emperor Akihito at all as he escorted him to the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.
But the “thou need not bow” commandment from the State Department’s protocol office maintained a constancy of more than 200 years. Administration officials scurried to insist that the eager-to-please President had not really done the unthinkable.
To emphasize, it is NOT a “cultural custom” of any kind for any POTUS to bow as Obama did to a head of state. But apparently this State Department – and this President – think differently.
So, “Moderate” Voice’s Kathy Kattenburg, does this make the NYT a group of “yokels” as well? Newsflash: When even the nation’s most liberal newspaper backs up a point conservatives are making, that usually means the left is flat out wrong. Sometimes, lefties, President Obama does make mistakes, and clearly this was one of those times -as was the outrageous bow he made to the Saudi King.
If you’re ok with American Presidents bowing like he has to other heads of state, then perhaps you were disappointed with the outcome of the Revolutionary War, too.
Update – 12:17 PM: Check out these photos of other world leaders meeting with the Emperor of Japan. How culturally insensitive of them not to bow. Yokels!
(via ST reader 2Hotel9)
Cross-posted to Right Wing News, where I am helping guestblog for John Hawkins on Sundays.