Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. While personally speaking I don’t put as much stock in this sort of thing as some, I think it is interesting to contrast his ‘bowing’ incidents with his encounters with Queen Elizabeth and Pope Benedict. I think the Holy Father got a handshake and the First Lady gave the queen a pat on the back…

    Perhaps the POTUS has a dim view for institutions of Western Civilization?

  2. He’s only shaking with one hand! How disrespectful! No wonder why the world thinks Americans are arrogant!

    He shouldn’t have bowed, at least not that profoundly. But the reason he shouldn’t have is because it’ll offend Republicans.

  3. restrainedradical, Heads of State never bow. I guess the Southside Messiah skipped that section when he was reading Protocol For Dummies.

  4. What his handlers forgot to brief him on is that how far you bow conveys status in Japan. If you bow further, you imply the other is your superior. However, if you bow much further than you ought to, it is considered sarcastic. (Though in this case, I’m assuming it was merely taken as clueless.)

    If you’re not going to bother to know enough about a culture to get things right, you shouldn’t go through the motions at all.

  5. He was probably told to make a profound bow which would’ve be appropriate if he weren’t a foreign head of state.

    A bow of the head would’ve be appropriate since it isn’t a sign of respect but a greeting.

  6. restrained radical, Akihito isn’t the Pope and Obama isn’t Catholic (Praise the Lord!). As for Bush and Merkel, I guess no one has found any pics of Bush bowing to anyone, so that is the best that can be found in retaliation for Obama embarrassing himself and the US.

  7. You know, the odd thing about this is that Obama was criticized for what seemed like a bow to the Saudi King earlier this year. Either this was deliberate, or the man is very slow to learn from mistakes.

  8. Didn’t we set up the office of the President after we fought a war to get rid of an earthly king?

    It seems odd that our President, chief diplomat, would bow to any earthly king.

    Bowing to the pope would be different since the pope is a head of state and also head of the universal Church to which 25% of Obama’s constituents belong. I am not saying a non-Catholic should bow to the pope; however, one can accept it as a sign of respect for The King that the pope represents and Obama alleges that he is a Christian and he represents a nation that identifies itself as 85%+/- Christian. Although some of those conisder the pope the antichrist and the Church the whore of Babylon – poor fools.

    Donald, I will take issue with your PTL for BHO not being Catholic. I pray that he converts; not into a Pelosi-type of Catholic but into an orthodox Catholic. Can you imagine what a blow that would be to the forces of evil?

  9. My comment AK was in reference to Obama as a Catholic with his current policies, which I believe would make him a CINO.

  10. Not maintaining eye contact also makes it a particularly submissive gesture. This photo will not enhance Obama’s stature in Asia one bit.

    For someone touted as vastly more worldly than Dubya, Obama keeps making rookie blunders when he travels beyond our shores.

  11. BTW, does anybody know if JKF bowed to the Pope when he met him? Certainly, Catholics will agree that a Catholic president should do so, and yet it had to be a rather delicate situation for JFK, given that he had had to convince the American public during his campaign that the US would not be controlled by the Vatican if he were elected.

    Jackie visited the Pope as a private citizen, not in her capacity as First Lady, but I am unable to find any photos of JFK’s meeting with the Holy Father.

  12. Just tell me he didn’t curtsy before the English Queen. Oh wait, my mistake, the English are our allies–he couldn’t care less about them.

  13. ^ And the Japanese are enemies?

    There was an episode of the West Wing where the White House is negotiating a meeting between the President (who was Catholic) and the Pope and one of White House’s demands were no pics of the greeting.

  14. Donna V., Obama was very well received here in Japan. His speech yesterday, on international solidarity, on how humanity stands or falls together, was given credibility by his own international background. I agree with what some Jesuit said on another thread here back in June: on these points Obama represents the spirit of Vatican II. Btw, on that thread you made false statements about me, including the claim that I am a Jesuit.

    A problem with the Japanese Emperor is that he is very short while Obama is very tall. I remember seeing our tall President Hilary greet the still shorter former Emperor Showa in 1983; even without bowing a certain comic effect was produced.

  15. Ronald Reagan bowed to Queen Elizabeth and I think Obama did too. Maybe it is because they are gentlemen of the old school?

  16. Ooops, misspelt name of Irish President Patrick Hillary above.

    I think Obama should not have shaken hands while bowing.

    At least he didn’t vomit on the PM’s lap…

  17. Donald R. McClarey Saturday, November 14, 2009 A.D.
    “Akihito isn’t the Pope and Obama isn’t Catholic (Praise the Lord!)”.

    Did not Mr. Obama go to a Catholic school as a child? What is there to praise that he is not a Catholic?

  18. Because with his policies he would be a CINO, as I stated in an earlier comment in this thread.

    BA: I do and I think a lot of other people do who will be voting in 2010 and 2012. Obama’s understanding of the dignity of the office he holds is as defective as his grasp of basic economics.

  19. Spirit of VII: I don’t remember what I wrote in a June comment thread. I do know I was under the impression that you were a Jesuit. I stand corrected.

  20. Donald, I had a feeling you meant CINO, I just wanted clarification, especially for other readers – obvioulsy, that didn’t work. Sorry.

    SINO – Right on Tito.

    BTW – I am all for the bowing, it is a heck of a lot cleaner than shaking hands. 😉

  21. BA: I do and I think a lot of other people do who will be voting in 2010 and 2012.

    Someone is going to base his vote in 2010 or 2012 on the fact that Obama bowed to some guy in Japan? If so, that’s scary.

  22. BA,

    Just as scary for those that voted for President Obama in 2008 because he talks nice.

    But as far as 2010 and 2012, I’m voting for some other candidate for different reasons.

  23. “Someone is going to base his vote in 2010 or 2012 on the fact that Obama bowed to some guy in Japan? If so, that’s scary.”

    It would be if that were the only reason which of course it is not. The bowing is symbolic of his utter cluelessness regarding both the office he holds and the fecklessness of his foreign policy.

Comments are closed.