Republicans and conservatives are freaking over what they dubbed Obama’s “latte salute,” but truth is that there is no requirement that the president salutes, and thirty-eight presidents before Obama never saluted the troops.
Video of the “latte salute”:
Conservatives have blown a gasket over the latte salute. To them, the video proves that Obama is just a Kenyan Socialist Marxist, who hates America and the troops.
The reality is that there is no law or requirement that a president has to salute the troops. In fact for 192 years, the troops were required to salute the Commander in Chief, but the president never saluted back. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Abe Lincoln, JFK, and FDR didn’t salute the troops when they saw them. Presidents weren’t supposed to salute. In a bit of stagecraft, Ronald Reagan began saluting the troops in 1981.
Rachel Maddow described how Ronald Reagan made up the rule that the president supports the troops in her book Drift, “Kline noticed that his boss was saluting members of the armed forces. Soldiers were supposed to salute their president; the president was not supposed to salute the soldiers. No modern president, not even old General Eisenhower, had saluted military personnel. It might even be, well, sort of, improper. Reagan seemed disappointed at this news. Kline suggested he talk to the commandant of the United States Marine Corps and get his advice, and the commandant’s advice ran something like this: You’re the goddamn president. You can salute whoever you goddamn well please. So Ronald Reagan continued saluting his soldiers, and he encouraged his own vice president and successor, George H. W. Bush, to do the same. And every president since has followed.”
Obama did salute the troops. He did it with a coffee cup in his hand. Apparently holding coffee while saluting is the height of betrayal to the Red, White, and Blue.
The whole thing is especially silly because George W. Bush was fond of saluting the troops while holding his dog:
and an especially serious looking one here:
If Obama’s coffee cup salute was disrespectful to the troops, multiple dog salutes must be treason. The fact is that Republicans hold the nation’s first African-American president to a different standard on everything. The white POTUS can hold his dog, but the black guy should be thrown out of office for saluting with a Starbucks cup in his hand.
I suspect that conservatives are freaking out because deep down inside they know that the 2014 election isn’t going the way that they were told it would be. The chances of retaking the Senate are slipping away. Conservative doubts are growing that they are going to get the win that they were promised.
The odds are increasing that Republicans are going to wake up on November 5th to a Senate and a White House that is still controlled by Democrats. The latte salute hysteria is the beginning of the post-election Republican flight from reality. Conservatives behaved this way after they lost in 2008 and 2012. It looks like they using a salute as their vehicle to escape from reality in 2014.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association