Obama: The bows continue – Update: Common Courtesy

The King of Saudi Arabia, and now the Japanese Emperor? And as the LA Times points out …. there was no reciprocal bow from the Emperor.

Contrary to some claims, the video shows no reciprocal bow by the emperor, who traditionally bows to no one. And we’ve added a file photo from 2007 of Vice President Dick Cheney greeting the Japanese Emperor in the same door way in a different fashion.

And all the Queen got was an ill advised pat on the back. I guess when it comes to Royal respect, it depends on how much control you have over American purse strings. You can play along with me. I counted 6 bows, but in truth I lost track.


Oh and make sure you go to the Time article … it shows there wasn’t any bowing when Dick Cheney visited. This President just cracks me up.

Just for old times sake … here’s that Saudi “non-bow” bow:


Oh wait, I forgot. Obama doesn’t always bow. Sometimes his serfs bow to him. Ahh, royalty! Bow, you knave!


Americans have a long tradition of never bowing to royalty of any nation. By bowing, one is symbolically recognizing that a person of royalty is of a higher station simply by birth.

Americans believe all men are created equal. That all rights are endowed to all by our creator, not the government, and that no one person is greater than any other simply by station or birth. Ironic don’t you think, that the nation’s first African American President is the one to break that tradition.

Memo to the Emperor: The rest of us in America wish you good health and a long and happy life. But bow we will not.

Update: An Instapundit reader e-mails Glenn Reynolds to say:

Obama’s bow to the Saudi king was a breach of etiquette and a horrible symbolic act, but bowing in Japan is like shaking hands in America. Anytime you introduce yourself to someone, you bow, regardless of whether it’s the plumber come to fix your sink, your new assistant in the office, or the emperor.

Nonsense! Having studied Tae Kwon Do for more than 15 years with  a Korean Master, (and former heavyweight champ in Japan no less) I can assure you it is common to bow in Asian countries (although in our case it was probably more akin to a salute). But it is more a sign of mutual respect and certainly a mutual greeting. Businessmen in Asia bow, even old friends indeed bow upon greeting. But here there was no sign of “mutual respect”. No bow was returned, nor would there be. He is the Emporer and the thought never crossed his mind.

In any case, if Obama felt the bow as greeting was appropriate, a slight bend at the waste, instead of a grovel, would have been more than appropriate, and the e-mailer knows this too.

And while we are at it, let me remind Glenn’s reader, this was no introduction of two businessmen, or two old friends on the street. This was the President of the United States, and we have our traditoons too, which I detailed above.

Just thought I would get that off my chest.

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Jim Vicevich

Jim is a veteran broadcaster and conservative/libertarian blogger with more than 25 years experience in TV and radio. Jim's was the long-term host of The Jim Vicevich Show on WTIC 1080 in Hartford from 2004 through 2019. Prior to radio, Jim worked as a business and financial reporter for NBC30 - the NBC owned TV station in Hartford - and as business editor at WFSB-TV in Hartford for 14 years while earning six Emmy nominations and three Telly Awards.


  1. gillie28 on November 15, 2009 at 12:43 am

    A c0urteous doff of the head would not have been amiss.  However, Obama's bows practically hit the deck.  This represents not just obsequiousness, but total submission.  Like a dog rolling over on its back when a more dominant one comes along.

  2. gillie28 on November 15, 2009 at 12:44 am

    Another comment is that Obama's speeches abroad are still focused aound the "Im not Bush" theme.  Perhaps he has nothing else to offer!

  3. gillie28 on November 15, 2009 at 1:39 am

    Let's give him the benefit of the doubt: 

    1) he is doing an international  study on shoes worn by Kings and Emperors.

    2) he woke up with a severe crick in his back.

    3) he keeps wondering if his OWN shoes have any specks of dirt on them.  Just a subtle way of checking up.

    4) ditto for checking up to see if his fly is closed all the way.

    Better leave it at that one!

  4. Dimsdale on November 15, 2009 at 3:55 am

    It is pretty sad, and pretty telling, when even your handlers are inept.   That, or Obama's own belief in his perfection causes him to just do whatever he wants anyway.


    He is the culmination of the "nouveau riche" effect of affirmative action.   Or is it the Peter Principle?

  5. donh on November 15, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Now THAT'S a bow. The depth and duration  of the bow shows just how much money President Obama is going to beg from Japan. Looks like $300 billion to me.

  6. Dimsdale on November 16, 2009 at 6:33 am

    Michelle Malkin has a series of pictures showing the other leaders of the world greeting the Japanese emporer, followed by our buffoon.


    Hasn't the statute of limitations run out on how long one can still be considered to be naïve?  I hope it is longer than those for cluelessness….

  7. Odonna on November 16, 2009 at 7:34 am

    Ironic indeed!  As someone who grew up in the Los Angeles area during the Black Power movement, I can't imagine any African American bowing to anyone, let alone the first African American president doing it.  He must have missed that memo.

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