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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Will the Bow Be Obama's Waterloo

All right, the analogy is likely very ridiculous. I just really wanted to use the term Waterloo and also, I couldn't think of a better metaphor. That said, a couple days back it appears that President Obama bowed to King Abdullah. Let's go to the video tape.

Now, that certainly looks like a bow to me. If, in fact, President Obama did bow to King Abdullah then this would somewhere between a mildly disturbing to terribly troubling act of foreign policy protocol. (depending on just how much you dislike the president that is) Of course, it now appears that the bow is now just the beginning of the story.

This story received nearly no attention outside the blogosphere, talk radio, and some on Fox News. Still, it received enough attention that the administration felt the need to "clarify".

The White House is denying that the president bowed to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at a G-20 meeting in London, a scene that drew criticism on the right and praise from some Arab outlets.

"It wasn't a bow. He grasped his hand with two hands, and he's taller than King Abdullah," said an Obama aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

By doing so, they have also added another layer to the story. The story is no longer about a mild faux pas but rather it is about whether or not the administration is deceiving us. As the old saying goes, it's not the crime but the cover up. The bow itself is not that big a deal. What is a much bigger deal is a White House that denies what is so obvious to everyone.

This story has all the hallmarks of one that starts on a back burner and winds up a headlining story. It has the first element because it started as one no one seemed to care about. The second is the element of he said/he said. If this story was simply about the bow, it would have gone away a long time ago. It is no longer about that. It's now about a White House that is denying the obvious.

This is also the perfect story to take off in the new media environment. Between Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, and all the other new media sources this story will spread whether the MSM talks about it at all or not. For instance, right now there are just over 360,000 viewings of this video on Youtube. If that reaches one million by the end of the day tomorrow, that means the story has legs.

The main reason that I think this story will soon turn into a full blown scandal is because this is exactly the sort of story in which the offending party begins to change and create nuance to their own story. For instance, the White House is now claiming they reached down to shake hands with two hands. This is clearly not the case. So, we will likely see the story change, and it's possible it will change more than once. Once the story starts to change then the narrative takes on a life of its own.

As such, I predict that the bow will Obama's Waterloo, or at least, it will turn into a significant scandal that will drown out his message for at least a week.


Anonymous said...

The whitehouse said the President
gave two handed hand shake,this is not true. Track the footage of the
event to 56 seconds and you will clearly see the Presidents left hand free.

Anonymous said...

They should have just said yes he bowed. Because so what?

Anonymous said...

Its a shame Obama doesn't have a ranch in Crawford, Texas to take him back to so he can bow to him in private.

As far as whether that was inexcusable, it definitely was. However, we wouldn't have to be dealing with this guy if we weren't so firmly in his grasp.

Anonymous said...

the economy's in the gutter thanks to 8 years (plus 2 additional months) of mismanagement and the only thing the knee-jerk blogosphere can come up with is...a bow.

i actually praise Nobama for the bow, it's about time we acted more humble and respectful.

he needs to get back and fix the economy though. that's where we should put our energy.

mike volpe said...

Actually, right prior to this story I wrote one about the velocity of money and how it will cause hyper inflation. I have written about the financial crisis for a long time. This isn't the only story the blogosphere has come up with. It is, however, a story.

Bowing to a king means you see yourself as subservient. You can go through all the tortured logic you want but the bow is bad, and the denial is worse. Now, comes the story changing.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, though, Bush kissed the dude on the cheek and held his hand as they traipsed through the garden together. I'm not defending Obama, but nearly all of our presidents have paid their obesience to the Saudis ever since the 70's oil embargo. The real scandal here, as anonymous poster #3 points out, is that America is essentially obligated to be nice to these funders of terrorism and exporters of hatred (wahabbism).

If Obama can formulate an energy policy that reduces our dependance on foreign oil, it would go a very long way towards ending this humiliation (among other things more tangible). His failure to embrace nuclear as part of his proposed energy portfolio, in my opinion, makes this very unlikely. Pushing wind and solar as base-load solutions for all our energy needs is ignorant at best, or dangerous at worst. (Not to say that wind and solar have no place in our energy portfolio, but it should be a portfolio, not another single point of failure, like oil is now).


Anonymous said...

Just another lie from a White House run my Obama who goes out of his way to demean our Country. Obama bowed because he is sympathetic to all things Muslim. Just look at his appointees to the Justice and other departments.

Bananacaster: American Freedom Fighter!