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Obama’s the only President who’s ever bowed, except for all the others.

[ 113 ] August 27, 2012 |

A Republican PAC full of former Navy Seals, Special Operations for America, will be releasing an ad entitled “Bow to Nobody” at the RNC:

Ryan Zinke, the former Navy SEAL who started the super PAC, spoke exclusively with Breitbart News today. “The ad itself accurately portrays where this President is,” said Zinke. “It accurately portrays his core belief that America should not lead. This president is shaping America to be one of the followers, to relinquish our role as a world leader. I didn’t fight 23 years as a Navy SEAL to watch America bow to anybody.”

He continued, “It’s not just the king of Saudi Arabia. My friends from WWII that fought in the Pacific theater—when they see the president bow to the emperor of Japan, I’ve seen veterans cry[.]”

When asked whether it was inappropriate for former SEALs to speak out, as some on the left have alleged, Zinke answered, “If the veterans can’t speak out, who can? I think it’s a duty of every veteran and every citizen to be actively involved in our political process, especially when the president sets out to negotiate away our rights under the Constitution. There have been other veterans—TR, Eisenhower, JFK—they’ve been active in speaking out and shaping the policy and politics of our country[.]”

For reasons that will become abundantly clear, that emphasis is mine. Zinke’s logic is that he shouldn’t fight to protect American freedom if the President is going to go bowing around the world willy-nilly. Moreover, he feels entitled to take this stand because other former military men, including the man who was once the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, Dwight D. Eisenhower, remained “active in speaking out and shaping the policy of our country[.]” Implicit in Zinke’s claim is that someone like President Eisenhower would never diminish the office of the Presidency by bowing to foreign leaders. One problem: conservatives already floated this notion that the President never ever bows so I already know a little something about President Eisenhower: the man could not stop bowing. Hi there, Pope John XXIII!

Howdy to you, wife of Italian Prime Minister Giovanni Gronchi!

Hello again, Archbishop Iakovos of New York, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of North and South America!

Long time no see, Charles De Gaulle!

By Zinke’s logic, I believe that last bow means we have all been French since 2 September 1959. Eisenhower clearly demonstrated by that bow that the American President is a subordinate of the French, which means that for the past 50 years America has been a French territory with pretensions of sovereignty. Mon Dieu!

(Most of this post was originally published here on 15 November 2009. It seems stupid didn’t evolve much in the last three years.)

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  1. Warren Terra says:

    Central to the point of Special Education For America is that history started January 20, 2009. Remember: this is a bunch of people claiming to be concerned about the politicization of intelligence, all of whom were adults during Dubya’s Presidency and at least some of whom actually celebrated the outing of Valerie Plame. When interviewed – and I’ve heard their chief spokesthing on my local Public Radio station – they claim to be nonpartisan and not to be interested in discussing any events prior to the current administration.

  2. somethingblue says:

    He must be impeached retroactively.

    • mike grimes says:

      i agree….because of the points of; begahzi, killing americans w/drones, non born american, going against our constitution, and bowing down completly to a foreign dictator.
      not a knod of the head….the pics above are of priests and women….NOT foriegn dictators….but he bowed down with a polishing beltbuckles with forehead kind of bow….

  3. Jeremy says:

    (Most of this post was originally published here on 15 November 2009. It seems stupid didn’t evolve much in the last three years.)

    No kidding. Someone needs to write a program where every time someone mentions “Obama” and “bow” in the same paragraph, it posts a link to this post, or a Google image search of W bowing to foreign leaders.

    • Dana says:

      I wonder how much effort it would take to track down 60-something photos of (pre-Obama) presidents bowing for a daily “Bowing Blog” that will run through election day? More effort than I’m willing to put in no doubt. But it’d be fun to have that come up every time Obama and bow are strung together.

  4. Sorry, fellas, I can’t hear you over the sound of Osama bin Laden’s bullet-ridden corpse splashing into the Indian Ocean.

    But good luck with that.

  5. Tybalt says:

    I don’t understand what all this evidence has to do with the facts. America bows to no one!

  6. Eisenhower looks respectful, even courtly. Can’t have that now.

    Obama should say he was spittin’ terbacky juice on the King’s sandals, tell yew wut.

    Cretins.

  7. Incontinentia Buttocks says:

    But you forget that Ike was a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy!

  8. Gus says:

    According to a reliable conservative group, Ike was a ““conscious, dedicated agent of the communist conspiracy.” His masters in Moscow taught him subservience!

  9. Sly says:

    I didn’t fight 23 years as a Navy SEAL to watch America bow to anybody.

    Because fighting 23 years as a Navy SEAL to become a massive douchebag is a far superior outcome.

    • LoriK says:

      I had a very good prof in grad school who was a former SEAL. He must be spitting nails over this. It’s really just stupid and embarrassing in every way.

    • Murc says:

      Can you even BE a SEAL that long?

      My understanding is that being a SEAL is so brutally physically demanding that you stop being able to qualify to go into the field sometime in your 30s, usually.

      • ajay says:

        Well, I would imagine you can still be in the SEALs even if you are old and creaky; they need senior staff officers and supply blokes and pay sergeants and so on, just like every other unit.

        • Lurker says:

          Yep, but that’s clearly not the best career path available. I’m not an expert in the Naval NCO career development, but I’d imagine that if you are a very good special forces operator, and get old, you first become a trainer for new operators. Then, with experience, you go forward along the naval equivalent of a command sergeant line, most likely in SEAL units.

          Going to logistical side is a much clearer change of MOS, and most likely, it would be done because the careerpath as a trainer and later, senior enlisted advisor, is unavailable.

          • Holden Pattern says:

            At least one SEAL I know injured himself — badly enough that wasn’t clear that he would be able to deploy in combat again as a SEAL — and stayed a SEAL well after that as a instructor. That would have been in his early thirties. Haven’t heard from him in a few years, so not sure how long he kept doing that.

    • timb says:

      A disabled Veteran who is voting for a guy who will cut the VA.

      Logic ain’t his thing

  10. Steve S. says:

    Slightly off-topic; Felix just pitched his fifth 1-0 complete game since late June.

  11. DrTimmy says:

    Only Asshole-Americans could believe that bowing to foreign leaders has anything to do with leadership in international relations.

    What’s next? The handshake — the end of our hegemony!

    • Anonymous says:

      Hegemony is too big of a word. Try “The end of our Massive Cock” that’s what this is all about anyway, and as a buns it resonates with the castration fears that run rampant in a certain segment of the American Electorate.

    • UserGoogol says:

      I wouldn’t put it that way. (Partly because “Asshole-American” is just an asshole thing to say.) A lot of foreign relations involves petty symbolic nonsense, and it’s perfectly legitimate to put value in petty symbolism without being an “asshole.” George W. Bush engaged in various uncouth actions in his diplomatic relations (in addition to his more substantial errors) and he was criticized for them by Democrats.

      The problem (which is the point of SEK’s post, of course) is that Republicans are inventing symbolism where it doesn’t really exist, to fit their existing narrative of Obama denigrating the United States on the global stage.

      The idea of being concerned whether the President is representing the United States with the appropriate level of dignity is a perfectly fine one in moderation. The problem is that conservatives in general are excessively concerned with such dignity, and that for partisan reasons they’re being rather selective in what constitutes a violation of our national dignity. That’s not necessarily consciously self-serving bullshit either; people are invariably going to allow their preexisting conceptions color their views of people’s actions. The problem is that conservatives seem to be letting their cognitive biases run overtime.

  12. TKK says:

    Obama’s the only President who’s ever bowed, except for all the others.

    And he uses a TelePrompter!!1!!

  13. Anonymous says:

    It seems stupid didn’t evolve much in the last three years.

    Stupid doesn’t evolve, because there is no pressure to outperform other strains of stupid. No one with any stroke will just call bullshit on a strain of stupid. Even if there were such a person, there are enough people in this country to sustain even the most bullshittiest strain of bullshit. (See: Birtherism)

    So stupid doesn’t evolve into better, more convincing arguements. Stupid just mutates into infinite varieties of stupid.

  14. Herbert Hoover says:

    I LIKE IKE BETTER THAN LOUIS ST. LAURENT :smug: :cool: :ooh:

  15. sparks says:

    Hey, I know a president who never bowed to anyone – FDR! If you were a foreign leader, consider yourself fortunate if he even stood up to greet you! Polio schmolio, you could tell he was a manly man by the jaunty upward tilt of his cigarette holder!

  16. Herbert Hoover says:

    OH SHIT! THE DOUBLE U SAUDI MAKE-OUT PIX ARE BIRDMAN AND LIL WAYNE! http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m7n54o12Ho1qagxv6o1_500.jpg

  17. Jim Lynch says:

    “It’s not just the king of Saudi Arabia. My friends from WWII that fought in the Pacific theater — when they see the president bow to the emperor of Japan, I’ve seen veterans cry”.

    I look at it as more like: now we’re even. After all, H.W. Bush did vomit on Japan’s Prime Minister in full view of Tokyo’s elite.

    A few years earlier, Bush also made the poignant gesture and included representatives of Japan at a December 7th ceremony on the Arizona Memorial. No one, of course, could gainsay his particular bona fides in doing it, either. Imagine that nitwit’s reaction if Obama had been the first.

    • Heron says:

      Anyone who still has any animus against the Japanese(who didn’t attend one of their delightful prison camps) needs to get the hell over it already. They’ve been our closest, most reliable ally for 60 years now. They rely on us almost entirely for their security, they back us in almost every endeavor we undertake internationally, and beyond that they somehow manage to transform everything we invent into something 10x weirder and/or grander. Japan certainly has its share of problems which shouldn’t be understated, but this sort of festering resentment is just shameful.

      • Pseudonym says:

        So Japan is basically the wingnut vision of Israel?

      • Ed Marshall says:

        They have been a constant pain in the balls in the six-party talks on North Korea and are on my shit list today for it.

        • spud says:

          Missile tests over their territory, abducting citizens, and flooding the country with guns, counterfeit money and amphetamines tends to get nations a little pissy.

      • rea says:

        Anyone who still has any animus against the Japanese(who didn’t attend one of their delightful prison camps) needs to get the hell over it

        Can those of us who had relatives attending one of those institutions still be annoyed with them? Not that the Showa Emperor, much less his successor, had much to do with that.

        • Furious Jorge says:

          “Annoyed” is one thing.

          “Crying when the President bows to their Emperor at some stupid diplomatic function” is something else entirely.

          • witless chum says:

            There’s not particular reason to believe the SEAL dude didn’t make up the crying World War II vet. Those old dudes aren’t exactly known for crying in public, after all.

            • John Protevi says:

              “It’s not just the king of Saudi Arabia. My friends from WWII that fought in the Pacific theater — when they see the president bow to the emperor of Japan, I’ve seen veterans cry”.

              And you know what is an amazing coincidence? All those guys are cabbies and remember giving Tom Friedman a lift in the last few years.

          • The Dark Avenger says:

            The Showa Emperor did pay attention to the conduct of the war, gave advice to his War Cabinet and:

            According to Akira Fujiwara, Hirohito personally ratified the proposal by the Japanese Army to remove the constraints of international law on the treatment of Chinese prisoners on August 5.[9] Moreover, the works of Yoshiaki Yoshimi and Seiya Matsuno show that the Emperor authorized, by specific orders (rinsanmei), the use of chemical weapons against the Chinese.[10] During the invasion of Wuhan, from August to October 1938, the Emperor authorized the use of toxic gas on 375 separate occasions,[11] despite the resolution adopted by the League of Nations on May 14 condemning the use of toxic gas by the Japanese Army.

            From the Wiki.

    • DocAmazing says:

      It’s actually pretty funny that anyone in the modern US military would complain about Japan–a large part of our Asian/Pacific presence is sustained by being able to use Japanese bases in, for example, Okinawa; a bunch of doctrine and tactics from the fifties and sixties depended on the use of Japanese resources (and is still reflected in some military jargon–”hooch” from uchi, “honcho”, “ichiban” (number one) are still scattered in milspeak).

      But any handy stick can be swung in desperation, neh?

  18. Gareth Wilson says:

    Specifically complaining about Obama is obviously nonsense, but American presidents really shouldn’t bow to anyone. What makes the Emperor of Japan, or the Pope, superior to an American president and worthy of being bowed to?

    • Heron says:

      I think they probably just see it as a simple courtesy. I have some sympathy with your egalitarian aversion to the practice, however. Then again, everybody bows to everybody else in Japan; it’s practically a handshake over there.

      • Gareth Wilson says:

        True, but there are different forms of the bow and the presidents would be using the most respectful form possible. That means they’re acknowledging the Emperor as the divine descendent of the Sun Goddess, which is entirely inappropriate for an American politician.

        • Matt T. in New Orleans says:

          Because if he didn’t bow to the Japanese prime minister, we’d be hearing some jagoff with an over-inflated sense of his military career screech and moan about how that thuggish, Muslamic, hood-dapping “one of those people” got all uppity and didn’t show due respect to our valued ally like a president who knows his place should.

          Why should anyone show respect to the President of the U.S.? Why not bow? It’s all glamour and sparkle, like pretending we actually give a shit as a culture about free speech. Why not do the little for-show nonsense? World leaders should tango when they meet officially in public. Not a whole dance, just a quick back-and-forth, and then one with the screwing of the poor people.

        • Stag Party Palin says:

          Oh fuck off already. Answer me this: if you shake hands with a priest are you (1) acknowledging that, “The Pope and God are the same, so he has all power in Heaven and earth.” [Pius V], or (2) that you like buggering boys? C’mon now, choose, one or the other.

        • Murc says:

          True, but there are different forms of the bow and the presidents would be using the most respectful form possible.

          They’re not, actually. That would be the kowtow.

          • Pseudonym says:

            Isn’t that Chinese?

            • John says:

              Technically the kowtow is Chinese, but I think Murc is using it as the generic word for a deep bow whilst kneeling (dogeza or saikeirei are Japanese variants)

              • The Dark Avenger says:

                Kowtow has entered the English language as a word meaning excessive reverence or deference to another party.

                The original Chinese word meant to squat down and hit(lightly of course) ones’ forehead on the floor three times.

                The last time I know of it being done in Chinese recent history is when Chaing Kai-shek had to kowtow(gowdow in the Shanghai dialect) to the leader of the Green Dragon tong in Shanghai.

                This penalty was paid by him because when he visited Shanghai on this occasion in the mid-30s, he had omitted to visit the head of the GDT first to pay his respects, a breach of manners that was repaid by the kidnapping of his then-fiance Soong May-ling. The gowdow was necessary in order to obtain her release.

                Word to the wise: Do not f*ck with the GDT.

    • Pseudonym says:

      Why shouldn’t he bow to me though? After all, he works for me, I pay his salary, and I have a chance in a few months to decide not to rehire him.

      • Gareth Wilson says:

        You wouldn’t expect him to bow to any American, and it would be completely outrageous for him to demand to be bowed to. So why should he do it for a foreigner?

        • Hogan says:

          Their house, their rules.

        • SatanicPanic says:

          Different countries assign different meanings to different gestures. As someone who has seen hundreds of Japanese people bow in hundreds of different situations I can tell you Obama was just doing an everyday, nice-to-meet-you bow.

          Besides, the emperor in Japan would be the first person to admit he has no political power. And no one besides a few right wing cranks believes that divinity BS.

          • Gareth Wilson says:

            As someone who has seen hundreds of Japanese people bow in hundreds of different situations I can tell you Obama was just doing an everyday, nice-to-meet-you bow.

            Fair enough. As long as it doesn’t represent any admission of the Emperor being superior to the president, I can’t see the harm in it. But I believe that with the pope or the Saudi king it’s different – the bow really is acknowledging their superior status and isn’t just a cultural greeting between equals.

        • Angry Geometer says:

          Yes, Gareth, I’m sure foreign leaders are thinking, “sure, the US has enough nuclear weapons to wipe out the globe 100 times over, but their president bowed to me. Therefore, the US is weak! Ha ha ha!”

          There is certainly nothing ridiculous and implausible in your reasoning there, old chap. Things like the economic or military firepower don’t matter at all. All tactical decisions are based on the angle of the bow and whether it matches the G.A.R.E.T.H. (God, you Are an Exemplary Toss-off Hankystain) metric.

    • Warren Terra says:

      Why should the President even travel? Don’t those people understand that they should visit America, instead? Surely the greater surrender is not the bow but the twelve-hour plane flight to get there.

      And dude probably ate the local food, even though everyone knows hot dogs are Real American. Maybe even said a few words in the local lingo, even though English was good enough for Jesus.

      I mean, seriously, dude: get over yourself. To show we’re not a bunch of arrogant pricks, our representatives travel the world and when they get there they act like honored guests, not like imperial overlords. So: if the locals shake hands, they shake hands. If the locals hug, they hug. If the locals do the Hokey Pokey … well, you get the idea. When representing America abroad, rule 1 is Thou Shalt Not Humiliate The Country – but rule 2 is Thou Shalt Not Be A Total Jagoff To Thy Hosts. So, if a little bow isn’t inconsistent with the dignity of the office, and it’s a normal greeting, you offer a little bow.

      • RedSquareBear says:

        Yeah, I think these guys need to get slapped across the face with a copy of “Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands?” which is strange since these types tend to be IR SRS BIZNESSMAN types.

        Not that KBoSH is a perfect protocol guide mind you, it’s just a popular and lowest common denominator guide.

        • RedSquareBear says:

          Or “kibosh” (as in that which is put on something in order to end it) as an business writing instructor with an interest in international communications used to call it…

    • Furious Jorge says:

      Yeah, this is stupid.

  19. Sara says:

    and by “French,” you mean GAY!//gloss

  20. James E. Powell says:

    Does any of this have impact outside of the right-wing echo chamber? I’m not saying to let it slide, but is it something to be concerned about?

    Unlike the smears against Al Gore and John Kerry, I haven’t noticed that this has been picked up, repeated, and amplified by the mainstream corporate press/media.

    And I have to wonder if it doesn’t hurt Romney/Ryan with the uncommitted voters he needs to convince.

  21. Steve says:

    How is Obama bowing worse than Dubya kissing and holding hands with Prince Bandar bin Sultan ?

  22. ironic irony says:

    I am a vet, and I would like it noted that this fuck-ass only speaks for himself, not for veterans in general.

    Apparently, that lack of sleep during Hell Week dropped his IQ about, oh, a hundred points, permanently.

  23. Bexley says:

    Message to nutbar SEAL: keep humping that walrus.

  24. Hogan says:

    When asked whether it was inappropriate for former SEALs to speak out, as some on the left have alleged

    I would call bullshit on this except that it comes from Big Breitbart, so that goes without saying.

  25. Mike says:

    Here’s another one you might want to throw up. ‘Saint Ronnie’ bowing to Queen Elizabeth

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jocQgIBjPzc

  26. rea says:

    Mikado.
    From every kind of man
    Obedience I expect;
    I’m the Emperor of Japan —
    Katisha.
    And I’m his daughter-in-law elect!
    He’ll marry his son
    (He’s only got one)
    To his daughter-in-law elect!
    Mikado. My morals have been declared
    Particularly correct;
    Katisha.
    But they’re nothing at all, compared
    With those of his daughter-in-law elect!
    Bow — Bow —
    To his daughter-in-law elect!
    Chorus.
    Bow — Bow —
    To his daughter-in-law elect.
    Mikado.
    In a fatherly kind of way
    I govern each tribe and sect,
    All cheerfully own my sway —
    Katisha.
    Except his daughter-in-law elect!
    As tough as a bone,
    With a will of her own,
    Is his daughter-in-law elect!
    Mikado.
    My nature is love and light —
    My freedom from all defect —
    Katisha.
    Is insignificant quite,
    Compared with his daughter-in-law elect!
    Bow — Bow —
    To his daughter-in-law elect!
    Chorus. Bow — Bow —
    To his daughter-in-law elect.

  27. Boudleaux says:

    If only some trolls would show up, that, like this group of a-holes, can’t tell the difference between “bow,” as in “participate in the greeting ritual of some other culture,” and “bow,” as in “submit to the dominance of some other force or person.” What’s next, “the USA should not be the front end of anybody’s seagoing vessel?”

  28. Bart says:

    Ike bowing to De Gaulle! – Where was this photo when Kerry was running?

  29. Angry Geometer says:

    Fun fact: Barack Obama is the first person in history to pull off the simultaneous “embarrassing America” bow, terrorist fist jab and black power salute in competition. (He was disqualified from the Olympic team, though, because trace amounts of what was randomly decided to be an un-American type of mustard were found in his urine.)

    I’m still waiting for one of the right-wing experts in international body language to explain why bowing is so much more shameful than Bush getting to second base with the fucking king of Saudi Arabia.

    Giving fucking smoochie-boochies to one of the most brutal dictators of our present age.

    Lip-locking with the closest living avatar of a redneck’s fever dream of what a terr’ist raghead radical mullah would be.

    Playing tonsil hockey with the head of the largest government in the world implementing Sharia law.

    (I’ll stop here or I might contract Treacherlalia.)

    Let’s face it: the president just does whatever his handler tells him to do 5 minutes before he hits the reception line or whatever.

    The newly-hatched wingnut idea that the president is supposed to be some grandmaster of international protocol who understands that a 30 degree bow means one thing while an 18.5 degree bow means something else is put to a lie by the fact that Rick Perry, Michele Bachman, Herman Cain, Mike Fucking Chuckleberry, etc. were serious contenders for the job.

    (Newt Gingrich probably knows international protocol, but would fuck it up just to be an asswipe, and Romney probably knows but would try to fuck it up to be an asswipe, but fuck up fucking it up and end up bowing exactly the right amount.)

    Also, where was this bowing outrage while the Olympics were on? By the latest rules of wingnut calvinball, the judo and taekwondo exhibitions were a nonstop parade of America-hating. Who cares that Kayla Harrison won the first gold medal in US judo history? Sure, she beat a UK athlete, but when getting on the mat, she bowed to the UK flag!!!!1!1!! Something something Rockefeller pro-royalist Obama anti-colonialist fiat currency!!!!1!!

    Oh, and if we have the firepower and the economic might to wipe a country off the fucking earth just for funsies, everybody who’s not a complete fucking wankstain knows any sort of bow doesn’t mean shit. It’s as fucking ridiculous as a Wall Street ball-gargling Congressman telling his constituents that he works for them.

    Haven’t any of these sad sacks seen a fucking Godfather movie? You can be polite to somebody and then send one of your guys to murder the fuck out of them.

    • SEK says:

      Haven’t any of these sad sacks seen a fucking Godfather movie? You can be polite to somebody and then send one of your guys to murder the fuck out of them.

      This bears repeating, so I have.

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  33. mike grimes says:

    this is it…..this is all you could come up with……they are made of preists women, old freinds…..not leaders of other countries…..it looks pathetic to even try post those pics and even try to associate them same as the president bowing down like that to a foreign leader…..not a knod of the head….but a polishing belt buckles bow…..

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