Saturday, April 11, 2009
He bowed. No matter how you spin it, Obama bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia, and it wasn't even in Saudi Arabia that he did it. The real issue is, what does it signify?
From what I've read, I understand that it is a long-time tradition, if not policy, that American presidents do not bow to any monarch, going back to the founding of the Nation. Our revolution, after all, was about replacing a monarchy with a republican form of government, and in theory no monarch has any greater status than any other individual, hence no bowing.
I also understand that some presidents have broken that tradition on rare occasions.
So what's with Obama's bow? People say the man is brilliant, and presumably is smart enough to hire a good chief of protocol to tell him how to act in situations like the one in point. So, either the Big O (apologies to Oscar Robertson, former NBA star) didn't hire a chief of protocol, or hired an inept one, or hired a good one and didn't listen to him/her. In any case, ignorance is no excuse, particularly for such a brilliant man. I am therefore persuaded that Obama knew exactly what he was doing, and did it with a purpose. After all, he's brilliant.
Why, then, would Obama do such a thing, especially if, being brilliant, he must have known that it would give rise to a kerfuffle of, dare I say it, regal proportions? I think he must have been sending a message to the world that in his administration, America is abdicating the superpower position that it has earned over the last century or so by expending its blood and treasure in defense of Europe, first against the Nazis and then against the Soviets, and in defense of Asia, and the Pacific nations, first against the Japanese, then those same nations including Japan against the Soviets and the PRC and its proxies.
Apparently that message is being picked up, not only by the usual suspects (e.g., Iran, North Korea) but also by the piss-ant pirates of Somalia and others. I'm not the only one who's noticed, either. See this scathing piece in the UK's Telegraph.
The MSM is still reporting that Obama personally has good positive poll numbers, although the numbers relating to his policies has been steadily declining since inauguration. The American public is willing to cut the guy a lot of slack, but if his policies result in what I think they will, they'll be hanging him in effigy and, well, marching with pitchforks and torches. I wouldn't be surprised to see the first "impeach Obama" bumper stickers by Thanksgiving.
UPDATE 20090411:1252PDT-- It looks like Beldar sees things a bit differently from me, although he gets to pretty much the same place.