Sometimes a Bow is Not Just a Bow

Only Barack Obama knows what he was thinking when he appeared to bow from the waist to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on April 1 while heads of state attending the G-20 economic summit awaited their photo op in London with Queen Elizabeth II..

Conservatives went nuts: The right-of-center Washington Times, in an editorial titled, "Barack takes a bow: The president shows fealty to a Muslim king," opined, "Such an act is a traditional obeisance befitting a king's subjects, not his peer. There is no precedent for U.S. presidents bowing to Saudi or any other royals." The editorial called the bow "a servile gesture." In a bit of pandering to those who still believe that Obama is a "secretly a Muslim," the paper pondered, "...why he chose to bow only to the Saudi King and not to any other royals..."

That was one of the few missteps in a successful trip. In our YouTube world, Obama. the father of two young girls, has surely learned a lesson--that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a country way different from ours.

Just how different?

On April 13 Jack Cafferty reported a story out of Saudi Arabia on CNN's The Situation Room: "... a judge has refused for a second time to annul a marriage between an eight-year-old girl and a 47-year-old man. The same judge rejected a petition back in December from the girl's mother, who was trying to get a divorce for her daughter. A relative of the girl tells CNN that the Saudi judge says he's sticking by his earlier verdict, and that the girl can petition the court for a divorce once she reaches puberty. The mother's lawyer says that it was the eight-year-old girl's father who arranged the marriage in order to settle his debts with the man. The judge required the girl's husband to sign a pledge that he wouldn't have sex with her until she reaches puberty. Right.... The country's top cleric says it's okay for girls as young as 10 to get married. This stuff is beyond sick. But there isn't much the U.S. can do or say... is there? We're completely dependent on Saudi Arabia's oil. Saudi Arabia -- the country that gave us many of the 9/11 hijackers and a place where it's alright for grown men to marry children. Pretty disgusting."

Cafferty, who describes the judge as "the country's top cleric," did not make the connection between this shocker of a news story and President Obama's bow. He didn't have to; a score or two of responders on Cafferty's blog made it for him.