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Bush gropes Merkel

by PeWi Tue Jul 18th, 2006 at 10:31:40 PM EST

This got a bit of tracktion in the usual places, but I think we should have it here as well. Excuses if it was already posted.


I am still so outraged and frankly puzzled, by the outright sexist behaviour. But see for yourself how the leader of the free world, sexually harasses a head of state.

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This can not be posted enough!!! It was of course in the Breakfast. :-))

And it is good to see it being posted everywere. Sometimes this kind of stuff is powerful enough to create a shift in some peoples percetion.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 01:44:46 AM EST
Of course, it was in the Breakfast...

as an aside. I would love to be able to post videos embedded. Any chance of allowing that bit of code

<object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/......I"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/....." type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350"></embed></object>

in Colman?

by PeWi on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 07:40:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
PeWi, Colman is on vacation this week. Maybe you can e-mail him. Or better bring it up again next week in a open thread so we all can learn how to embed a video.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 09:31:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or maybe DoDo can help out?
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 09:42:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
AFAIK you can only embed movies in diaries, not comments -- but I am not well versed in this.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 09:51:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Al on Dkos seems to include videos in comments in his sunday dairy. However, the dkos software might be different than ours, as they seem to have upgraded or something.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 10:00:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OMFG

San Francisco Chronicle: Cowboy george Bush's unexpected squeeze of the German chancellor has the Internet howling (July 19, 2006)

GOP commentator and Fox News political analyst Karen Hanretty said the outraged reaction shows how "President Bush just can't win."

"Aren't these the same women who have been angry about cowboy diplomacy?" she asked. "Do they want a kinder, more sensitive Bush -- or a cowboy? Once again, there's no pleasing women," she said. "Give them the cowboy and they want Alan Alda.''

Hanretty went on to say that "these women who would criticize the prez for making a friendly gesture are the same women who refused to say anything about Bill Clinton when he was accused of sexually harassing Paula Jones. Where were they when Katherine Willey was grieving for her dead husband and Bill Clinton was rubbing them in all the wrong places?''

Hoover Institution research fellow Bill Whalen, a former adviser to former Gov. Pete Wilson, says the generous coverage of Bush's backrub and his open mike comments fully illustrates the power -- and occasional "goofiness" of the Internet in its ability to turn quotes and images into major events for what he calls the "get-a-life contingent.''

"We have this perception that presidents are like Quakers or Amish; they don't say any dirty words,'' he said. "But occasionally an s-bomb will slip in there."

As for that neck rub, Whalen quipped: "There are those who say the President should be more Clintonesque ... maybe he misunderstood what they meant."

Merkel's face is all you need to know about this affair. What is wrong with these people?

Maybe this is what needed to happen for Germany to get tougher on the US diplomatically. I wonder whether Merkel will reflect on this incident as  ametaphor of US-Germany relations.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 02:27:08 AM EST
Utterly creepy video. But I don't think it will or should have any effect on Germany's foreign policy. Getting tougher would probably be a good idea, but not because of this. Bush's capabilities in doing his job (or rather lack thereof) and his policies are what matter, not whether or not he is an asshole as a person.
by MarekNYC on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 02:39:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I find the personalisation of international relations quite interesting and wonder if that has always been the case. That leader had to like each other to be able to make better/ more successful business.

Of course the smallest things can start wars. But did Stalin and Churchill like each other when they negotiated, or how about Hitler and Mussolini - or Hitler and Chamberlain.

When those contract negotiations are being discussed it seems to me the personal level of "friendship" is never an issue : The had a chat over a beer, they exchanged sweaters, hand picked .

The first case where I can remember the personal is being discussed i between Charles de Gaulle and Adenauer, then Kohl very extensively, with his "Maennerfreundschaften" to Gorbatschow.

How much of that is real? Is that only an aspect of politicians meeting more often and the connected ability to form "relationships? or is there a greater change in culture?

by PeWi on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 07:51:00 AM EST
upps
The had a chat over a beer

should have been
They never seem to have had a chat over a beer

by PeWi on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 07:59:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh this is nothing new.  Look at the monarchies of the 18th-20th Centuries.  Talk about personalization of international relations...  I think it is just recently that we expect more "business" and professionalism.  

I accuse Bush of popularizing the idea that friendship can replace diplomacy, or must be required for it.  

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 01:22:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think Bush has a patrimonial idea of government. L'état c'est lui, "gentlemen don't need treaties", and so on.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 01:25:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If it's any comfort to Germans, the overpromoted frat boy couldn't keep his tentacles off the leader of 1.3 billion Chinese either.

From Hu's state visit in April

The world's northernmost desert wind.

by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 09:44:38 AM EST
Words fail me. I'm resorting to acronyms.

"W is for WTF!"

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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 12:10:35 PM EST
I'm not sure I'd call that groping, but the video was very choppy at C&L.  It's not as though he grabbed her ass.  If all he did was briefly grab and massage her shoulders, then I think this is simply a cultural gap.  You'll find that it's a fairly common gesture in the Deep South among both men and women -- a way of saying, "Hey, how're ya doin'?" to someone after he or she has had a long day.

I can understand how it would be odd to people who aren't from this region.  And, again, that's all I was able to see on the video and in the pictures.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 01:12:52 PM EST
So, is it acceptable in the Deep South for a black man to do that to a white woman?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 01:15:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In most parts, yes, it is.  It might become a problem in (say) rural South Alabama or South Georgia, but people tend to overstate racial tensions in the South.  In Appalachia, for example, it wuld be perfectly acceptable, as it would in Charleston, Savannah or Atlanta.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 01:19:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, there has been a lot of progress in racial relations in those cities, but I still can't imagine a black man dumb -- or uncouth -- enough to grab a white woman he barely knows in a public forum.
by Matt in NYC on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 02:45:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Doing so to a white woman, or any woman for that matter, he doesn't know would certainly be awkward.  It's more a gesture between friends and family.  You would typically be expected to at least know the person.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 03:36:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i love it....
'drew's state-by-state guide to southern etiquette.

don't spoil your chance at success with a silly gaffe, you're not in arkansaw any more!'

foot rubs in nashville....a nono!

bumsqueeze in birmingham...ok!

i think merkel has ptsd from growing up in e. germany, and thought the stasi was coming to rendition her ass.

but, no-o-o-o, it's our favourite alky uncle who can't keep his hands to himself.

save it for laura, dude!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jul 20th, 2006 at 03:15:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
drew's state-by-state guide to southern etiquette

Ha!  Well, perhaps state-by-state, East of Kentucky.  We're a fun, though touchy-feely, lot in the South, as long as you stay away on Sundays (not that I've been to church in fifteen years). ;)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jul 20th, 2006 at 04:59:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yup that's just how i had you southerners pegged, all leo buscaglia-types!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Jul 22nd, 2006 at 06:41:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Florida, too, by the way, but Florida never really qualified as being a state in the Deep South, with the exception of a few counties between Jacksonville and Tallahassee along I-10.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 01:22:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You'll find that it's a fairly common gesture in the Deep South among both men and women -- a way of saying, "Hey, how're ya doin'?" to someone after he or she has had a long day.

So this is the cultural equivalent of kissing someone on the cheeks as a hello or goodbye? I remember arriving back from home for my second semester my freshman year and a female acquaintance coming up to give me a hello and happy new year hug. I automatically reacted by beginning the triple cheek kiss that is standard in Geneva. She was a bit flustered though not upset since she was aware of the custom, but if she hadn't known about it the situation would have been much more awkward.

by MarekNYC on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 01:28:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Different messages, but, yes, it's a similar clash of cultural norms.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 01:35:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Drew, check out a better version here (click on the image caption in the small box titled "Video" at left). I mean better if you have enlough bandwith.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 02:19:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It was a little better but still only shows Bush grabbing her shoulders and massaging them briefly.  Again, I think it's simply a cultural difference.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 02:32:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NOT the "Deep South."

This has nothing to do with regional customs. It's just the public face of Bush's innate sadism. Merkel is lucky he wasn't around when she bared her buttocks in that British tabloid photo.

http://www.yaledailynews.com/article.asp?AID=31064

by Matt in NYC on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 02:38:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He's from Connecticut, but he lives in Texas, which, granted, is not the Deep South but has some similarities.  Or, mathematically,

Deep Southerner + Penis Envy + Fake Southern Accent - Class = Bushie Texan

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 03:41:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Only people who are close acquaintances and family do it, though.  And only when they are in a casual situation.  Say, after having had a few beers at the family picnic.  Bush 1)was acting in his professional role as President (could you do that at work?  I couldn't!) 2)is from Connecticut and 3)looked like he'd had one shot of vodka too many all weekend, which would explain a lot.  

I don't know if it is sexual harrassment.  I could see him trying the same move on Blair.  I think he was just acting like an oaf.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 04:37:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Only people who are close acquaintances and family do it, though.  And only when they are in a casual situation.  Say, after having had a few beers at the family picnic.

But then again, everyone can do that, not just Southerners.

It's all about context.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 04:40:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's as clear as is reasonably possible (from the admittedly choppy videos) that it was not sexual harassment.  I think it's also clear that he was acting like an oaf, but that's a given whenever Bush appears with other world leaders...except perhaps the Japanese prime minister, whose Elvis impression was one for the record books, as far as stupid things done by world leaders in the presence of other world leaders is concerned.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 07:22:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree completely it is not sexual, it is just bullying.
With the anecdotes of Bush's alpha-male gestures adding, I cannot help but think of a colleague of mine as I worked in a meditteranean country, that is southern of my own native culture. The more southern, the more physical contact occurs as communication, as the prejudice goes, and it is true. But that colleague was extreme and special: it was always about taking the upper hand over the others, regardless of the official status in the company. He had started on the production line, and as he was not dumb, was on his way upwards (union representative, clerk job...).
I had seen him coming, and knew if you give in, he would go on, it was compulsive by him: take a finger, then the hand, then the whole arm... So the first time he reached to grasp me, I just plainly hit back hard on the shoulder with a smile. He understood very well, and we were again on a very sane basis ;-)
But Bush comes from a Wasp family, I can't figure someone like him using such way of "communicating" his dominance.
And I can't figure such a primitive way of setting the relations among heads of state: WTF are symbols and protocol made for!!???
I loath Chirac, but:  Bush would never tried such cheap shots with him, as far as I know: every bully find some day his alpha-male...
I believe he made a mistake: Angie is tougher than she looks, more than one CSU bully broke his teeth on her.

La répartie est dans l'escalier. Elle revient de suite.
by lacordaire on Thu Jul 20th, 2006 at 05:37:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And I can't figure such a primitive way of setting the relations among heads of state: WTF are symbols and protocol made for!!???

One thing that Bush has made very clear is that he has no grasp for the necessity or usefulness of protocol. But then again, he is not only culturally insensitive but borderline psychopathic.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 20th, 2006 at 05:42:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But then again, he is not only culturally insensitive but borderline psychopathic.

Yes, it's a nasty habit among Texans.  (Why do you think we refuse to accept them as member of the Deep South?)  I maintain that Texas is not a state but a planet unto itself, although a great friend of mine in Atlanta lived outside of Houston for a few years (and picked up the accent in a matter of minutes).

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jul 20th, 2006 at 05:03:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It feels a bit like watching an adolescent randomly pick from a repertoire of observed behaviour without knowing the deeper connotations.

So I'd agree with not "sexual," probably not even "intentionally bullying," just immaturity/inexperience.
(Which is actually not a problem if Cheney et al are running the place ...)

-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Jul 20th, 2006 at 09:43:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm going to have to let you borrow my Saturday Night Live tape of presidential skits one of these days.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jul 20th, 2006 at 05:04:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"You want me to beg? I'm begging. You want me on my knees? I'm on my knees. Please don't make me a one-termer!"
-Dana Carvey as "George HW Bush", Saturday Night Live, 1992.
(Transcribing from memory.)

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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Fri Jul 21st, 2006 at 05:31:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, no.  You need to see the Bush Sr. and Jr. hunting skit.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Jul 21st, 2006 at 01:29:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, I think I've found it. The one with the antlers? "Probably only be four years anyway."?

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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Aug 7th, 2006 at 04:32:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fascinating. I wonder how Hook'em horns would be interpreted by, say Berlusconi.

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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Jul 20th, 2006 at 09:35:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No doubt it is helpful to have good personal relationships with foreign leaders. However countries have to deal with each other even when the chiefs of state dislike each other.

I think there has been a historic tendency for US Presidents to think that the personal characteristics that made them effective in domestic politics (things like charm, charisma, ability to persuade - the sort of characteristics most Presidents have at least to some extent) could be carried over into international negotiations. I think they have sometimes found stern faced foreign diplomats and leaders a bit of a challenge.

Tony Blair is also an example of someone who has found his personal characteristics were not enough to be a successful diplomat. His failure to make President Chirac move on farm subsidies (totally predictable to anyone who understood Chirac's political history and domestic priorities) demonstrates the limits of Blairplomacy.

by Gary J on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 03:20:07 PM EST
"Blairplomacy" - the power of smirking?

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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Jul 20th, 2006 at 09:43:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently Bush kisses his political opponents, so what's wrong with a little back rub among friends?

Besides, how do you how well they "know" each other? By this time in their relationship, certain other recent Presidents would have made it to third base at least...

by asdf on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 07:06:54 PM EST
Political opponents?  Surely you don't think Holy Joe Lieberman is his political opponent.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 07:22:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By this time in their relationship, certain other recent Presidents would have made it to third base at least...

There's an incredibly cruel joke about Reagan in my head right now, but I'll hold it in.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 07:24:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh.
"I was out of the loop"
-George H. W. Bush.

-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Jul 20th, 2006 at 09:45:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, yes, but he was an incredibly ugly president, and that's saying something, given the long line of hideous white men we've endured.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jul 20th, 2006 at 10:38:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think it's sexual harassment. I do think it's a patronising gesture -- one that says, "Of course we're buddy-buddies, aren't we? And I can do this to you, though you couldn't (or wouldn't) do it to me."

It's an over-familiarity that impinges on the personal space of the receiver. And it either confirms or attempts to establish personal power -- especially as it's done very publicly, and therefore the receiver's freedom to reject the move is limited. Merkel went as far as she could to show her displeasure without creating an incident.

See here where in March Berlusconi pulled a similar trick on Chirac. Berlusconi was mad at Chirac at the time (over the ENEL would-be takeover of Suez) and he may be squeezing a bit hard to get a message through under cover of a supposedly folksy-friendly gesture. Chirac has to pretend it's all good fun, but you can bet that's not what he's thinking.

I don't know if Bush had any reason to feel annoyed with Merkel, but the gesture is power language, both private (very personally to Merkel, who feels the contact in a part of the body it is not usual to touch), and public (Bush is saying both: "Angela's my buddy" and "I'm her superior").

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jul 20th, 2006 at 02:46:49 AM EST
Exactly. You speak my mind, with the right expert concepts. I didn't read your comment before responding to Sirocco 5 comments over there.
Funny, I wanted also to speak of Berlusconi as using such cheap tricks.
I didn't remember the story with Chirac however.

La répartie est dans l'escalier. Elle revient de suite.
by lacordaire on Thu Jul 20th, 2006 at 05:46:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The massage is the message

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Jul 20th, 2006 at 06:58:00 AM EST
"And now a massage from the Swedish Prime Minister"
-Monty Python

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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Jul 20th, 2006 at 09:52:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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