Free Markets, Free People

The Bow

I‘ve got to tell you I’m a lot less excited about “the bow” Barack Obama gave the Emperor of Japan than many on the right.  But it does, surprisingly, show an amazing lack of sophistication in our supposed cool and sophisticated President.  Not about Japanese culture in particular – a bow is not necessarily a bad thing if it is a bow of equals.  His was decidedly not a bow of equals.  But instead it demonstrates his lack of knowledge concerning the job he holds.  American presidents don’t bow (at least to that extent) to foreign kings or emperors.  Just as we don’t dip our flag to any king or emperor, we don’t bow before them.  In fact, we made sure that we’d never have ranks and/or titles of nobility in this country by essentially outlawing them.  His bow is just another in a long line of indicators that he’s not well prepared for the job.

I think what offends Americans – at least some Americans – is the type of bow Mr. Obama used. Too deep, eyes to the ground, etc. etc. You can read all of the critiques elsewhere. Had he matched the Emperor’s bow (much like the bow he gave the Empress), no problem.

You have to wonder who his protocol people are and whether or not he listened to them or did this on his own. Regardless, he looked foolish and that’s not what we pay our Presidents to do. Of course, as some have pointed out, it’s probably, better than blowing your lunch in the Japanese PM’s lap George HW Bush did – but not much.

In diplomacy, symbolism is very, very important. So is tradition. Both were set on their ear with the bow. You have to wonder when Obama is going to realize that with the job comes the examination of every single thing he does or doesn’t do. But in the big scheme of things, I find his gaff below to be much worse than his bow to the Emperor of Japan.

The "Crotch Salute"

The "Crotch Salute"

Commander’s in Chief salute or put their hands over their hearts at appropriate times during ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknowns on Veteran’s day (like when everyone else is saluting or putting their hand over their heart). They don’t stand there giving a crotch salute. Typically self-absorbed, I’m sure he just completely forgot this particular ceremony wasn’t all about him.



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15 Responses to The Bow

  • The first thing that popped into my mind: This man doesn’t understand what it means to be a U.S. President.

  • McQ-
    Do you actually think this man actually cares about the people in our armed forces, living or deceased?

    I’m not saying he has anumus towards them, I just don’t think he particularly cares. He strikes me as a man who cares for very little besides himself  (and probably his kids. He’s still human, just massively self-absorbed)

  • Heh, once again the Imeme Not Ready for Prime Time players conduct another couple of skits on the world stage.
    His advisory staff on foreign affairs must all come from Chicago.   What a self absorbed little twerp.  I have never, and considering Nixon and Carter are notches on my “I survived this President” stick, have had so little respect for a President, because he deserves so little.  He demeans the office on a daily basis.  Every other President I have, or have had, an interest to meet.  This one, I wouldn’t even shake his hand, and I’m beginning to think if I had to, I’d want to wash it pretty quickly thereafter.
    Low life idiot.  I visit the Unknown every time I get to Washington.  I’ve witnessed that most 10 year old kids understand it better than he does.

  • Bowing to the Emperor is FAR WORSE than throwing up in the PM’s lap. The bow was INTENTIONAL action. The vomiting was due to illness, and clearly unintentional.
    Also, why are we giving this guy a pass about having perhaps bad protocol office staff or whatever. How many of US, past the age of about 10, needed someone to tell us to put our hand over our heart during the anthem? Again, his action is WILLFUL.
    We also would, before meeting an Emperor, make a quick check of the rules of address. It’s common sense, courtesy, and a selfish desire to not appear to be an idiot. Clearly our Presidents suffers none of those afflictions.

  • I guess his mom should have gotten him up at 3 a.m. instead, so that she could have also taught him to put his freakin’ hand over his heart.

  • So what is the administration’s excuse this time? Tying his shoelaces? Disgusting.
    I think it is partly wishful thinking–he wishes bowing would catch on at the White House. He probably has a special Presidential ring on order, modeled on the Pope’s.

  • And did he really say, in a speech to the Chinese, allegedly about censorship and the free flow of information –  “i wouldn’t have to listen to people criticize me so often…”?  That wasn’t a joke?  No, it wasn’t.  It really really really IS all about him, all the time, and he’ll  be more than happy to discuss himself with you, regardless of the actual subject.
    Plenty to criticize President “Imeme”, plenty.

  • If you watch the video of the bow, (actually, bows … it’s like a bad comedy bit toward the end) it’s a patronizing thing, rather than a sign of respect.
    The man is so far outta his league, it’s painful to watch.  W sounded like an idiot, but at least he knew how to comport himself among other world leaders.

    • Couldn’t agree more on the stupid shit he does because he is sometimes so self consumed, like the failure to acknowledge with a salute or hand over heart .  As far as the bow, no big deal for me.  About the same when Bush kissed the Saudi High Prince on the cheeks and then walked around with a sheepish grin clutching his Royal Highness’s hand while they sauntered around like really good friends.  It looked ridiculous but Bush just did it because it was the spur of the moment,  he had probably been counseled to.  Yep I know they hold hands over there… and kiss each other.  But that is among good friends, and I would seriously doubt they are friends.  Acquaintances sure,good  friends, no.  But the failure to salute was/is stupid. 

  • In Japan you either bow or you shake hands.  You don’t do both at the same time, it looks stupid.
    I spent a lot of time in Japan and I can speak from personal experience, having done that and having my Japanese friends giggle out of embarrassment.

  • He grew up in Indonesia, so he’s supposed to be sensitive to other cultures. But he can’t figure out to be sensitive to his own by putting his hand over his heart – even as everyone else in the audience does it. This is his second crotch salute, BTW – now it has a name for god’s sake.
    I cannot wait to see the SNL skit.

  • supposedly this photo is from “hail to the Chief” and not from the national anthem…Paterrico has an update to his post about the same photo.

  • After that bow in Tokyo, the President must have been “teabagging” by the time he got to Beijing.