In regards to that presidential coffe cup/latte salute…..let it go

By 41 Comments 5,898 views

Like the tan suit….like the feet up on the Resolute Desk

The following is the latest “faux pas” outrage in the conservative blogosphere:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEczmKrpLF8

It isn’t the first time that conservatives have been offended by President Obama’s salute…or lack thereof:

BLCPYlyCMAA0U51.jpg large

Snopes:

obamaheli

This image of President Obama talking on a cell phone and simultaneously saluting the military honor guard attendant at the landing of his aircraft while disembarking from Marine One (the call sign of any U.S. Marine Corps aircraft carrying the President, but generally used to refer to a helicopter operated by the HMX-1 squadron) received wide circulation in October 2012. It is a genuine photograph which was taken on 29 January 2010 upon President Obama’s arrival in Baltimore.

This photograph was commonly circulated in tandem with a picture of President George W. Bush disembarking from an aircraft and saluting while holding his Scottish Terrier, Barney, in one arm:

obamaheli2

This is completely honorable: President Obama returns outside Marine One to shake hands with the Marine. No salute given.

If we make it out to be more than it is, we will invite egg on our faces. And deservedly so.

Already, it begins:

ByQFBIeIUAAD0we.jpg small

But this attempt on the part of liberals to find equivalency isn’t why we conservatives invite egg on our faces. It’s for the very simple fact that, prior to Ronald Reagan, it is not customary for the civilian commander-in-chief to be required to offer a military salute.

Longstanding tradition requires members of the military to salute the president. The practice of presidents returning that salute is more recent — Ronald Reagan started it in 1981.

Reagan’s decision raised eyebrows at the time. Dwight Eisenhower, a former five-star general, did not return military salutes while president. Nor had other presidents.

John Kline, then Reagan’s military aide and now a Minnesota congressman, advised him that it went against military protocol for presidents to return salutes.

Kline said in a 2004 op-ed piece in The Hill that Reagan ultimately took up the issue with Gen. Robert Barrow, then commandant of the Marine Corps.

Barrow told Reagan that as commander in chief of the armed forces, he was entitled to offer a salute — or any sign of respect he wished — to anyone he wished, Kline wrote, adding he was glad for the change.

Every president since Reagan has followed that practice, even those with no military experience. President Bill Clinton’s saluting skills were roundly criticized after he took office, but the consensus was he eventually got better.

The debate over saluting has persisted, with some arguing against it for protocol reasons, others saying it represents an increasing militarization of the civilian presidency.

“The gesture is of course quite wrong: Such a salute has always required the wearing of a uniform,” author and historian John Lukacs wrote in The New York Times in 2003.

Is it Proper for a President to Render a Military Hand Salute? by Bob Price

Something else to consider….

Carey Winfrey in 2009, NYTimes, offering A Final Verdict on the Presidential Salute:

FOR nearly three decades, I’ve felt conflicted about presidential salutes. After all, my United States Marine Corps instructors drilled into me the idea that “you never salute without a cover” which, in civilian, meant without a hat.

My fellow Marines and I were also informed, in no uncertain terms, that we weren’t to salute out of uniform. (I don’t think that presidential blue suits, white shirts and red ties quite qualify.) So whenever I saw a president stepping off a helicopter and bringing hand to brow, my drill instructor’s unambiguous words came back to me with much of their original force.

Then there were the salutes themselves, which ranged from halfhearted to jaunty. None of them fulfilled the characteristically succinct prescription that Capt. Jack O’Donnell of the Marine Corps delivered, in 1963, to my platoon of freshly minted second lieutenants at basic school in Quantico, Va.: “Your salute,” he pronounced, “must be impeccable,” by which we took him to mean like his: a straight line running from elbow to fingertips, the fingers and thumb forming a seamless whole, the arm brought swiftly to the brim of the cap, no palm showing, and then lowered smartly to the side.

Presidents have long been saluted, but they began returning salutes relatively recently. Ronald Reagan was thought to be the first, in 1981. He had sought advice on the matter from Gen. Robert Barrow, commandant of the Marine Corps. According to John Kline, then Mr. Reagan’s military aide and today a member of Congress from Minnesota, General Barrow told the president that as commander in chief he could salute anybody he wished. And so it began.

Mr. Reagan’s successors continued the practice, and I continued to be conflicted — believing that when it comes to salutes (and one or two other matters), presidents deserved to be cut some slack, but also feeling a little uneasy about the whole thing.

My ambivalence came to an end last week, when I saw a videotape of the president’s midnight trip to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where he had participated, very early that morning, in the “dignified transfer” of 15 Army soldiers and three Drug Enforcement Administration agents killed that week in Afghanistan. Mr. Obama stood ramrod straight and saluted as six soldiers carried the coffin bearing the body of Sgt. Dale Griffin of Indiana off a C-17 transport aircraft and into a waiting van. His salute, it struck me, was impeccable in every way.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press President Obama at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Oct. 29, 2009.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press
President Obama at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Oct. 29, 2009.

41 Responses to “In regards to that presidential coffe cup/latte salute…..let it go”

  1. 2

    Nanny+G

    I agree.
    There are issues of substance.
    And then there are things like this.
    Diversions come in many shapes and sizes.
    We’d be better off not being diverted at all.

    Holder just played yet another delay tactic on the Fast and Furious gun running case that insures it runs on long after Obama leaves office.
    Gun control has been a lost cause for Obama after that scandal was exposed.

    The IRS scandal has been shown to have been orchestrated by DOJ, yet DOJ is doing the investigating!

    We may see an end to the Benghazi cover-up before Obama leaves office……if we keep the pressure on.

    ObamaCare came out with a hefty figure of sign-ups but has since been losing signed up people and families in droves with little coverage.

    …..
    …..
    …..

  2. 3

    Lifeisdeath

    @Nanny+G:

    some people arent “diverted” by talking about more than one thing at once.

    some people are outraged at things that the president does, others get outraged at the outrage. i can see where this site is heading…

  3. 4

    Budvarakbar

    @Nanny+G:

    We may see an end to the Benghazi cover-up before Obama leaves office……if we keep the pressure on.

    Only after the commie powers to be decide to throw the hildabeast under the bus — I suspect late enough into 2016 to kick her out of the primaries and then drag it all summer to make the RINOs out as the bad guys that “are trying to turn back the clock” and are a bunch of meanies conducting a “war on women” the hildabeast now is just a stalking horse place holder and heat sink to keep all of us distracted — you can bet the commies have another turd in the background they are polishing up! If they really ever wanted the hildabeast they would have put her in back in 2008 and kept obie for 2016!

  4. 5

    Angel+Artiste

    Good point. We need to focus on real issues, rather than be distracted by meaningless stories. We hate what he is doing to the country, and sometimes we just hate anything he does as an extention of that.

  5. 6

    Ditto

    …it is not customary for the civilian commander-in-chief to be required to offer a military salute.

    Absolutely correct. Why are we even discussing this?

  6. 7

    FMB42

    Anyone remember when Bill Clinton saluted the US flag during a 4th of July ceremony by placing his hand over his stomach?

    Or how about when 0Muslim flipped the cameras off (by repeatedly scratching his face with his middle finger) during one of his first public appearances as President?

    These childish and disrespectful gestures speak volumes about these two spoiled brats. As for the “latte” salute; I see it more as him being aloof rather than showing any outward disrespect. But that’s just me.

    As for the “diversion” thoughts, much the same can be said in regard to Clinton’s “Blue Dress” dust up…

    Meanwhile, 0Muslim’s “latte salute” almost certainly won’t do much in building the loyalty of his security detail, present or future.

  7. 8

    Aqua

    I saluted an officer with a pop tart one morning. Totally forgot I had it in my hand. I apologized, he laughed, we went on our ways.
    I know more is expected of our presidents, but they’re human and stuff happens.

  8. 9

    Scott Kramer

    the president is a civilian. He’s actually not supposed to salute, but can if he wishes. More often, if a president was formally in the military, he will opt to salute. Since Obama has never served in the military, it’s actually more honorable for him not to salute. The main reason why Reagan saluted is because he realised that a lot of Marines didn’t know when it would be appropriate to stop saluting after a greeting by him. So, he decided to salute because then it’s obvious when it is normal to put your hand down. People can be so trite. To be fair, the president acknowledged the marines by waving with his coffee and smiling. That’s all he’s meant to do and since he never served in the military and since he is a civilian, this shouldn’t even be an issue. Grief we are a society of very ridiculous people these days.

  9. 10

    Wordsmith

    editor

    @Ditto:

    Why are we even discussing this?

    Because some conservatives and conservative blogs made some noise about it and now the liberal blogs and mainstream news outlets are reporting on it.

    Ex:

    KTLA5
    USA Today
    Time magazine
    Outside the Beltway
    CNN
    NY Daily News
    HuffPo
    ABC News

    And so on.

    Can anyone corroborate this story?

    This site says:

    The Brit Hume story is one that we have listed as unproven. We have not been able to find any documentation for that one.

    Probably the case, since all the stories on the Brit Hume Special Report are written cut-and-paste verbatim like one of those annoying email forwards spreading urban legends.

  10. 12

    old+guy

    Way off topic, but I accidently caught part of Dumbo’s speech at the UN. Why don’t we invite the UN to move to Syria or Iraq and get this useless bunch out of the US. They could take Dumbo with them as a parting gift.

  11. 13

    Disenchanted

    @FMB42: obama is the commander in chief. He is their boss. There is protocol . What it shows me is his continued disgust of the military. As an aside as he clammers for war soldiers are still being pink slipped. However after saying the special provisions are being made for transgenders and openly gays are being recruited.

  12. 14

    retire05

    Of course what Obama did was not correct, but I am sure he has other things on his mind (although I suspect it is really when he can get back on the golf course). And so it is natural, after 8 years of the left beating up on Bush, who, unlike Obama, actually proved his love for our troops, that the conservative bloggers would harp on Obama’s absentmindedness.

    But what is the purpose of linking to the radical left (MediaMatters, NYTimes, Huffpo) when we already know they will try to diminish any faux pas on the part of Obama. Who the hell cares what the left thinks. Of course, their excuse will be “but Bush…..” as they cover for Fast & Furious, IRSGate, Benghazi, Obamacare, Bergdahl, etc..

  13. 15

    retire05

    @Disenchanted:

    Yeah, Obama simply wants to use our military as a social experiment. That should be the real story. As veterans wait for the medical treatment they need, I suspect Bradley Manning will get his sex change first.

  14. 18

    Wordsmith

    editor

    @Nanny+G:

    I can’t recall seeing Eisenhower or Kennedy or even Johnson or Carter do it.
    Anyone have proof they did?

    I don’t think there is one instance, to my knowledge. This includes former five-star general, Dwight Eisenhower. He never returned a military salute while civilian commander-in-chief.

  15. 19

    Buffalobob

    I always marvel at the “we’re better than that” mentality. If someone chooses to not respond to obama’s stupidly that is their prerogative. For me I’ll point out his blunders all day long. He’s not capably of negotiating an umbrella through a garden trestle, he tries to enter the WH through a window, his lies are unmatched in the annals of history, his leadership is non-existent, his criticism of the US of A rivals that of a third world dictator, the list of his failings are endless. The progs never let up, why the hell should I.

  16. 20

    Ditto

    @Common+Sense:

    saying that our President is a civilian is misplaced. Last time I checked he is also the Commander and Chief of our Armed Forces. Am I wrong??

    If you are trying to infer that being CiC makes a holder of the office of POTUS a member of the military, than yes you are wrong. Obama is and remains a citizen commander.

  17. 21

    Wordsmith

    editor

    @Buffalobob:

    I always marvel at the “we’re better than that” mentality.

    No, Bob. It’s quite obvious conservatives ARE NOT better than that. The far right is no different than the left when it comes to rabid hatred, bias confirmation, “if he’s for it, we’re against it” gravitation.

    Political partisanship to the point of disinterest in truth, facts, and reality. Only interest in what supports ideology and preconceived opinions.

    Human nature, I suppose.

    This post isn’t about “we’re better than that”. It’s about warning conservatives not to pick the wrong battles and make mountains out of mole hills. It’s about ignoring facts and reason- ignoring actual history, tradition, and protocol.

    It’s about not looking like frikkin’, unhinged, marginalized idiots, too stupid and blind in our partisan rancor to recognize the difference.

  18. 22

    Ditto

    @Wordsmith:

    Exactly. Just because the left finds a couple conservatives blowing something out of proportion (and wrongly), other conservative’s shouldn’t jump on the bus to defend them simply because they are a fellow conservative. Any sides in a political discussion can have someone get their facts wrong, read something out of context, or discover a bogus article (like from The Onion or The Daily KOS) and be wrong. Those on the same side are not required to defend and compound the error.

  19. 24

    jainphx

    @Wordsmith: O so obvious disrespect for one showing respect is now hatred!!!! This type of post is one major reason I don’t come here very often. If one can’t see the difference in the two salutes is part of the problem. So I say good by again and this time never to return.

  20. 25

    L Brown

    These are the things that happen when we think it’s more important to teach kids in school to worship some make-belief deity than to learn the important things like how to respect our flag and to read – and comprehend – the constitution of our nation.

    Now kids love their make-belief god while wiping their backsides with the flag and we think they just need more religion and less time learning stupid things like government policy. It’s ok though. At least they can splel ur, thurrr, n durrr. Iy mene, wus up wit dat, yo? Gawd luvs meh, soe suk et, g!

    And now you know why the world laughs at the United Brats of ‘MeriKKKa.

  21. 27

    Wordsmith

    editor

    @jainphx:

    O so obvious disrespect for one showing respect is now hatred!!!!

    Really? Really? That’s your takeaway?

    This type of post is one major reason I don’t come here very often.

    I know. You prefer the rightwing echo chamber of amen chorus singers.

    I’m sure you’re not the only one. I know that my posts and comment drivel has annoyed a great many FA readers from the right.

    If one can’t see the difference in the two salutes is part of the problem.

    You mean between Obama’s latte salute and Bush’s puppy dog salute? Well, if you read between the lines of what I wrote, you might be able to tell that I do see a difference. But that, for me, it’s beside the point.

    So I say good by again and this time never to return.

    Goodnight. See ya tomorrow.

    In all seriousness, why should I care? And why not simply ignore my posts and comments? I am not FA and seldom even put up blogposts anymore.

    Unlike you, however, I don’t mind reading and listening to fellow conservatives on my side of the aisle whom I may disagree with on this or that issue.

    I enjoyed Noah Rothman at Hot Air making the following argument, even if I might still not agree with it :

    Many on the right were incensed over this display of callousness. And let’s make this point clear: the right’s frustration is justified.

    U.S. Army veteran Kurt Schlichter (who authored a phenomenal book, The Conservative Insurgency: The Struggle to Take America Back 2009 – 2041, which you should read) explained that “that the greatest obligation is on the senior officer to return a salute properly.” Obama’s was, he added, a display of cultural insensitivity, though it was one which offended those who revere the only culture the left dismisses: military culture. By failing to transfer the cup to his free hand, the president offered a lazy gesture rather than a show of respect for those American service personnel he commands.

    It is not so much to ask, these veterans suggest, that the civilian commander of U.S. armed forces learn to observe even rudimentary military custom. Famously, former President Bill Clinton underwent a crash course on how to salute properly as he had never served in uniform before taking office. Obama never underwent such training. However, liberals also have a point when they note that this is a relatively recent tradition, and that military men like Dwight Eisenhower refused to salute servicemen as he was no longer serving in uniform.

    Conservatives’ criticisms are valid, but they are also not immediately apparent to the vast majority of civilians who have never served. This includes nearly the entire political media complex. Out of ignorance (and perhaps some fealty toward the president), they see the criticisms of Obama on matters like these as trite, baseless, and rooted in a pathological hatred. What’s more, they are not ashamed to say as much.

    I may quibble with some of that argument; however, I’m not angry at it. Nor do I flippantly dismiss the perspective as invalid and vapid. I think Rothman’s piece is worth reading and worthy of consideration.

  22. 28

    richard+wheeler

    @Wordsmith: “it’s about not looking like unhinged marginalized idiots too stupid and blind in our partisan rancor to recognize the difference.”
    Word Is anybody listening?
    Thanks for your continued voice of wisdom and reason. RW

  23. 29

    Wordsmith

    editor

    Thanks, Richard.

    You know, to compliment Rothman’s piece, one can take Winfrey’s 2009 NYTimes op-ed that, after mixed feelings about the post-Reagan era tradition of presidential salutes- him cutting them some slack while feeling uneasy about the whole change and addition of saluting in civilian dress- that his conclusion of more-or-less endorsement….

    My ambivalence came to an end last week, when I saw a videotape of the president’s midnight trip to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where he had participated, very early that morning, in the “dignified transfer” of 15 Army soldiers and three Drug Enforcement Administration agents killed that week in Afghanistan. Mr. Obama stood ramrod straight and saluted as six soldiers carried the coffin bearing the body of Sgt. Dale Griffin of Indiana off a C-17 transport aircraft and into a waiting van. His salute, it struck me, was impeccable in every way.

    Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press President Obama at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Oct. 29, 2009. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press
    President Obama at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Oct. 29, 2009.

    …..Can be read by those who feel as Rothman does, that President Obama’s salute at Dover Air Force Base is the dignified response worthy of the office of the presidency that everyone should expect from the president. The one that is made flippantly in passing is one that is better left on the tarmac, lawn, or runway; that it would have been better to have reverted back to the tradition of no acknowledgment/response given than the one that is done “half-assed”.

  24. 33

    JR

    Horrible argument people are making. “Bush did it too with the dog” actually, the dog was in his left hand/arm. So no. He didn’t. He did what is considered proper. And talking on a cell phone OR with something in your right hand while saluting is wrong. Regardless, “super awesome guy” would have been better off not saluting at all. He isn’t required to, and probably doesn’t know the rules/regs associated with it since he didn’t serve so probably best just to leave it alone altogether.

  25. 34

    Randy

    Every time I enter a military base, the enlisted guard salutes as a matter of respect to me. Even though I am in civilian clothes these days, I return the salute as crisply as possible to acknowledge the respect shown to me. Even though I am retired, I have a responsibility to maintain military courtesy. Obama is the commander in chief. Military courtesy requires military members to salute him. The quality of his return salute shows the level of respect he has for those enlisted members. The photos convey the level of respect Obama has for these service members. There is no need for further discussion.

  26. 36

    UpChuck.Liberals

    @Nanny+G: The first salute I remember was JFK Jr. saluting his fathers casket. Wordsmith, I agree with the intent of your post, I also agree that there is a proper form for a salute. I will also agree that saluting without a cover is improper. BUT, and this is where it gets a bit foggy…I was at my church, doing the audio for a funeral/memorial of a Vet, we were informed by the Uniformed military that veterans could render a hand salute. I proudly did so. Barry’s first salutes were pathetic on a good day, someone must have told him they sucked so he cleaned up his act, perhaps just to reduce the ridicule of him even saluting at all.

  27. 37

    proudprogressive

    @retire05:

    At least be consistent. If you have a problem with the Latte Salute, then you must be equally offended by W’s Scottie Salute.

    With respect to George W Bush loving our troops – he loved them so much that he sent them to die in an unnecessary war (Iraq), diverting resources from a somewhat necessary war (Afghanistan) so that the Afghanistan war would go on far longer than needed. If you consider that “love”, then I’m glad I’m not “loved” by you.

    And also remember how the Bush administration didn’t want any coverage of the slain soldiers when they were returned to our country. Versus Obama who not only allowed it but attended some of the returns. Is pretending they don’t exist “love”??

  28. 38

    Randy

    @proudprogressive: You have no clue! Maybe you should have been in Iraq with us. But then again, we are glad you were not! You can call yourself a proudprogressive, but you will never be a proud American! It takes more than you have to give.

  29. 39

    Wordsmith

    editor

    @John:

    I like it when conservatives start fuming over things like feet on the desk by our POTUS it dhows that they choose to judge him by different standards

    John Ryan, if you actually followed the comment stream of that post (deleted by former author), you’ll see that aye, a conservative and former author here, in comment #14 was the one to point out to the author of the post that “it is what it is”, posting a photo of George W. Bush doing the same thing.

    And so why do you suppose my post led in with that mention? And if you think conservatives are treating Obama by “different standards”, you need only look on your side of the political aisle for instances of hypocrisy where Obama is given a pass for things Bush was criticized over.

    @UpChuck.Liberals: Thanks for your respectful comment.

    @proudprogressive:

    With respect to George W Bush loving our troops – he loved them so much that he sent them to die in an unnecessary war (Iraq),

    He did not send them to “die” in Iraq. He sent them to remove from power an open state-sponsor of exported terrorism, a known lover of wmd, a violator of 16 + 1 UNSCRs including the original Cease Fire Agreement (not a peace treaty) from the first Gulf War, and a sworn enemy of the United States who never stopped believing he was at war with the U.S. He was a constant menace throughout the 90s- so much so that “regime change” became official U.S. policy under Clinton.

    Unfortunately, we don’t have the benefit of knowing what would have happened had Saddam remained in power. al-Qaeda fighters fled the battlefield of Afghanistan into Iraq, sanctions- which we, not Saddam, were being blamed for as causing the deaths of Iraqi children, were eroding, not working; the oil for food scam set in place to alleviate the suffering was a sham….Saddam retained intent and capabilities to restart wmd programs at a moment’s notice once sanctions were lifted….

    ISIS evolved out of Zawahiri’s al Qaeda in Iraq- defeated by the time President Obama took office, thanks in part to the Awakening and in part to Bush’s Troop Surge, which Senator Obama opposed.

    But whether it’s ISIS or al Qaeda, or whatever other Islamist terror group, these jihadis would still exist; and Islamic terrorism still metastasizing even in the absence of OIF; or of Obama abandoning Iraq (and yes he did- it wasn’t Bush’s signing of SoFA that did it).

    Yes, a supposed “secular” Saddam hated Islamic extremists and did not trust them; but he also feared them enough to do business with them so that their violence would be aimed elsewhere, other than at his secularized Muslim government.

    diverting resources from a somewhat necessary war (Afghanistan)

    What resources were diverted from OEF to OIF during the invasion of Iraq in 2003?

    so that the Afghanistan war would go on far longer than needed.

    That’s a rather simplistic, distorted, and dishonest narrative.

    Will Obama have any share of blame when he models his abandonment of Afghanistan to that of Iraq?

    And also remember how the Bush administration didn’t want any coverage of the slain soldiers when they were returned to our country. Versus Obama who not only allowed it but attended some of the returns. Is pretending they don’t exist “love”??

    *facepalm*

  30. 40

    retire05

    @proudprogressive:

    @retire05:

    At least be consistent. If you have a problem with the Latte Salute, then you must be equally offended by W’s Scottie Salute.

    Giving a salute with his right hand, while holding Barney in his left, was not exactly what I think he should have done, but I am not ready to tar and feather Obama over his faux pas either.

    With respect to George W Bush loving our troops – he loved them so much that he sent them to die in an unnecessary war (Iraq), diverting resources from a somewhat necessary war (Afghanistan) so that the Afghanistan war would go on far longer than needed. If you consider that “love”, then I’m glad I’m not “loved” by you.

    And how many did FDR send to fight Germany when Germany had not attacked us? How about the tens of thousands lost because LBJ didn’t know how to run a war (the start of fighting using politically correct methods, not actual war methods)?
    Those losses just slip your mind?

    And also remember how the Bush administration didn’t want any coverage of the slain soldiers when they were returned to our country. Versus Obama who not only allowed it but attended some of the returns. Is pretending they don’t exist “love”??

    What I do remember was the lapdog medias obsession with photographing all the flag draped caskets returning home during the Bush Administration and how the media seems to have lost interest in those kind of photo shoots since Obama took office. None of you on the left ever mention the 1,716 American military lives lost in Afghanistan since Obama became president. All the while the Taliban is growing stronger, ISIS has taken over territory won by Americans, we are at war in Syria (that Mitt Romney warned about) and yet, where are all the anti-war protesters with their placards of a beheaded Obama?

  31. 41

    Ditto

    @proudprogressive:

    … Versus Obama who not only allowed it but attended some of the returns. Is pretending they don’t exist “love”??

    I think you need to ask that question of the collective news media, who halted their continual body counts of our military once a Democrat stepped into the office of our Presidency. Or are you so naive, dishonest or uneducated that you think that our soldiers stopped dying in those military theaters of operation the moment Obama took his oath of office?

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