Friday, April 10, 2009

Why the Hypocrisy on President Obama's Bowing to the Saudi Prince

I usually don't quote Malkin but she gets it right here:

I have expressed my disgust many times over the years with the Bush administration’s kowtowing to Saudi Arabia. That notorious image of Bush holding hands with Saudi royalty in 2005 and doing sword dances with Wahabbists in 2008 sparked outrage on both the left and the right. The hand-holding has gotten us nowhere — and in fact, has made us less secure.

So I hope all the lefties who tore into Bush over his Saudi prostration will express equal disgust with President HopeAndChange’s literal bowing and scraping to King Abdullah. When JWF sent a link to the photo with Obama bent down like a serf (further than either he or Michelle dipped for Queen Elizabeth, by the way), I tried to give the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he dropped a contact lens or penny?

The same types of arguments were used at the time in criticism of the Bush hand holding incident as is used in referring to the Obama bowing event. This from a Texan:
I wonder if George W. Bush would have run for president if he'd known he'd have to hold hands with a hairy guy.

Holding hands with a hairy guy is part of the Bush economic stimulus package. So far, it's not working. Last week, Bush traveled to Saudi Arabia to beg the Saudis to increase oil production, the assumption being that if the Saudis started pumping more oil, gasoline prices would go down.

On Saturday, a photo showed Bush holding hands with Saudi King Abdullah. But it didn't do any good. The Saudis told Bush that they were already pumping enough oil.

This might have worked out better if Bush had sent King Abdullah a dozen roses. Like former NFL great and FTD pitchman Merlin Olsen always said, "Say it with flowers." Or how about chocolates? Maybe gas prices would drop if Bush had gone out to the mall and picked up some Godivas for the king. That is, until the Saudis found out Godiva was a chick who rode around nekkid on a horse.

This occurred to me Sunday morning when I took my Lexus to the Genie Car Wash on William Cannon Drive in South Austin to get it washed and filled up with $3.74-a-gallon gas. At those rates, I figure Bush should invite King Abdullah to dinner and a movie.

"He could probably go a little further," joked Kelly McDearmon, the Genie Car Wash worker who wiped down my car. "Flowers and a kiss, probably."

It's a daring gesture for a conservative family values politician such as Bush to be seen in public holding hands with a dude who could use a shave. Especially since the picture of those two clasping pinkies showed up in the paper the day after the story about California OK'ing gay weddings. That means Bush obviously cares about the American way of life being destroyed by gasoline prices.

One thing you could do to make ends meet is just quit buying groceries. Find out what stores have free samples and take the kids out to dinner there. Or you could just stay in the house with the air conditioner off. Or you could vacation in Pflugerville.

Now, I realize that it is supposedly an old Arab custom for men to hold hands. (Put another way, I'll bet you don't see Larry the Cable Guy on the Saudi comedy channel.) On the other hand, what if this is a practical joke and the Saudis are, as the kids say, punking Bush?

- Here is a picture of Bush bowing before a Saudi Prince.
This deference to a very bad country has been going on for decades; it didn’t start with Barack Obama, or with George W. Bush, or with John F. Kennedy for that matter.

Instead of impeaching Barack Obama, America needs to impeach its gas tanks.

And just imagine how much screaming there would be if Obama had let Abdullah hang a medal around his neck.

But the hysteria of the right is laughable. This was the editorial from the Washington Times.
In a shocking display of fealty to a foreign potentate, President Obama bowed to Saudi King Abdullah at the Group of 20 summit in London last week.

Mr. Obama later said in Strasbourg, France, "We have to change our behavior in showing the Muslim world greater respect." Symbolism is important in world affairs. By bending over to show greater respect to Islam, the U.S. president belittled the power and independence of the United States.

The bow was an extraordinary protocol violation. Such an act is a traditional obeisance befitting a king's subjects, not his peer. There is no precedent for U.S. presidents bowing to Saudi or any other royals. Former President Franklin D. Roosevelt shook hands with Saudi King Abdulaziz in February 1945. Granted, Mr. Roosevelt was wheelchair-bound, but former President Dwight D. Eisenhower shook hands when he first met King Saud in January 1957. Mr. Obama's bow to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques does not help his image with those who believe he is secretly a Muslim, and why he chose to bow only to the Saudi King and not to any other royals remains unexplained.

No Americans of any station are required to bow to royalty. It is one of the pillars of American exceptionalism that our country rejected traditional caste divisions. Article I Section 9 of the Constitution forbids titles of nobility and stipulates that no officeholder or government employee may "accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state" without the consent of Congress. Judith Martin wrote in her Miss Manners column in 2001 that bowing "is not an ordinary bit of foreign etiquette one might adopt out of courtesy when traveling. ... Americans do not properly bow to any royalty. We show respect for other countries' leaders the same way we do to our own."