Obamateurism of the Day

posted at 8:05 am on April 3, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

We covered this yesterday when it happened, but in my estimation, the worst amateur moment thus far in the Obama presidency came when the President of the United States executed a bow to a monarch so deep that he literally had to take a step back to balance himself. Not just any monarch, either, but one of the most repressive among those nations friendly to the US. Interestingly, this came just after Barack Obama met with another monarch, and the contrast between Barack Obama’s show of respect is striking. I put together this video to demonstrate it:

People criticized George Bush for holding hands with the Saudi king, but holding hands does not signify submission to another’s authority, and certainly not in the manner that Obama’s bow does here. Holding hands is a sign of friendship. And for those who believe that a bow is another sign of friendship, note that Obama didn’t execute a bow like this for the Queen of the UK, and the Saudi monarch doesn’t bother to reciprocate, either.

So what’s the protocol for heads of state? Anderson Cooper hinted at it in his coverage of Obama’s meeting with the British monarch:

When President and Mrs. Obama met the Queen tonight, there was a handshake, and both the President and the Queen both nodded respectfully to each other.

Was it a bow? Not quite. It was more of a, “I know you are a head of state and so am I. We are both heads of state together and this is what heads of state do when they meet other heads of state.” In other words they bow to each other without actually bowing.

Well, that certainly went out the door, didn’t it? And I’m certain that Obama’s fans will try to rationalize this, but my good friend Scott Johnson at Power Line notes that the DU had already put together a defense of Michelle Obama if she didn’t curtsy when meeting the Queen:

In fact, protocol dictates that she not do so.

Angier Biddle Duke, President Kennedy’s Chief of Protocol told this very poignant story…

Before the Kennedy’s first state visit to England, Jacqueline Kennedy asked Duke whether she should curtsy to the Queen. He told her no because she was the wife of the head of state and heads of state and their wives do not go around bowing and curtsying to one another.

Three years later, after her husband’s funeral, Mrs. Kennedy received guests in the White House family quarters. When Prince Philip greeted her, she curtsied to him. Duke was surprised because Mrs. Kennedy was a stickler for protocol and had a steel trap memory for such things. Noting his surprise, Mrs. Kennedy whispered to him:

“Angie, I’m no longer the wife of a head of state.”

Duke said he immediately left the room and wept.

So, don’t be surprised if Mrs. Obama does not curtsy to the Queen. Also don’t be surprised if she gets jumped all over for it – but she’ll be doing – or not doing – exactly what she’s supposed to.

Indeed. And President Obama shouldn’t have bowed to the Saudi monarch, either.  No American President should ever make such an obsequious display to any monarch — ever.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!

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I have yet to see any of this on Fox, let alone MSM, or even hear Rush address it. Surely they all know by now! What is with them (at least the conservative one)?

Hmmm. 180 comments? I don’t see any. What gives? Maybe as “invisible” as MSM comments on this topic?

IrishEyes on April 3, 2009 at 9:18 PM

NOW they appear (after I do a post)!

IrishEyes on April 3, 2009 at 9:19 PM

Looks like a got the top of a new page – now I understand.

IrishEyes on April 3, 2009 at 9:19 PM

I was thinking how the whole war on terror has been going and the significance of Obama bowing to the king of Saudi Arabia.

1. The people of Saudi Arabia hate the infidels (America)

2. Saudi Arabia, via Bin Laden, sent Saudi Arabian terrorists to carry out the attacks on 911 and start a war with us.

3. 8 years of war later and the President of the USA bends his knee and bows deeply in submission to the King of Saudi Arabia. He committed an act of capitulation.

Doesn’t this mean the terrorists won? In their eyes wasn’t this an act of surrender?

Guardian on April 3, 2009 at 9:20 PM

Years of Muslim schooling.

At least now we can be pretty sure that The One’s a Sunni?

Dr. ZhivBlago on April 4, 2009 at 9:41 AM

Obama is such a tool.

How much more time to we have to endure this?

torrejranne on April 4, 2009 at 12:00 PM

The POTUS never bows down to other foreign heads-of-state, Obama. Someone please forward him the memo of what it means to be an American.

unwashed minion on April 4, 2009 at 2:30 PM

Did anyone miss the bowing and scraping The One has been doing for the Arabs all along? The TV address? He loves them.

And, as for this trip, the media should point out that he is not Will Smith and giving him a nice suit, an armoured Cadillac, a seal or a stage with Roman colums will not make him cool or effective. The media’s adulation of the clothes horse while MSNBCing his mistakes will work till someone notices that the Russians are savage bullies who just invaded somebody, OPEC is soaking us, the Chinese are using our debt to neuter us and Europe in not helping us in Afghanistan. Then even he will lose it as unemployment and inflation hit 15% or 20%. Unless we get the world to hand him an affirmative action break.

It is always the character of the man in the office.

IlikedAUH2O on April 4, 2009 at 2:56 PM


wade underhile on April 4, 2009 at 4:27 PM

Did anyone miss the bowing and scraping The One has been doing for the Arabs all along? The TV address? He loves them.


I don’t think his behavior to the Queen or Brown is a sign of his incompetence or the incompetence of his staff (although there’s plenty of that). I think those were deliberate insults. He gave the UK the finger right from the start when he returned the bust.

He is not even above “secretly” and literally giving the finger, as you’ll see if you search youtube a bit. So this is typical Obama.

BUT — he shows by his behavior to the Saudi king that he CAN follow protocol when he WANTS to, even when it’s inappropriate.

I think it’s clear he’s going to make a regular habit of sucking up to Islam and treating our allies with disrespect.

Daggett on April 4, 2009 at 6:12 PM

Hawkdriver Stay safe, kick butt, know we support you.

kanda on April 5, 2009 at 7:02 AM

Hawkdriver Stay safe, kick butt, know we support you.

kanda on April 5, 2009 at 7:02 AM

Hawkdriver Stay safe, kick butt, know we support you.

kanda on April 5, 2009 at 7:03 AM

That folks is a threepeat for Hawkdriver!!

kanda on April 5, 2009 at 7:06 AM

A few days ago, the rage was worded in defense of Hawaii as potential North Korean missile target. But I knew then that Alaska was the real target. The North Koreans have China and Russia to thumb noses at simultaneously to Japan and the USA in this missile launch. This grotesque excuse for a government has its own muscles of independence to flex.

U.S. President Barack Obama said the U.N. Security Council should deliver a strong message to North Korea for what analysts believe was effectively a test of a ballistic missile designed to carry a warhead potentially as far as Alaska.

By Linda Sieg and Jack Kim

maverick muse on April 5, 2009 at 9:46 AM

U.N. Sec. Gen. Ban Ki-moon, in whose pocket all along, where’s his denunciation of N.Korean missile launch?!

Secretary-General welcomes release of UN staffer held in Pakistan

04 April 2009 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed his happiness at the safe release of a United Nations staff member who was abducted in Pakistan two months ago, voicing his appreciation for the efforts of Government officials and others in securing his release.

United Nations

maverick muse on April 5, 2009 at 9:51 AM

Point being, Obama has no clue how to handle anything, and is delivering the USA into the hands of corrupt global internationalist pirates who plunder American generosity without regard for respect due our nation! How convenient for the UN to govern the US because of Obama The Nincompoop who will obstruct our military’s defense of our nation.

maverick muse on April 5, 2009 at 9:58 AM

Barrack Hussein Osama is actually the POSPOTUS.

Jerricho68 on April 6, 2009 at 9:57 AM

Why don’t all the Obama heads in the “Obamateurism of the Day” graphic have their own teleprompters? Are they being environmentally friendly by reducing, reusing & recycling?

adagioforstrings on April 10, 2009 at 3:20 PM