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Bowgate

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I must admit, I really don't get the conservative hysteria over President Obama's apparent bow to King Abdullah. I find this kind of petty nitpicking - like harping over whether or not the First Lady should have hugged Queen Elizabeth- to be rather pedantic and wasteful.

This is precisely the kind of sniping that would drive conservatives crazy when it was President Bush in office. Rather than transcending this sort of stuff, they instead choose to embrace it. Scott Johnson of Power Line writes:

What's wrong with this picture? Americans do not bow to royalty. In my view, when the royal is the ruling tyrant of a despotic regime, the wrong is compounded. Putting aside the breach of American protocol, it is akin to Jimmy Carter succumbing to Brezhnev's infamous kiss at the signing of the arms accord in Vienna in 1979. It is a disgrace. As in Carter's case, Obama's supplicant attitude signifies his spirit. In this respect I distinguish it from George Bush's otherwise embarrasing handholding with the the king.

This is the part where I'm supposed to go dig up pictures of President Bush holding hands with that very same monarch, or maybe unearth a picture of Don Rumsfeld embracing a tyrant.

But I'm not going to do that, because this stuff is ridiculous. Google works just fine, so readers can have at it if they'd like. What I'd like to do instead is participate in debates and discussions on policy, rather than arguing over these cosmetic issues. President Bush never bowed to the Saudi royalty; he merely enabled their oppressive and radical regime for nearly eight years.

If President Obama can redirect American policy towards the Saudis I can deal with a few perfunctory gestures now and then.