Nov 23, 2009

Obama (Sort of) Comments on the Bow Flap: Controversy 'Leaves Me Speechless' [Surrender]

Barack Obama has responded, via an anonymous aide, to charges that by bowing to the Communist emperor of Japan he was actually surrendering and apologizing for World War II, which is technically illegal because he's not a citizen.

The Atlantic's James Fallows quotes a "U.S. government official who was on the trip" characterizing Obama's reaction to the criticism he received for the bow. He was just being polite, as opposed to terrified that America's status as a superpower will disappear down the toilet if its president stops being a dick all the time:

Obama's attitude was, this is an elderly gentleman in a country where this kind of greeting is customary. It does not seem extraordinary to show this kind of gesture to him. The Fox news poll said that 67% of Americans thought it was a good thing for him to have done. 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.

Rule No. 1 of being an unnamed White House adviser is Don't Put Words Directly in the President's Mouth Unless You Know What You're doing, so this was either a deliberate presidential pushback or a rogue element telling the truth. If it were the former, though, we'd imagine the White House would choose a more mainstream outlet to get the word out through than an Atlantic blog. Either way: If you have a problem with the president bowing to old Japanese men, Barack Obama personally thinks you're an idiot.

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