The right’s newfound fascination with protocol

THE RIGHT’S NEWFOUND FASCINATION WITH PROTOCOL…. I noticed quite a bit of complaining from conservatives this week about various questions of diplomatic protocol, stemming from the G20 summit. I was going to write up an item, but it looks like A.L. beat me to it.

It’s hard not to be amused by the sudden right wing obsession with obscure diplomatic protocols and rules of decorum. If you look at memeorandum over the last few days, it’s been a nonstop right wing blog storm about various supposed diplomatic gaffes that the Obamas have made during the G20 summit. First it was that Obama’s gift to the Queen was somehow inappropriate or embarrassing. Then it was that Michelle Obama somehow inappropriately put her arm around the Queen (despite the fact that the Queen was doing the same to her). Now it’s that Obama somehow inappropriately lowered his head when meeting the king of Saudi Arabia.

Since when did conservatives start caring about diplomacy, much less obscure rules of diplomatic decorum? I seem to remember these same bloggers defending a previous president who (while not actively pissing off the entire world with his policies and rhetoric), took the time to give the Chancellor of Germany an awkward neck massage, told the Pope he gave an “awesome speech”, and, after implying that the Queen was over 200 years old, turned around and winked at her. Indeed, I’m pretty sure that these same bloggers would have leapt to George Bush’s defense if he had tackled the Queen ‘Naked Gun’ style or belched in her face.

Quite right. I can appreciate the right’s hair-trigger alerts for presidential missteps. I can even appreciate conservatives inclination not to cut U.S. leaders any slack.

But the constant whining this week about diplomatic protocol has been pretty silly, even by the standards of far-right blogs. The Queen apparently requested the iPod; there was nothing inappropriate about the contact with the First Lady; and the president’s deferential greeting towards the Saudi king didn’t seem any more controversial than the time Bush and the Saudi king held hands and traipsed through the flowers together.

It’s all rather petty, really.

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