Ed Morrissey notes that the New York Times scolded Bill Clinton for almost bowing in 1994:
So far, the media has remained entirely silent on Barack Obama’s deep-waist bow to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. They used to defend American protocol a lot more closely, as The Anchoress discovered in doing research on the subject. The New York Times sharply criticized Bill Clinton for a mere inclination of his shoulders towards Japanese Emperor Akihito in 1994:
Why the complete silence from the media now?
In case you missed the bow:
Clinton’s almost bow in 1994 got this reaction from the New York Times:
It wasn’t a bow, exactly. But Mr. Clinton came close. He inclined his head and shoulders forward, he pressed his hands together. It lasted no longer than a snapshot, but the image on the South Lawn was indelible: an obsequent President, and the Emperor of Japan.
Canadians still bow to England’s Queen; so do Australians. Americans shake hands. If not to stand eye-to-eye with royalty, what else were 1776 and all that about? …
Guests invited to a white-tie state dinner at the White House (a Clinton Administration first) were instructed to address the Emperor as “Your Majesty,” not “Your Highness” or, worse, “King.” And in what one Administration aide called “some emperor thing,” an Army general was cautioned that he should not address the Emperor Akihito at all as he escorted him to the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.
But the “thou need not bow” commandment from the State Department’s protocol office maintained a constancy of more than 200 years. Administration officials scurried to insist that the eager-to-please President had not really done the unthinkable.
So what was unthinkable in 1994 is not even newsworthy in 2009?
Actions. They are SO much louder than words.