Patterico's Pontifications


Protocol 101: Honoring America’s Symbols

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 8:52 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama’s recent difficulty with bowing reminds me of another of his protocol problems — honoring our flag and National Anthem:

  • Obama during the National Anthem at Tom Harkin’s Iowa steak fry during the Democratic primary campaign.
    (Video here.)
  • Obama as the American flag passes during a Memorial Day 2009 appearance at Arlington National Cemetery.
    (Speech here.) ** BUT SEE THE UPDATE BELOW **
  • The White House U.S. Department of State, Office of the Chief of Protocol, has its work cut out for it.

    — DRJ

    UPDATE: From steve in the comments, the Memorial Day photo linked above of President Obama is apparently from his entry as the band played “Hail to the Chief.” Here’s another photo and video from the event. My thanks to steve and my apologies to the President, the Protocol Officer, and to the readers here. — DRJ

    76 Responses to “Protocol 101: Honoring America’s Symbols”

    1. Barak Obama, the first Muslim president.

      Alta Bob (e8af2b)

    2. Indeed. Contact the U.S. Department of State office as the Chief of Protocol is technically a State Dept. official. This information is on their site:

      For Protocol Questions: 202-647-1735
      For Official Business: 202-647-2663

      (To reach the duty officer after business hours: 202-647-1512)

      Office of the Chief of Protocol
      2201 C Street NW.
      Room 1238
      Washington, DC 20520

      Ask what the current official protocol is for a President of the United States on an official state visit to Japan greeting the Emperor of Japan off U.S. Embassy grounds on Japanese soil.

      Or contact the Japanese Embassy in Washington for current Japanese official protocol on the Emperor of Japan greeting a visiting head of state on Japanese soil.

      Embassy of Japan
      2520 Massachusetts Ave NW
      Washington, DC 20008-2869
      (202) 238-6700

      If the U.S. Chief of Protocol was in error, at the very least a reprimand is in order.

      [DCSCA: Thank you for pointing out that the Chief of Protocol is an office of the Department of State, although the current Chief of Protocol is an Obama appointee. I’ve updated the post to make the correction. — DRJ

      UPDATE 11/16/09: Apparently it is a White House issue. See here. — DRJ]

      DCSCA (9d1bb3)

    3. DRJ – Obama made sure they got a photo of him saluting one of the caskets at Dover AFB, of course, where he went to witness them returning to the U.S. but the White House vehemently denied the trip was just a photo op.

      daleyrocks (718861)

    4. DCSCA – Why don’t you check and get back to everyone. Most people who remember their civics classes are clear on the issue.

      daleyrocks (718861)

    5. DCSCA is just mad because he missed the streak fry.

      Just saying.

      And, at the very least, the United States does indeed stand for something.

      If it’s not DCSCA’s cup of tea, he/she is free to sip at whatever locale that is appropriate.

      Ag80 (3d1543)

    6. Isn’t it funny? When he bowed obsequiously to the Saudi Prince they proclaimed vehemently that he did no such thing. He was picking up an errant coin, or a shiny object had grabbed his attention.
      Now they are proudly taking ownership of this bowing incident, stating that it is not even vaguely embarrassing to our standing in the world. In fact, it demonstrates how anxiously we wish to fit in with the rest of the world,…or something. Well, which is it? Both positions can not be correct.

      Gazzer (f4dafa)

    7. Why DRJ, I’m surprised at you! Multiculturalism does not mean that all cultures are worthy of respect. It means all non-American cultures are worthy of respect.

      You ignore the excesses of all other cultures with a set of Mr. Magoo glasses, and you focus like an atomic force microscope on things this nation has done poorly.

      That’s the memo taught in schools.

      Eric Blair (711059)

    8. I have never been the President of the United States and even I know these (the ones referenced above)protocols. The problem is not a lack of training by the WH Chief of Protocol, or even a lack of awareness by the President, it’s solely an individual’s refusal to honor our traditions and historical actions to show respect.

      Dana (e9ba20)

    9. I think that is very close, Dana. Add to it the “daddy hatred” the POTUS feels (and who can blame him?), transmogrified into how he sees the “old guard” of the US. Squaresville. The town elders in “Footloose.”

      Mind you, he wants plenty of respect for himself. For his predecessors, not so much.

      Eric Blair (711059)

    10. DRJ, I think you had a typo. “Streak fry” sounds painful, maybe due to a lack of sunblock? I think you mean “steak fry.”

      Eric Blair (711059)

    11. Do I not recall that Obama also violated British protocol by hugging the Queen?

      Yeah, he’s a genius….

      MaaddMaaxx (b91eb0)

    12. Plus an old fart like DCSCA would know from watching the Olympics that Jim McKay would explain the protocol of not dipping the American flag and bowing to other nations every four years during the parade of nations at the opening ceremonies.

      This is basic stuff.

      daleyrocks (718861)

    13. Eric Blair:

      DRJ, I think you had a typo. “Streak fry” sounds painful, maybe due to a lack of sunblock? I think you mean “steak fry.”

      It’s definitely a typo and thanks for pointing it out. Here in West Texas we frequently add extra words to our sentences and syllables to our words — as in “I’m fixin’ to go to the store” and “How many oil (pronounced o-e-ul) wells do you own?” — but we don’t usually add extra letters.

      I also changed the “White House Office of the Chief of Protocol” to the “Department of State Office of the Chief of Protocol” per DCSCA’s correction, above.

      DRJ (dee47d)

    14. Another thing regarding the second photo that reinforces my point above is, it is virtually impossible to stand before the American flag, on Memorial Day, with military officers on either side of a person, saluting, and not know the protocol.

      He fully knows what he is doing and shame on him for bringing shame to us.

      Dana (e9ba20)

    15. Dana, I really think that this is “America as Resented Daddy.”

      Also, this guy has never been criticized until now. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles criticism…compared to the previous occupant of the White House.

      Eric Blair (711059)

    16. DRJ:

      Everyone knows you made a mistrake.

      Ag80 (3d1543)

    17. Ag80: Heh. Well done.


      If the U.S. Chief of Protocol was in error, at the very least a reprimand is in order.

      Why would the Chief of Protocol be responsible for Obama’s National Anthem flub? He was a candidate then.

      DRJ (dee47d)

    18. Actually, DRJ, I thought you might have been making a sly comment with “streak fry.” But Ag80 is certainly correct…most people make typos, and they don’t matter much.

      Especially given the value of what you post and the frequency with which you post!

      Eric Blair (711059)

    19. I’m not that clever, Eric, and I really, really don’t want to see any of the candidates streak … so it must have been a typo.

      DRJ (dee47d)

    20. A recent article on Powerline pointed out that Obama is very much aware of the “studied insult” and knows very well when he’s showing disrespect to an individual or a nation. Recall his “middle finger face scratch” to both Hillary Clinton and John McCain; the photo of Mr. Obama showing the soles of his shoes propped up on his desk as he chatted with Israel’s prime minister (a recognized insult in the Arab world); his hands at his crotch as a salute to the American flag.

      The evidence of Mr. Obama’s perfidy is displayed on an almost daily basis. Perhaps it is now expected behavior from our Community Organizer-in-Chief.

      navyvet (c7f520)

    21. The void left by the Chief of Protocol has been larger.

      Remember those DVDs that Brown got ?

      The list is long with errors that a prefessional organization should never make.

      Neo (7830e6)

    22. Especially since the Chief of Protocol was appointed by Obama himself.

      DRJ (dee47d)

    23. …except that our President is not a professional organization: he is the President of the United States of America and represents us before the world. There is simply no excuse for this and it’s ridiculous to try to find one or make a comparison. School children know to stand with their hand on their heart when the flag passes, or when the national anthem is played. I’m fairly sure that our president has more knowledge, experience, and powers of observation than do they.

      Dana (e9ba20)

    24. U.S. Code, Title 4, Chapter 1

      “§ 9. Conduct during hoisting, lowering or passing of flag”

      “During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, all persons present in uniform should render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute. All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Citizens of other countries present should stand at attention. All such conduct toward the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.”

      I don’t think our little boy president is likely to follow that one.

      But, hey, at least he knows enough to stand up.

      Give him some credit.

      Dave Surls (13e382)

    25. Give him some credit.

      Obama hates America and all her symbols. When, exactly, has he said otherwise?

      RB (27292a)

    26. #17- Yes, in that TIME photo-op, the then candidates all flubbed it – two sitting U.S. senators, Governor Richardson- and the non-candidate, Harkin’s wife, all on a platform with a large U.S. flag on display behind them, were all technically in violation per Title 36, U.S. Code, Chapter 10 – PATRIOTIC CUSTOMS- Sec. 171.

      Conduct during playing

      During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Men [women, too, no doubt] not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should render the military salute at the first note of the anthem and retain this position until the last note. When the flag is not displayed, those present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed there. Seems they all missed seeing and facing that big ‘ol flag a few feet on display behind them — the photographer didn’t.

      DCSCA (9d1bb3)

    27. “Yes, in that TIME photo-op, the then candidates all flubbed it”

      No, Obama was the only one whop fucked up. Why are you bending over backwards to make excuses for the idiot? You have no idea what flag they were all facing because it’s not captured by the photographer. Wipe the Obama goo off your chin, you’re disgusting.

      daleyrocks (718861)

    28. And, the cycle begins anew, DRJ. Mr. Mitty Zelig will now instruct you on clarity.

      Shorter version of the verbiage: Obama good. Republicans bad.

      “Pitch perfect,” huh?

      Eric Blair (711059)

    29. “During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag…”

      “…Seems they all missed seeing and facing that big ‘ol flag a few feet on display behind them…”

      Yeah, but you know, I know, and everyone else knows, that there ain’t no way Hillary is going to turn around, face that flag, and have 10,000 people look at her ass during the entire playing of the national anthem.

      I mean that would be a violation of the Constitution (cruel and unusual punishment).

      Dave Surls (13e382)

    30. #26: and you are sure that the backdrop was the only flag in the area….. that there wasn’t a color guard, or a flagpole anywhere to be seen?

      i doubt you know this, but in the service, when they sound “Retreat” at the COB each day, Soldiers stop where ever they are, and face the sound if they can’t see a flag….

      and, even if you are right, what does that say about his awesomeness, when he’s obviously no smarter than all the old white people?

      redc1c4 (fb8750)

    31. The flag was in front of them. This is kinda obvious. I don’t mean to be rude, but if everyone else in the picture is looking at something during the anthem, with their hands on their hearts or saluting, guess what they are looking at?

      Dustin (bb61e3)



      The official Arlington photo release of the event shows Obama with his hand over his heart alongside the others.

      Who or what authenticates that the image you linked represents “Obama as the American flag passes during a Memorial Day 2009 appearance at Arlington National Cemetery?”

      There doesn’t even appear to be room for a pass-in-review or presentation of colors between the dais and front row. The bugler is likely playing taps or the National Anthem and Obama waited until the first notes. Others responded moments earlier at “Present Arms.”

      steve (3e5dfa)

    33. “Obama Derangement Syndrome”: for definition, please see “Bush Derangement Syndrome.”

      JEA (0ccd61)

    34. I believe that the second instance of non-saluting the flag occurred on Veterans Day, not Memorial Day, 2009.

      509th Bob (58dde3)

    35. It’s definitely a typo and thanks for pointing it out.

      Comment by DRJ — 11/15/2009 @ 9:38 pm

      I wondered if it was a phrase you were going through.

      nk (df76d4)

    36. I am trying to figure out the weakest moonbat response here – IMP’s copy-n-paste while tossing someone else under the bus, steve’s random speculation, or JEA’s inanity.

      JD (45da85)

    37. The only inane moonbats here are are the ones ripping Obama on this – it’s positively ridiculous. If it’s not too much to ask, can we concentrate on *real* issues instead of this minutiae, or would you all just rather be moonbatty?

      JEA (0ccd61)

    38. I was once at a Boy Scout event where the boys accidentally let the flag touch the ground. A friend who is an Australian immigrant dad who I respect quietly expressed his opinion to me that we were making a big deal out of nothing – it is only a piece of cloth.

      It got me thinking. What is the flag? A symbol of our country, just like all other flags are symbols of their respective places on the globe? Or is it more?

      To me it is much more. It is a symbol of an ideal, an ideal of government of the people, by the people, and for the people. A symbol of freedom. That is why it is treated with such reverence. That is why I was so offended by my friend’s comment.

      Amphipolis (b120ce)

    39. Gee Pat, why don’t you let other people decide what your content blog be?

      JEA, are you so hard up for web traffic you need to comment on other blogs to get hits on your own site? Pathetic. Do you let others determine what content appears on your blog?

      President Mop (44bf37)

    40. 38.Gee Pat, why don’t you let other people decide what your content blog be?


      Gee Pat, why don’t you let other people decide what your blog content should be?

      President Mop (44bf37)

    41. Update: According to Red State, it WAS Memorial Day, although for some reason the photo didn’t surface until after Veterans Day.

      509th Bob (58dde3)

    42. Obama’s done this several times… enough that he knows he needs to get his head on straight.

      But of course, he attended Rev Wright’s church for 20 years… he brought his little girls there to learn. That is worse than ripping the flag down during the anthem and burning it. Obama’s hatred of this country is not a punchline… it’s real. Why else would he want his family in that church of G– D— America, 9/11 was what we deserved, we invented AIDS, etc etc etc. There is simply nothing worse, patriotically, than supporting and bringing your charges to such a place. It is equal to a KKK rally.

      So did he fail to salute the flag? Several times, yes he failed. But that’s small potatoes. He endorsed Ayer’s book, A kind and Just Parent, which touched on some disturbing messages. Bill Ayers is simply a less resourceful Tim McVeigh.

      Obama treats emperors better than out flag? That’s lame, but it’s barely noticeable in context. Dog bites man. No, dog bites milkbone.

      Mccain let this stuff slide. It’s probably not going to slide next time. I think whoever is nominates will be crazy not to answer their first debate question with “I just want to point out that Obama snorted cocaine, among other hard drugs, and took his kid to a church that proclaims ‘G– D— America’. He was friends with a cop killing terrorist and got hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of real estate from a convicted bribery felon. He’s trash. What was the question again?”

      Dustin (bb61e3)

    43. Here’s my conspiracy theory. Obama is surrounded by a bunch of whiteys’ advising him. They make him look like an idiot, USA never votes again for an african-american. White supremacists take over.

      J (2946f2)

    44. Having lived in Japan for about 4 1/2 years, I can pretty confidently suggest that a bow such as Obama gave is almost never seen, at least not in public. It is usually a small forward bend at the waist (a few degrees) accompanied by a nod forward of the head, usually accompanied by a handshake.

      “Equals” would bow the same amount towards each other, and maintain eye contact. Breaking eye contact like this is a sign of submission, subservience, or remorse. Obama’s bow is one given to a master by a student, etc.

      Either he didn’t know that, or was using it as a precursor to his apology speech for all the ways we apparently “failed” Japan under the Bush administration.

      Either way it makes him look junior grade.

      Steve B (5eacf6)

    45. Reasonable people can argue whether Obama continially makes these cringe-worthy protocol flubs because he is purposely intending to provacative and non-traditional, or because at the age most American kids are absorbing civics and the cultural aspects of being an American citizen he was raised and mostly schooled elsewhere than in the United States. In either case, it is obvious he is not “one of us”.

      elissa (64357d)

    46. This kind of blundering is unacceptable. Get this stuff right, mean it or frickin resign.

      Vivian Louise (eeeb3a)

    47. can we concentrate on *real* issues instead of this minutiae, or would you all just rather be moonbatty?

      Comment by JEA

      I think that, if this were an isolated incident, you would be correct (I almost wrote “right” but that would be an error). However, this is part of a pattern that will become ever more obvious. The left is contemptuous of these symbols. They consider them to be the actions of stupid red necks who don’t know how to program their VCRs. Of course the left all have home theaters. Obama will be unable to resist this theme and, as his behavior becomes more and more obvious, even to Oprah viewers, he will be unable to acknowledge the problem. This is all about leftist identity.

      What he doesn’t understand, or doesn’t care about, is he was elected as a centrist and this is not a left wing country. I don’t think he has enough self knowledge to realize that this will affect his identity to the public. This guy was so new and so poorly explained to the public by an adoring media that he is still being introduced to the public.

      He is the first black president and a cool sort of guy. But he is also a leftist ideologue and is contemptuous of the country he was elected to lead. By 2012, this will be his identity. He can’t help himself.

      Mike K (2cf494)

    48. First and foremost, thanks for the link DRJ.

      Secondly, this moron is so stupid that as serving military officers on either side of him are saluting either the flag, taps or the Nation Anthem and he has no clue as to what to do. As i said in my post:

      “A Chicago hayseed no less, no idea what to do. Either that, or he really has no allegiance to this country after all. Or maybe both. Or, as Vanderleun might have said “Obama’s Super-duper, Hot Damn – Anti Military, and Everlovin Signature Crotch Salute.”

      GM Roper (85dcd7)

    49. “A Final Verdict on the Presidential Salute.
      FOR nearly three decades, I’ve felt conflicted about presidential salutes. After all, my United States Marine Corps instructors drilled into me the idea that “you never salute without a cover” which, in civilian, meant without a hat.
      My fellow Marines and I were also informed, in no uncertain terms, that we weren’t to salute out of uniform. (I don’t think that presidential blue suits, white shirts and red ties quite qualify.) So whenever I saw a president stepping off a helicopter and bringing hand to brow, my drill instructor’s unambiguous words came back to me with much of their original force.

      …Presidents have long been saluted, but they began returning salutes relatively recently. Ronald Reagan was thought to be the first, in 1981. He had sought advice on the matter from Gen. Robert Barrow, commandant of the Marine Corps. According to John Kline, then Mr. Reagan’s military aide and today a member of Congress from Minnesota, General Barrow told the president that as commander in chief he could salute anybody he wished. And so it began.
      Mr. Reagan’s successors continued the practice, and I continued to be conflicted — believing that when it comes to salutes (and one or two other matters), presidents deserved to be cut some slack, but also feeling a little uneasy about the whole thing.

      My ambivalence came to an end last week, when I saw a videotape of the president’s midnight trip to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where he had participated, very early that morning, in the “dignified transfer” of 15 Army soldiers and three Drug Enforcement Administration agents killed that week in Afghanistan. Mr. Obama stood ramrod straight and saluted as six soldiers carried the coffin bearing the body of Sgt. Dale Griffin of Indiana off a C-17 transport aircraft and into a waiting van. His salute, it struck me, was impeccable in every way.”

      bored again (d80b5a)

    50. and is contemptuous of the country he was elected to lead.

      Not just THIS country, apparently.

      It’s quite possible that these kinds of easily preventable flubs reflect something much more basic than blundering – a simple lack of concern. Otherwise known as “giving a sh*t.”

      One would think that when meeting the PM of Japan, you’d be up late the night before studying, quizzing the protocol bubbas, asking some local Japanese nationals to walk you through the finer points of introductions.

      You kinda suspect that this didn’t happen, which reflects a pretty cavalier attitude towards the traditions and cultures of other nations. Kind of a bone-deep conceit that he can “wing it” and come away with his teflon coating intact.

      Not for much longer, I suspect.

      Steve B (5eacf6)

    51. Bored again’s “point” simply shows that Barcky spends more time and effort preparing for a photo op than for meeting with leaders of other nations.

      JD (7419af)

    52. In addition to the Arlington photo release of the event showing Obama with his hand over his heart alongside the others…a YouTube video:

      The event and the blog photo post are 166 days apart. Where is the basis for claiming this represents “Obama as the American flag passes?”

      steve (3e5dfa)

    53. Steve, you clearly didn’t read the blog post. The basis for bringing up Obama’s well accepted poor decorum is his recent terrible decorum with the Japanese Emperor. That’s why we’re talking about how he often disrespects the American flag while bending over backwards to please royalty or dictators.

      Your comments will be more persuasive if they show some effort on your part to understand the post we’re discussing, instead of demanding we explain what’s already been laid out pretty clearly. Your point is that Obama has… one or two times… not been an asshole.

      Dustin (bb61e3)

    54. Democrats sometimes have trouble with that hand over the heart thing but at least the rest of them seem to try. I think that was a clever photoshop trick. Maybe Obama doesn’t want to take a chance that someone would do the same to him. With his hands in his crotch, there is no danger.

      Mike K (2cf494)

    55. Your comments will be more persuasive if they show some effort on your part to understand the post we’re discussing.

      So, the photo supporting the protocol argument could be real or fake. And a claim there was a flag passing by can go unsupported. Substantial evidence exists that he had his hand over his heart alongside the others.

      Better we discuss whether 15 degrees is the maximum angle for bowing to a Japanese royal.

      President Eisenhower bowed to the French president. And even deeper to Pope John XXIII.

      steve (3e5dfa)

    56. Snopes doesn’t play nice with adblock. Not that I trust their reporting much (they are right about Daschle). Say, if DRJ or Patterico read this thread, I suggest they recommend some item from Amazon every now and then, so I can click through their link to make my normal purchases (Amazon pays for such clickthroughs). It makes me feel better about blocking advertisements.

      Dustin (bb61e3)

    57. It’s not fake, steve. Sometimes Obama fails to respect the flag, and you claim to have a link that showed that he did sometimes. The basic point, that Obama fails to show the respect that people all around him do, repeatedly, isn’t affected by your rebuttal at all.

      And your repeated demand that people explain the their basis for their claims is just silly.

      you want to say that this blog is being dishonest, but it’s you who is being dishonest.

      Dustin (bb61e3)

    58. He got it right. steve has links! Therefore, any photo showing otherwise must be faked!

      JD (f96a20)

    59. All about symbols. Why not honoring actual soldiers?

      Sullivan was working as an analyst at the Veterans Benefits Administration in Washington in early 2005 when he was called to a meeting with a top political appointee at the VA, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Michael McLendon. McLendon, an intensely focused man in a neatly pressed suit, kept a Bible on his desk at the office. Sullivan explained to McLendon and the other attendees that the rise in benefits claims the VA was noticing was caused partly by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who were suffering from PTSD. “That’s too many,” McLendon said, then hit his hand on the table. “They are too young” to be filing claims, and they are doing it “too soon.” He hit the table again. The claims, he said, are “costing us too much money,” and if the veterans “believed in God and country . . . they would not come home with PTSD.” At that point, he slammed his palm against the table a final time, making a loud smack. Everyone in the room fell silent.

      “I was a little bit surprised,” Sullivan said, recalling the incident. “In that one comment, he appeared to be a religious fundamentalist.” For Sullivan, McLendon’s remarks reflected the views of many political appointees in the VA and revealed what was behind their efforts to reduce costs by restricting claims. The backlog of claims was immense, and veterans, often suffering extreme psychological stress, had to wait an average of five months for decisions on their requests.

      You vilify people as un-American but don’t think it’s un-American to be irresponsible. It’s the patriotism of John Wayne who copped out of serving in WW2 and Ronald Reagan who confused reality with the movies No, Ronnie did not witness the liberation of the camps at Ohrdruf and Buchenwald. He saw it in a movie. But by the time he met the Israeli Prime it was his reality. You still create your own reality.
      So thanks to GWB’s spending spree borrowing from China to fund two wars, Obama really does now have to humiliate himself before his bankers.

      bored again (d80b5a)

    60. bored again, the VA has to manage its money, so that the truly needy get the best care.

      That’s the lesson I read in your post. Are you a veteran? I am, and I hate to say that I know there is a need for fraud prevention as well as a need for excellent care of PTSD and other problems many vets face. They actually go hand in hand. The world isn’t perfect, and administrators have to make hard choices that don’t play well when twisted to serve political purposes.

      Go figure.

      Dustin (bb61e3)

    61. That was a remarkable attempt at thread-jacking.

      JD (a71690)

    62. JD, what really burns my oatmeal is that the VA situation has certainly not improved. Obama even threatened to take away health care benefits for veterans. The idea that the dems have any advantage here is ridiculous, but they keep thinking they can make the GOP play by a different set of rules. If the GOP takes care of vets, that’s just to be expected. If the dems do, that’s some kind of marvelous ‘gift’. Thanks Obama, for letting vets keep their health care! You’re so nice!

      You don’t see the GOP using the injured vet as a prop.

      Dustin (bb61e3)

    63. Board has a tendency to get lost in the thickets of logic. It has trouble crossing bridges, too.

      Mike K (2cf494)

    64. You just don’t get it. Obama was pledging.

      His penis.

      drjohn (488550)

    65. It’s not fake, steve.

      The blogger who interpreted it once claimed it came from this month’s ceremony. Deal with the protocol:

      Presidents do NOT salute themselves while ‘Hail to the Chief’ is sounded.

      The still image DRJ provided is virtually identical to the ‘Hail to the Chief’ sequence. And likely came from it. Among the five YouTube clips of the 5/25/09 service, none validates the contention Obama wouldn’t or didn’t salute a passing flag.

      steve (3e5dfa)

    66. “Obama even threatened to take away health care benefits for veterans.”

      “The proposal — intended to save the Department of Veterans Affairs $530 million a year — would authorize VA to bill private insurance companies for the treatment of injuries and medical conditions related to military service, such as amputations, post-traumatic stress disorder and other battle wounds. VA already pursues such third-party billing for conditions that are not service-related.”
      …”To ask veterans to save $500 million in a [VA] budget of over $100 billion is not only bad policy, it is bad politics,” said Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, who attended the meeting.”
      Google Paul Rieckhoff. He cares about this stuff more than you do.
      The proposal was under consideration, and was dropped. Your real problem with Shinseki begins with him being right about the numbers at the beginning of Iraq. Rumsfeld and Bush ignored him. Obama brought him back.

      This post is concerned with the importance of symbols, but symbols are less important than facts.
      If it’s hijacking the thread to make that point, so be it.

      bored again (d80b5a)

    67. hahahaha, are you serious? Spin spin spin.

      Dustin (bb61e3)

    68. “You vilify people as un-American”

      Only low-life skanks who belong to churches that call on God to damn America.

      Dave Surls (f225d6)

    69. Thank you, steve. I’ve updated the post.

      DRJ (dee47d)

    70. Very classy.

      steve (97db36)

    71. “Very classy”

      No kidding, steve. Much nicer than I’ve been. While my snarky prior comment wasn’t directed at you (you probably knew that), I still think it’s obvious that Obama has indeed had this problem several times. Just because he didn’t fail in this instance doesn’t really change that. The famous picture of Hillary and Richardson proudly saluting while Obama does not has always struck me as alien.

      It’s really not a serious issue in comparison to the decisions we either agree with or don’t, but I think Obama has made a point to speak through his actions. Bowing more than makes any sense, or showing his soles when on the phone, or showing his middle finger, or not putting his hand over his heart… it’s all one pretty clear narrative to me.

      Regardless, DRJ’s kinda made me feel like being nicer.

      Dustin (bb61e3)

    72. bored, I never brought up Shinseki, and I actually like him, a fellow redleg, except for that beret business. Wars require hard decisions that people disagree on, but we won in Iraq despite all the resistance put up by Obama to the surge and words like ‘victory’. It’s amazing that you bring up Shinseki’s views on Iraq or blame him for Obama’s proposal. Guess who is responsible for the executive branch?

      Your comments about VA benefits are disgusting. Service related injuries being charged against someone’s max lifetime benefit from their private insurer, after vets were promised their nation would take care of their injuries, is abominable. Comparing service related injuries to any other kind of malady is to miss the entire point. As you already know, because Obama ran away from his plan, and you try to pass the buck away from Obama. He is responsible for the lasting damage that single idea did to our vets’ certainty about their financial future. What’s really sick is how hyperpartisans then said we were admitting ‘single payer’ is the way to go.

      You don’t get to change contracts just to help democrats. If I get health insurance, and have VA covering something, it’s not right to bill my insurer for something they didn’t agree to cover. There are consequences. That you flail about, trying to make this about Shinseki’s strategy in a war, shows that you fundamentally don’t care about this central facet of honoring our troops. I would bet my life that you’ve never worn a uniform. Then again, I guess John Kerry did for a couple of weeks.

      Dustin (bb61e3)

    73. To our good friend ba…
      When Pearl Harbor was attacked, John Wayne was 34+ years of age (DOB: 5/26/07), was married, and had at least one child (Maureen, not sure of Michael), and had a Seclective Service Classification of 3-A [fm Wiki: 34 at the time of Pearl Harbor… and family status, classified as 3-A (family deferment)]. He also had the remnants of a leg injury that put paid to his football career at USC, and that led him to a career in Hollywood. Many doubted that he would have ever passed an induction physical.
      Just because he thought it important, and not detrimental to his career incidently, to portray action individuals engaged in the defense of his country, does it mean that he set out to “shirk his duty”. It actually was very difficult for major stars to get accepted into military service, let alone into a combat billet, on the direct orders from the WH. FDR didn’t want to be known as the President that got …. killed. The same rule BTW applied to Congressmen & Senators: LBJ was on active duty with the Navy in the SoPac (resigned his seat in the House) when he was recalled to DC on the direct orders of the WH!

      Those who wish to comment on historic figures should, at least, learn some history first.

      AD - RtR/OS! (785778)

    74. Jimmy Stewart had to lobby quite hard in order to serve in action during his time as a bomber pilot in WWII.

      Dmac (a964d5)

    75. President Eisenhower bowed to the French president.

      That’s a variation (ie, the head bob) of what the current president did, but multiplied by about 6 times after he first did his bend-at-the-waist routine in front of the emperor—-it’s actually rather weird how Obama kept bowing his head before Akihito and his wife. So Obama outflanks Eisenhower by 5 times and truly outflanks him by bowing like the ultimate servant seeking forgiveness from his master.

      Uh, you’re not forgiven, President “Goddamn America.”

      Mark (411533)

    76. I’m just amazed at how many examples there are of U.S. Presidents allegedly bowing to foreign heads of state! What Obama has already done twice this year does not seem unusual at all if there are two other examples in the past fifty years.

      daleyrocks (718861)

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