Monday, April 6, 2009

Politics and Critical Thinking Blog Cuts Through Partisanship on Obama's Infamous "Bow"

Critical Thinker, author of the blog "Politics and Critical Thinking" has some sober words for fellow conservatives (which mirror my words to fellow liberals), who have conveniently forgotten that Bush danced around with King Abdullah, as they condemn Obama's "bow":
If the Right is ever going to engage the Leftists and be victorious, they must not engage in hypocrisy. It's far better to be wrong than a hypocrite.
I agree that hypocrisy is a worse kind of evil. Unfortunately, hypocrisy is also one of the few qualities that our elected officials passionately embrace regardless of ideology. Visit Politics and Critical Thinking for footage of Bush's two-step.


dualdiagnosis said...

Dancing, kissing, holding hands= equals

Bowing= subservient

John said...

Actually, I've always maintained that hypocrisy gets a bad rap. Conservatives are wrong to call out Obama without mentioning Bush's dallying with King Abdullah, but that doesn't mean they're wrong in their criticism of Obama's bow.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

DD - I think John is correct in saying that it is disengenuous to criticize Obama's "bow" without mentioning Bush's dance. But I disagree that either act warrants such outrage, and I also disagree that the bow means what DD says it means. It is a mere formality.

gcotharn said...

I'm with DD. The bow is a symbol - a wrong symbol for a POTUS to project.

I've read several (at least a half dozen) conservative blogs which have - when criticizing Barack's bow - scrupulously criticized GWB for legitimizing the Saudi King via publicly holding hands with him.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Gcotharn - the problem I have with focusing on the bow is that this completely distorts the fact that the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia is not defined by either the bow (or Bush's dance). Instead, it rests on economics, military force, etc.

It is way too simplistic to think that Obama's bow or Bush's dance could shape or define the relationship between the two countries (or the relationship between the US and any other country in the region). I view the bow issue as yet another "symbol" that silences deep analysis.

Instead of examining the actual status of US-Saudi relations, people prefer to debate the meaning of Obama's bow and to hypothesize about matters divorced from reality. This same fascination with symbols allowed "Obama the candidate" and "Bush the War advocate" to escape rigrous scrutiny. Unity/change and patriotism/terror became focal points of debate, overshadowing everything else.

If people want to have "fun" with the bow or dance -- and the iPod for the Queen, then go for it. But reaching broader diplomatic conclusions from events like these does not make for a sophisticated political analysis, in my opinion.

gcotharn said...

It's always better if/when people delve into more important things such as policy. You do a fabulous job analyzing detailed issues - although, dang it, I disagree with you in so many areas. Still, you are my current favorite amongst bloggers I frequently disagree with!

Barack's bow was not the biggest thing in the world. It also was not so much about U.S. - Saudi relations as it was about all observers in the Middle East and elsewhere who were watching.

I suspect Barack just did it on the spur of the moment, even maybe catching himself mid-bow "Uh oh, I think I better straighten up".

Conservatives look at Barack and see someone who doesn't fully get what makes America great. Barack would not faux pas over the symbolism of a black man bowing to a white man; would understand the symbolism of a woman bowing to a man; yet lightly forgets the blood which has been shed - is being shed at this very moment - so an American need not bow to anyone's King? It's not that Barack doesn't understand the symbolism. It is, rather, the symbolism appears further down his priority list (so far down that he momentarily forgot about it) than it would have been for almost any other POTUS in history. Even writing this, I notice myself becoming angry about the apparent casualness regarding American sacrifice and principle.

It's not that the bow will have any immediate practical effect. It is, rather, sort of like a filthy bathroom in a restaurant: what ELSE about America's greatness is Barack casual about? If Barack doesn't understand what makes America great, what principles is he basing his decisions upon?

Anyway, too much rant. I hate to proofread blog comments, so I hope this makes sense!

Ju said...

Obama, the President of the United States and leader of the free world, bows to a Saudi King who represents a despotic regime noted for its’ human rights violations, a birthplace of terrorists, a symbol of everything that is an antithesis to our system of government, and it’s no big deal?

I consider myself fortunate to have been born in a republic. I appreciate that as a citizen of a republic, I need not bow to any man or woman. We are all created equal, and blood lines do not make one person superior. This gesture by Obama should rankle every citizen for when Obama bowed as President of the United States, we all bowed.

He did bow, see the video from the latest angle:

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Ju - as I stated before, the "bow" does not define US policy with Saudi Arabia. So, I will not even quarrel with your assertion that the "Saudi King . . . represents a despotic regime noted for its’ human rights violations, a birthplace of terrorists, a symbol of everything that is an antithesis to our system of government."

Why not question U.S. INVOLVEMENT with Saudi Arabia rather than the bow -- or Bush's dance? The fact that our last two presidents were paling around with the Saudis indicates the we have a longstanding commitment to SA, regardless of its human rights abuses. The love of oil is very powerful!

Don't let distractions take you away from the substantive issue. Behind every kiss, bow or diplomatic visit lies a public policy that requires examinationn. Instead, people are stuck on the kiss or bow. I guess that's the only thing folks feel empowered to change. Obama will probably never "bow" again. But the "protests" have not altered (or even discussed) US policy with respect to the Saudis ONE BIT. That's why I find those protests completely unhelpful and misguided.

The bow-gate has the same feel as people skewering AIG for making bonus payments rather than criticizing the lawmakers and government officials who handed the bank billions without preventing the controversial payments. Misguided outrage never gets anything accomplished.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Gcotharn, thanks for your post. If a woman was armed with more nuclear warheads and money than any other person in the world, and she "bowed" to a man who could not hurt her - except, perhaps, by failing to feed her greed for oil, then I do not think the normal patriarchal symbolism would matter. Substitute "woman" and "man" with "black" and "white."

AMIT said...

Its a very nice post in this matter from you.And i like the title of your post much.Keep up the good work.


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