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1994 NYT Blasted Clinton For Bowing

From the archives of the New York Times:

THE WORLD; The President’s Inclination: No, It Wasn’t a Bow-Bow

Published: Sunday, June 19, 1994

"IF I see another king, I think I shall bite him," Teddy Roosevelt once growled. Offered that opportunity with the Japanese equivalent last week, Bill Clinton turned out to have had quite something else in mind.

It wasn’t a bow, exactly. But Mr. Clinton came close. He inclined his head and shoulders forward, he pressed his hands together. It lasted no longer than a snapshot, but the image on the South Lawn was indelible: an obsequent [sic] President, and the Emperor of Japan.

Canadians still bow to England’s Queen; so do Australians. Americans shake hands. If not to stand eye-to-eye with royalty, what else were 1776 and all that about? But Mr. Clinton, alas, is not the only one since George Washington who has seemed not quite to know what to make of monarchs.

There was that curtsy, during the Reagan years, when Lenore Annenberg, herself the chief of protocol, forgot herself entirely and did a little dip to greet a visiting Prince Charles. That prompted a stern warning from Miss Manners against those who might mock the effort that "was once put into freeing Americans from the necessity of bending their knees." Soon afterward, when Nancy Reagan greeted Queen Elizabeth II behind closed doors, her press secretary acknowledged that Mrs. Reagan had bowed her head but insisted, "It was definitely not a curtsy."

With the imperial visit last week, official Washington was clearly determined to show that it knew well what courtesies should be showered on the 175th inheritor of the most formal throne on earth.

Guests invited to a white-tie state dinner at the White House (a Clinton Administration first) were instructed to address the Emperor as "Your Majesty," not "Your Highness" or, worse, "King." And in what one Administration aide called "some emperor thing," an Army general was cautioned that he should not address the Emperor Akihito at all as he escorted him to the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

But the "thou need not bow" commandment from the State Department’s protocol office maintained a constancy of more than 200 years. Administration officials scurried to insist that the eager-to-please President had not really done the unthinkable.

"It was not a bow-bow, if you know what I mean," said Ambassador Molly Raiser, the chief of protocol.

White House officials described Mr. Clinton’s tilt as something of an improvisation. Because Emperor Akihito broke with tradition in turn to raise his glass at the state dinner, some even said Mr. Clinton had managed something of a breakthrough.

"Presidents don’t bow, and Emperors don’t toast," one official said. "So this was a little bit like the cultures meeting each other halfway."

Funny, but we haven’t noticed any similar castigations of Mr. Obama in the pages of the New York Times.

But that was then and this is now.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, November 16th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

10 Responses to “1994 NYT Blasted Clinton For Bowing”

  1. Chuckk says:

    Obama wasn’t bowing. He was bending down to shine the emperor’s shoes.

  2. wardmama4 says:

    Here I thought he was bending down to kiss a**!

  3. proreason says:

    The Slimes is too stupid to be embarrassed about anything.

  4. MinnesotaRush says:

    And furthermore .. the hard work and spirit of all that “what else were 1776 and all that about?” .. is no longer part of the “progressive American experience” (aka dems/libs/o-blah-blah et al).

  5. Tater Salad says:

    TO OBAMA By Patrick J. Buchanan

    Barack says we need to have a conversation about
    Race in America .. Fair enough. But this time, it
    Has to be a two-way conversation. White America
    Needs to be heard from, not just lectured
    To.. This time, the Silent Majority needs to
    Have its convictions, grievances and
    Demands heard. And among them are
    These: First, America
    Has been the best country on earth for
    Black folks. It was here that 600,000
    Black people, brought from Africa in slave
    Ships, grew into a community of 40
    Million, were introduced to Christian salvation,
    And reached the greatest levels of freedom
    And prosperity blacks have ever known.
    Wright ought to go down on his knees and thank
    God he is an American.
    Second, no people
    Anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than
    White Americans. Untold trillions have
    Been spent since the ‘ 60s on welfare, food
    Stamps, rent supplements, Section 8 housing,
    Pell grants, student loans, legal
    Services, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits
    And poverty programs designed to bring the
    African-American community into the mainstream.
    Businesses and colleges have engaged in
    Discrimination against white folks — with
    Affirmative action, contract set-asides and
    Quotas — to advance black applicants over white
    Applicants. Churches,
    Foundations, civic groups, schools and
    Individuals all over America have donated their
    Time and money to support soup kitchens, adult
    Education, day care, retirement and nursing
    Homes for blacks.

    We hear the grievances.

    Where is the gratitude??

    Barack talks about new ‘ladders of opportunity’ for
    Blacks. Let him go to Altoona? And
    Johnstown, and ask the white kids in Catholic
    Schools how many were visited lately by Ivy
    League recruiters handing out scholarships for
    ‘deserving’ white kids.? Is white
    America really responsible for the fact that the
    Crime and incarceration rates for
    African-Americans are seven times those of white America?
    Is it really White America’s fault that illegitimacy in
    The African-American community has hit 70
    Percent and the black dropout rate from high
    Schools in some cities has reached 50 percent?
    Is that the fault of white America or, first and
    Foremost, a failure of the black community itself?
    As for Racism, its ugliest manifestation is in
    Interracial crime, and especially interracial
    Crimes of violence. Is Barack
    Obama aware that while white criminals
    choose black victims 3 percent of the time,
    Black criminals choose white victims 45 percent
    of the time?
    Is Barack aware that black-on-white rapes are 100
    Times more common than the reverse, that
    Black-on-white robberies were 139 times as
    Common in the first three years of this
    Decade as the reverse?
    We have all heard ad nauseam from the Rev. Al
    about Tawana Brawley, the Duke rape case and Jena. And all turned out to be hoaxes. But about the epidemic of black
    Assaults on whites that are real, we hear
    Nothing. Sorry, Barack, some of us have heard it all before,
    About 40 years and 40 trillion tax dollars ago.

    We are a Christian Nation

    Even if Mr. Obama says we are not.

  6. beautyofreason says:

    But you see, Obama is a saint to the left. He can bow to every world despot and a few non-despots if he pleases. He is the golden boy.

    The left doesn’t mind. They are trying to make their “change” irreparable so that conservatism as we know it will never again have a forum in this country.

    Stopped at a store today. The guy behind the counter was wearing a shirt with the communist symbol. The woman checking out mentioned the bad economy and said “where’s my stimulus money,” followed by “we need a revolution,” to which the clerk responded heartily. Gag.

  7. Chuckk says:

    When is a bow not a bow?

  8. canary says:

    Clinton may have slipped one on Obama.

    Here’s the clip of his repeated bowing to the Japan Emperor’s Wife
    Notice her facial expressions and backing, then turning away

    (the Emperor saving his wife from Obama)

    Footage comparing other world leaders handshake to Obama’s bow
    cute http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U6fL7Y4BZA

    • Confucius says:

      Nice videoclips.

      Regarding the first clip:

      –Notice how Obama’s bow to the Emperor is deeper than that to the wife. The difference suggests the bowing has meaning to Obama and that it’s not just reflex (or bad manners).

      –Notice how the wife makes eye contact with Obama right up to the point when he bows. She then diverts her eyes and slightly turns away her head. This suggests she was embarrassed.

      Regarding the second clip:

      –Notice how the world leaders who come from cultures where bowing is the norm DON’T bow.

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