I think it’s fair for us to draw three conclusions about the now-infamous Japanese Obama Bow:
- the President wasn’t intentionally trying to place us in a subservient role to Japan.
- the Office of the Chief of Protocol is staffed with people who are either a bunch of morons or who really, really hate the President.
- the senior staffer (my bet’s on Axelrod or Plouffe) who said this was very, very wrong. The President did look like an idiot to the Japanese press.
But let’s go back to point two for a second. How in the world are the people responsible for making sure the President doesn’t look like an idiot when he goes overseas still drawing a paycheck. It’s not like this is their first colossal blunder. If you were conspiracy-minded, you might imagine that Hillary Clinton has put the word out, quietly, that they should give the President advice like “When you meet the Emperor of Japan, bow so low you can smell his shoe polish” knowing full well he’ll look like a complete rube once the pictures get out.
Regardless of why they screwed up, heads should roll right now. Of course, that assumes that my giving Obama the benefit of the doubt was completely wrong. I’m assuming here that, absent any other advice, he would have done what I would have done: given a very small, formal bow with my hands at my sides, then offered a handshake. In no case would I have bowed lower than the Emperor, because I know that the lower the bow, the lower you are placing yourself in the pecking order. I’m assuming the President is at least as socially-savvy as I am which, really, it’s all that high a standard.
Allahpundit has some similar thoughts, and is much more harsh on the protocol mooks than I was.