Thursday, April 09, 2009


Although I don't think anyone outside the fever swamps of the right really cares all that much, I think the White House is making a mistake with this statement:

The White House is denying that the president bowed to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at a G-20 meeting in London, a scene that drew criticism on the right and praise from some Arab outlets.

"It wasn't a bow. He grasped his hand with two hands, and he's taller than King Abdullah," said an Obama aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity....

Why draw more criticism? If you watch the video (see below), about 54 seconds in it's obviously a bow. Why deny the obvious when the denial will keep the story alive?


Having said that, I have to add that I think Brendan Nyhan is completely wrong about this:

A few days, I pointed out that the way that conservatives are making allegations against the administration that are rooted in the continuing misperception that President Obama is a Muslim -- for instance, the nonsensical allegation that the liberal academic Harold Koh (President Obama's nominee for State Dept. legal adviser) wants to institute sharia law in this country.

The newest example comes from conservative gadfly Frank Gaffney, who was given airtime by MSNBC to claim that Obama's apparent bow to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (which would constitute a breach of protocol) was "code" telling "our Muslim enemies that you are willing to submit to them" ...

There is no way that Obama's apparent mistake becomes the lead story on Drudge if the Muslim misperception does not exist. It just wouldn't be big news -- George W. Bush held hands with Abdullah and no one cared. Why else would anyone think Obama wants to submit to sharia law? He's a liberal on social issues! It doesn't even make sense....

Oh, please. Obviously Nyhan doesn't recall the hysterical response on the right, particularly among bloggers, when Nancy Pelosi wore a headscarf in a Syrian mosque two years ago:

One wrote, "The Speaker of the House is not only going out of her way to defund America's troops in Iraq and shake hands with leaders of terrorist states like Syria, but is now donning the garb of America's enemies.... What's next -- a suicide bomber belt?" Another argued, "The anti-American propaganda this woman has given the very people who want to totally destroy us is immense."

And one right-wing blogger accompanied a photo of Pelosi in the headscarf with a post titled "Nancy Pelosi and the spineless Democrats practice being subjected to Islamic sharia law."

And if Nyhan thinks this couldn't have happened if the woman Obama defeated for the Democratic nomination had become president, he obviously hasn't paid attention to the right-wing fury at Hillary Clinton's Suha Arafat kiss back in the late '90s:

Right-wingers have never forgotten this. (Pam Geller of Atlas Shrugs still refers to Mrs. Clinton as "Jihad Hillary").

Brendan, we Democrats are all advocates of sharia. And atheists. And communists. And fascists. And violent militants. And limp-wristed pacifists. Don't you keep up with right-wing propaganda?

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