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April 21, 2005

I’ll Gladly Pay You in Forty or Fifty Years For a Hamburger Today

Bushpayhere

Last time we checked in with the road show, George Bush was in Iowa (Dispatch from Cedar Rapids – link).  This time, it’s Columbia, South Carolina. 

If you read the last dispatch, you know I’m big on the theory that “W” has been on autopilot.  (In addition, he seems to have morphed into a caricature of his own caricature, identified mostly by a limited set of emphatic hand gestures.)

I’d say his p.r. people are getting a little lax, as well.  What’s with those microphones encroaching on Bush’s bar delivery?  Also, what’s with that “how much longer do with have to stand around here” vibe from the entourage?  And, why don’t those folks in the far back seem mindful that you-know-who is in the house. 

Despite the wandering mikes and the enthusiasm issues, however, I’d say this shot compares favorably to Cedar Rapids. (I understand the other shot had a lot more sexual tension.  With the big finger, though, this one is much more political.)

What do you make of the appropriated “PAY HERE” device?  I can see where BushCo. thought it reinforced their Social Security agenda, or some message about fiscal policy, but it seems more than open to interpretation. 

Something I found telling is the fact that the tip jar doesn’t line up with the finger (and, that the finger points over the edge of the counter).  Of course, in real life, these alignments would be completely incidental.  In terms of “lining up” your message in a completely staged political photo, I think it’s fair game, however.  If you’ve been following the road show, Bush keeps shifting his own idea of where the dollars ultimately fall, refusing to get behind any plan that he doesn’t feel he can get through.  Of course, many of you might say that’s just politics.  To the extent he and Rove are more pathological than practical about it, however, it suggests a failure of leadership (or, at least, the failure to accept failure of the privatized accounts concept).

Maybe what Bush has on tap for social security has grown “beside the point.”



(To examine all those near microscopic details — such as Mr. Peanut — in greater detail, go here.  For content, the article link is here.  As for the caption, it reads: President Bush chatted with Catherine Bailey, center, as he waited for a cheeseburger yesterday at the Rockaway Athletic Club in Columbia, S.C.)



(image: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images – April 14, 2005 in The New York Times, p. A15)

  • Pedro

    If you follow Bush’s eyes and the way the two women are standing, you’ll notice that he’s talking to somebody far left off the picture… Did the poor fellow/gal not meet the estetic criteria for the shot and just got cut out?
    As for the sign, the finger isn’t pointing at anybody and doesn’t seem to be central to the picture. What jumps out though (good contrast with the background?) are the words “PAY HERE” above Bush’s head, which means either the PR were really sleeping or they unexpectedly turned on their boss…

  • Scott

    It only says he was waiting for the hamburger, not that he paid for it. Oh look, he did pay for the burgers. The total came to over $63.20, and the President, who was holding what appeared to be two 20-dollar bills, called an aide to help him take care of the check. [emphasis mine] Oh, so he didn’t, he had someone bail him out instead. Gee, thats not a pattern. You’d think with all the tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy, he’d be able to afford a couple hamburgers. Or, you know, have a credit card he could use. He was probably just waiting for the Cash Fairy to swing by and cover the check. Probably the same Cash Fairy that’s going to pay off all the debts incurred by this stupid war. If that was my bar, I would’ve required payment up front. He doesn’t exactly have the greatest record of paying back debts.

  • I.B.

    I’m guessing this is supposed to portray W.
    as the common man expressing his “earnest” views
    in a local S.C diner type setting. What strikes
    me besides the ambiguous “PAY HERE”, is that the
    players in the backround are not the usual cross section W’s PR people put together. They’re
    obviously businessmen, who only stand to gain from SSI privatization. The contrast here to the two plain folk women behind the counter is distinct. Odd stuff. Maybe they have turned on him.

  • Asta

    There’s something amiss with the reflection on the countertop that W is leaning across. It doesn’t match up — the necktie lines are totally off. And his head looks PhotoShopped on, where’s his neck? Shadows are wrong, too.
    My interpretation is that this photo is a non-photo, he was never at that location. The two women, when you compare proportions, must be Amazons, or else W has shrunk. They seem much larger than him, particularly when you consider that he is closer to the camera — I am having a problem with the perspective.
    Again, I get the creeps from this image as I did with the Cedar Rapids photo.

  • http://oldfashionedpatriot.blogspot.com George Johnston

    That is the best title I have seen anywhere in awhile. I think the reality is worse than that. What Bush is really offering is, “I will gladly pay you half price for this burger forty or fifty years from now.”

  • Pedro

    “The total came to over $63.20, and the President, who was holding what appeared to be two 20-dollar bills, called an aide to help him take care of the check.”
    Hmm… sounds like somebody forgot what a round of burgers cost? Or never knew?
    Taking a closer look at the picture I also had to ask myself: why is everybody standing?

  • Quentin

    This picture is even greasier than the one from Cedar Rapids, which is hard to believe. How quaint, georgie didn’t have enough money to pay the bill, if we are to believe the down-home, white house PR mill. When did the make-believe diner fantasy enter the U.S. imagination? People must be staying away from diners in droves nowadays out of fear of running into georgie munching burgers.

  • Quentin

    And asking them to pay the bill.

  • http://zencomix.blogspot.com zencomix

    “He seems to have morphed into a caricature of his own caricature.”
    Sort of like William Shatner’s Iowa Invasion….Go to the rural base and try to fool the rubes.

  • MonsieurGonzo

    i simply adore this photo: it’s hilarious!
    every time i try to analyze this frame, or express feelings invoked…
    …i start to laugh so hard, i nearly wet ‘em (^_^)
    if it does not fully capture the incapacity to empathize characteristic of his Psychopathic Personality disorder, it does entirely reveal the animus of this carnival con, the cynical amusement of all those crony handlers and enablers who back him, and the shameless seduction of the (feminized / infantalized) American electorate.

  • http://www.lananfrank.net/lana/ amanuensis

    ::chuckles:: oh, that’s great. As Pedro says, since hand doesn’t line up with anything, you have the “Pay Here” over Bush’s head. Well, no, the “Pay Here” is not only over Bush’s head, it frames the “suits” in the background. So you end up with the finger more or less pointing at the “plain folk” basically telling them to pay Bush and the suits.

  • Scott

    When you expect to be working in a small room, potentially close to your subject, the tendency is to use a wide-angle lens. That not only makes sure you can get the whole subject in view at close range, but since it gathers light from a larger field of view, you are less likely to need to use a flash. The side effect of those lenses is barrel distortion (straight lines bow out in the middle). For a better look at the room, same scene, different angle. In that one, the chimp is big like his ego, and surrounded by all the “little people”. [side note: didn't Babs ever teach him to tuck in his shirt, or is that a spare tire he's working on?]
    In the color picture, there is a large window on the left letting in a lot of sunlight, and looks like one behind and to the left of the camera as well and thats the one providing most of the light for this scene. Daylight has a lot more blue in it than the relatively orange cast that (tungsten) indoor lighting provides. So our main subjects, the ones bathed in sunlight, do take on a ghostly glow, especially compared to the people only lit by incandescent lights. Not sure that was intentional, but I’ll be sure to remember that trick.

  • Asta

    Scott, thank you for your explanation of the effects of using a wide-angle lens. I’ll put my tinfoil hat away now, just gotta rub out some of the wrinkles…
    I followed your link to the color photo and enjoyed putting your analysis with that image. Yep, the Chimp is as big as his ego in that shot.
    Also clicked on the photo beneath the diner scene. And there’s ole W sitting in a booth working on his Body Language with the Ladies. Too funny.

  • http://georgejmyersjr.blogspot.com/ George Myers

    Hugo Black, Chief Justice this reminds me of, because of the “counter culture” it reminds me of. Charles Reich, who was an assistant to Justice Black (described in “The Sorcerer of Bolinas Reef” by C. Reich) and “The Greening of America” (also authored by Mr. Reich) sort of a joke from it, “youse pay your money youse get your culture”. “You go girl” also associates from Victor Hugo. Anyway, what’s this guy doing insisting on justices? Hud? Terrible, burying all those cows at the end of the film.

  • mad

    The title: “I’ll gladly pay you in forty of fifty years for a hamburger today”.
    Isn’t that something that Wimpy in the old Popeye cartoons would say? If so, did he ever pay it back? Will President Bush ever pay us back for robbing the Treasury?
    Speaking of Wimpy, why do some people regard our President as a wimp and a fraud, and other good people look at the same man as a strong, brave leader?

  • pragmatic_realist

    Rich guys don’t carry money. They either expect things to be given them for free, or that somebody else will pay.
    A reporter named Richard Grimes wrote a book about Jay Rockefeller when he was governor of WV and noted that Rockefeller was very bad about being short of cash and needing to borrow what for him were small sums from his aides to pay for impulse items (like Bush’s hamburgers or Cheney’s fruit stand purchase last summer) on his travels. Sometimes he ended up “borrowing” several hundred dollars and “forgetting” to pay back people who really could not afford to be out of pocket for hundreds of dollars, but they were embarrased to ask the governor to pay them back.
    Rich people often really don’t have money, they just have credit extended by people who assume they are good for it. Sometimes, eventually, the house of cards falls in and the truth is revealed. Witness: Enron, WorldCom, Trump, Arbusto and Harken Energy.
    When do you think the guy who “loaned” GWB the $25 to “help out” will get his money back?

  • pragmatic_realist

    Rich guys don’t carry money. They either expect things to be given them for free, or that somebody else will pay.
    A reporter named Richard Grimes wrote a book about Jay Rockefeller when he was governor of WV and noted that Rockefeller was very bad about being short of cash and needing to borrow what for him were small sums from his aides to pay for impulse items (like Bush’s hamburgers or Cheney’s fruit stand purchase last summer) on his travels. Sometimes he ended up “borrowing” several hundred dollars and “forgetting” to pay back people who really could not afford to be out of pocket for hundreds of dollars, but they were embarrased to ask the governor to pay them back.
    Rich people often really don’t have money, they just have credit extended by people who assume they are good for it. Sometimes, eventually, the house of cards falls in and the truth is revealed. Witness: Enron, WorldCom, Trump, Arbusto and Harken Energy.
    When do you think the guy who “loaned” GWB the $25 to “help out” will get his money back?

  • Ros

    This photo, as well as the previous one from Cedar Rapids, look as thought they were taken in the 1950s/early 1960s: clothing, haircuts, decor. The Cedar Rapids one looks like the “after” picture in an advertisement for a men’s pomade or other early form of Viagra.

  • http://drewthaler.blogspot.com/ Drew Thaler

    It really does look like Bush is manning the counter and the bartenders are lining up to pay him and the suits.
    He’s being all charming and convincing them to give him their money, and it seems like it’s working. But the viewer of the photo is made aware of the scam and won’t fall for it themselves.

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