Larry Kudlow needs a hug

LARRY KUDLOW NEEDS A HUG…. The White House held a nice going-away ceremony for Rahm Emanuel on Friday, with President Obama thanking his former chief of staff for his service, and giving him a warm embrace as Emanuel departed.

Conservative media personality Larry Kudlow didn’t like it, and argued, in all seriousness, that the president shouldn’t hug people when “our enemies” are “watching.” (via Josh Marshall)

I think the hug lacked dignity. It did not send a message of American power and forcefulness. So I fret about the reaction around the world to this kind of fraternity-like emotionalism in full public view.

Why not just a dignified, stand-up, serious handshake? That’s what Reagan would have done. A strong handshake shows friendship, respect, and even affection. But a big fat hug seems to go over the line.

Perhaps I’m overreacting to this. But when it comes to the presidency and the behavior of our top leaders, I think the image we want to send at home and abroad is one of serious strength of purpose. Not some kind of collegiate squeeze. Somehow the Obama-Emanuel embrace seemed demeaning — to the presidency, to our officialdom, and to our strength of purpose.

Just to be clear, in case there are any doubts, Kudlow isn’t kidding, and this isn’t satire intended to make conservatives look ridiculous. Indeed, this also wasn’t the CNBC host just riffing off the top of his head — he published this in a print column. In other words, Kudlow had time to think about this anti-hug argument, and he ran with it anyway.

For what it’s worth, I searched Google Images for “Bush hug” and found all kinds of images of the former president hugging his supporters, hugging John McCain, hugging foreign heads of state, and even hugging Barack Obama. As far as I can tell, Kudlow never whined about it.

Kudlow’s column asks, “Am I the only one who saw weakness” in the presidential hug? Yep, Larry, you are.