U.S. official: Obama “speechless” at uproar over bow

posted at 5:41 pm on November 23, 2009 by Allahpundit

I’m speechless that he’s speechless. After 10 months of conservatives grumbling about his world “apology tour” and rhetorical diminution of American exceptionalism, replete with a bow to the king of Saudi Arabia(!), he’s suddenly shocked to find they’re not keen on seeing him go perpendicular for the emperor of Japan? If he simply doesn’t care, fine. But “speechless”?

“Obama’s attitude was, this is an elderly gentleman in a country where this kind of greeting is customary,” said the official. “It does not seem extraordinary to show this kind of gesture to him.”

“The Fox News poll said that 67 percent of Americans thought [the bow] was a good thing for him to have done,” the official continued. “When the president heard that some people had complained, I’d characterize his reaction as: The notion that the United States is somehow humbling or humiliating itself by showing respect for a local custom, when it is transparently the most powerful country in the world, leaves me speechless.”

It wasn’t customary, though. It was “jarring and inappropriate,” even by Japanese standards, and “evoked weakness in Japanese terms.” As Ace explained, it’s not that the bow shows America “humbling itself” or whatever, it’s that it makes Obama look like an eager-to-please chump who believes that silly gestures like this in any way advance American interests. And if he looks like a chump to our allies, you can guess what non-allies are thinking. Here’s Cheney from this morning’s Scott Hennen Show laying into him about the KSM show trial and the bow, which he calls “fundamentally harmful.” Skip ahead to 9:30 for the latter. Exit question: For all the hype about his skill at media manipulation, The One’s really not that great at optics, is he? From that weird fake presidential seal during the campaign to his bizarre Greek Obamapolis staging for the DNC acceptance speech to the repeated bows, which cost him more in political capital than they earn, you’d think the new great communicator could do better.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

FYI: Using Americans’ ignorance of Japanese traditions and culture doesn’t change the fact it was a mistake.

Emily M. on November 23, 2009 at 6:25 PM

Thank you,my dear young lady! You are my hope for the future.

katy the mean old lady on November 23, 2009 at 7:31 PM

What’s the voltage in Japan? Maybe they forgot to bring the right adapter for the Teleprompter cord.

/sarc

cs89 on November 23, 2009 at 7:31 PM

That fact that the Fox Poll said what it did?

This is a non story.

On to the next….

AprilOrit on November 23, 2009 at 6:44 PM

If you read the poll?

The question (#18) is framed “if that is the country’s custom.”

It may be customary to bow in Japan, but it is not customary for world leaders to bow to each other and never for American Presidents. This is established precedent for a couple plus hundred years, though it’s one that many Americans probably don’t know about.

Also, the bow that Obama made was not the proper kind of bow for the situation even if they weren’t world leaders, or if Obama wasn’t the POTUS. It was far too deep and would more appropriately be used when the person bowing is abjectly apologizing or even groveling.

The Japanese find the whole incident embarrassing and Japanese media have suppressed the photos and videos of the bow.

Not surprising that Americans don’t know that because it hasn’t been reported that way over here, but if they did know the whole story, I bet 67% would not have answered yes to that question.

Missy on November 23, 2009 at 7:41 PM

Heres what offends me about the bow.

Obama and Co. say it’s about “respect for local custom”. But these same elitist liberals DO NOT demand the same respect for American custos and traditions when visitors/immigrants come here. They’re not expected to learn English. They’re encouraged to maintain their separate culture” for diversity. They no longer believe in the “melting pot” where 2nd generation immigrants were as “American” as our forefathers.

They swoon over the deference shown by Obama’s bow. But they call us racists if we demand the same deference to OUR customs here at home.

jeanneb on November 23, 2009 at 7:45 PM

This “Long legged Mackdaddy” is nothin but a lyin gumby doll!
I hope the fool bends over in a bow to Burger King or some other faux king, dictator, or head of something and gets stuck there like the Gumby dolls we used to have as kids.

Then the whole wide world can be kickin his dumb ass!

dhunter on November 23, 2009 at 7:45 PM

He a chi-town thug that promised everybody a check… You know “obama money”…. So the sheeple voted for him…..Now no check & they all start BLATTING!!!!!!

So put your BIG GIRL underpants on & lets vote all the thugs out…………..

1luckydogg on November 23, 2009 at 7:49 PM

Here was the protocol in 1954 when I attended the American school for diplomatic families in Japan .
1: We, as Americans, do not acknowledge any head of a foreign country as our superior.

katy the mean old lady on November 23, 2009 at 8:04 PM

The “elderly gentleman” defense??
Funny I don’t recall him bowing to John McCain.

kooly on November 23, 2009 at 8:11 PM

If I was a Japanese national being given the honor of visiting the emperor that would not have been an appropriate bow (IF Obama had bowed correctly in the manner he bowed, which he did not). If I was the man who cleans the emperor’s toilets that MIGHT be an appropriate bow. If I was the CEO of a Japanese corporation that would not be an appropriate bow (unless my product killed a bunch of people)

karasoth on November 23, 2009 at 8:27 PM

What does Obama think the reaction of citizens of other nations would be if they saw their leader bow before another?

DarkKnight3565 on November 23, 2009 at 8:45 PM

Tomorrow, from the WH, Mr. Gibbs

“The president is speechless at the ignorance of his countrymen; that’s why he needs the teleprompter”.

It was telling that the emperor didn’t return his bow. He was probably bemused and shocked at what a fool was in front of him.

No one is more miffed at lack of culture and protocol, than the Japanese. The WH should fire their protocol team because they’re all nitwitts.

Schadenfreude on November 23, 2009 at 8:48 PM

He’s speechless?*
Take another bow, please.

——
*That won’t last long. Guaranteed.

Blackacre on November 23, 2009 at 9:10 PM

Does he start these tours saying to himself “I’m going to kiss as much ass as I can this trip!”?

Lonetown on November 23, 2009 at 9:14 PM

Look, China owns how much of the total US debt? 24%? 27%? Japan owns a solid 20%. If he can kiss China’s ass, at least he can scrape a bow for Japans face.

MarkT on November 23, 2009 at 9:20 PM

Please, GOD, let this end soon, Please. I’m so embarrassed.

elclynn on November 23, 2009 at 10:19 PM

Exit question: For all the hype about his skill at media manipulation, The One’s really not that great at optics, is he? From that weird fake presidential seal during the campaign to his bizarre Greek Obamapolis staging for the DNC acceptance speech to the repeated bows, which cost him more in political capital than they earn, you’d think the new great communicator could do better.

That’s not an exit question, but never mind.

His great communication consists of campaign “soaratory” – voluminous fluff that makes people want to give the world a Coke. He’s an empty suit, and the people who voted for him are clueless yokels.

I would love to see some brain images from people while they thought about the Chosen One, and compare it with people who are praying to God. I’ll bet they’re very similar.

disa on November 23, 2009 at 10:30 PM

Speechless, huh? Well, at least we found a way to shut him the Egomaniac in Chief up.

Y-not on November 24, 2009 at 12:08 AM

Obama “speechless” at uproar over bow

Change that to clueless.

n0doz on November 24, 2009 at 2:44 AM

Barry speechless? Gee! What a surprise! More lies about Barry from the White House.

Fed45 on November 24, 2009 at 4:24 AM

Heres what offends me about the bow.

Obama and Co. say it’s about “respect for local custom”. But these same elitist liberals DO NOT demand the same respect for American custos and traditions when visitors/immigrants come here. They’re not expected to learn English. They’re encouraged to maintain their separate culture” for diversity. They no longer believe in the “melting pot” where 2nd generation immigrants were as “American” as our forefathers.

They swoon over the deference shown by Obama’s bow. But they call us racists if we demand the same deference to OUR customs here at home.

jeanneb on November 23, 2009 at 7:45 PM

Good points.

Last time we had a president bow this low, it was George Bush, and he had an excuse for putting his head in the Japanese PM’s lap.

CPL 310 on November 24, 2009 at 5:51 AM

Couldn’t the teleprompter operator some up with an adequate reply?

olesparkie on November 24, 2009 at 8:14 AM

I don’t believe the poll that said 67% of Americans approved of that Bow not now not ever. My father fought in the Pacific in WWII, he told me and there is evidence, the Japanese were Vicious, they were fighting to win, and their Emperor who told them he was GOD encouraged them to KAMIKAZE. They wiped out an entire Chinese village, when they suspected them of protecting American Military people. So How does The President think the Chinese feel about that BOW? The Japanese occupied Korea for a 100 years, how does the President think the Koreans feel about that BOW? This was supposedly to show respect to an elderly man whose father was responsible for how many American and allied deaths in WWII? This administration is completely ignorant of Geography or recent American and World History.

There is NO Excuse for Obama posturing like this in front of a Japanese FIGURE HEAD.

Dr Evil on November 24, 2009 at 11:46 AM

Was Barry asking the Elderly Gentleman to ‘Do Sex to Me’?

PappaMac on November 24, 2009 at 11:55 AM

Glad the President could get his fill of narcissistic supply at our expense. (Or at least try to – how’s that goin’, chief?)

RD on November 24, 2009 at 5:32 PM

Rihanna – “Take a Bow” Lyrics

How about a round of applause
A standing ovation

You look so dumb right now
Standing outside my house
Trying to apologize
You’re so ugly when you cry
Please, just cut it out

[Chorus]
Don’t tell me you’re sorry cuz you’re not
Baby when I know you’re only sorry you got caught
But you put on quite a show
You really had me going
But now it’s time to go
Curtain’s finally closing
That was quite a show
Very entertaining
But it’s over now
Go on and take a bow

tmitsss on November 25, 2009 at 10:10 AM

Comment pages: 1 2