Wesley Pruden is willing to forgive President Obama for bowing to the Japanese emperor. In an op-ed in The Washington Times, Pruden says Obama's "obeisance" to foreign "emperors, monarchs, sovereigns and assorted other authentic man-made masters of the universe" is embarrassing but understandable. After all, he says, the president is a man with no "natural instinct or blood impulse for what the America of 'the 57 states' is about."
Mr. Obama, unlike his predecessors, likely knows no better, and many of those around him, true children of the grungy '60s, are contemptuous of custom. Cutting America down to size is what attracts them to "hope" for "change." It's no fault of the president that he has no natural instinct or blood impulse for what the America of "the 57 states" is about. He was sired by a Kenyan father, born to a mother attracted to men of the Third World and reared by grandparents in Hawaii, a paradise far from the American mainstream.
Not surprisingly, Puden's analysis on the "blood impulse" of the president didn't go over well with some bloggers:
- Pruden Celebrates Post-Racial America Adam Serwer thinks Pruden revels in his ability to ditch political correctness now that a black man has been elected president.
I'll just note that it's still OK in 2009 to make the argument that white people are the only "true Americans" in major newspapers, even with a black man in the White House. No, especially because there's a black man in the White House. For some reason, suggesting that black people as a whole aren't really "American" is justified because it's seen as a personal attack on the president, rather than what it really is: soft white nationalism.
- Another Confederate In the Newsroom Matt Corley of Think Progress gives his readers a little background on Pruden, who's an editor emeritus at The Washington Times.
Pruden has a history of writing racially-charged items. In 2005, he wrote a column criticizing the Senate for passing a resolution that apologized for never enacting an anti-lynching law. As Media Matters noted at the time, Pruden had previously made numerous 'sympathetic statements about the Confederacy' and employed 'a neo-Confederate activist in the Times newsroom.'
- It's The Washington Times Who Should Be Embarrassed Vincent Fernando of Clusterstock says the bow was the decent thing for Obama to do. In fact, Fernando argues that not bowing to the Emperor would have been the "equivalent of a Japanese prime minister flicking off the Pope face to face." And he has some harsh words for Pruden:
First of all, Mr. Pruden's description of Obama's heritage is xenophobic, or even far worse. Secondly, just because Mr. Pruden himself can't imagine what it must be like to possess global knowledge doesn't mean that possessing this knowledge is somehow un-American.
[...]Thirdly, the bow wasn't grovelling in any shape or form. One has to understand that actions, or lack thereof, only have meaning based on their context. For Obama not to bow would have been the equivalent of a Japanese prime minister flicking off the Pope face to face. Americans would be outraged while Japanese would wonder 'well it's just a finger, it has no meaning.'"
- As Outrageous as Glenn Beck? Gawker's Hamilton Nolan can't decide, so he gives his readers a chance to weigh in with a poll. "How much more pride would our nation have today if only Obama's mother had been attracted not to the lowly dirt-people of the third world, but rather to fine American men, like, say, Wesley Pruden, pictured? Vote for the most outrageous American hero, below!"
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.