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November 2, 2005

Earning The Halo

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Like all frustrated and long-suffering progressives, I, too, was proud, inspired and relieved to see Harry Reid call a halt (at least for a few hours) to business-as-usual.  Whereas photos of Senators making comments in the Capitol — halo or not — are typically forgettable, yesterday’s shots of Reid were as inspiring as he was.  If you haven’t read Reid’s shining statement explaining why he shut down the Senate forced the Senate into closed session, catch it at Seeing The Forest here.

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The Reid image I mostly wanted to focus on, however, caught my attention on Monday while I was looking at Alito pictures.

This shot was taken at the memorial service for Rosa Parks at the
Metropolitan AME Church in Washington. I have no idea what Frist and
Reid were talking about, but the body language really struck me. Reid
looks slightly disheveled, or showing some age. Frist, on the other
hand, looks just too perfect. If Reid seems disarming, however,
consider that he’s
the one talking, he’s probably edifying Frist out of his much deeper
knowledge of Washington and its ways, and, perhaps in part, he’s also
sizing up how to catch Frist looking the other way.

(Although I was only interested in Frist and Reid, it would be
an oversight not to also acknowledge the rest of this wonderful photo.
It’s hard not to be stuck by the racial and the power divide, as if a
line is drawn between the first two sets of three, and the last. (The
differential is only heightened by the aura of importance of Elaine
Chao.)

But, back to Harry.  The last time The BAG looked at a shot of Reid,
it was to speculate on his stealthy nature and his background as a
boxer. I can’t imagine — at this moment — Reid doesn’t already know
he’s going to shut down the Senate the next day. If that’s the case, is
he just setting Frist up for a knockout?

Actually, perhaps the faces of the black parishioners are more
related than I first thought. These expressions poignantly register the
presence of the powerful, and the corresponding feeling of lesser
importance. Although on different terms, Reid must often feel something
similar in the presence of the Majority Leader. Except yesterday, he
wasn’t going to stand for it.

(image 1: Tim Sloan/AFP. November 2005.
The Capitol, Washington, DC. Via YahooNews. image 2: Alex Wong/Getty
Images. November 1, 2005. Washington. mtv.com. image 3; Manuel Balce
Ceneta/A.P. Oct. 31, 2005, in Washington. Via YahooNews.)

  • Phredd

    Ahem. Reid didn’t “shut down the Senate.” He invoked a rule to take the Senate into a closed hearing. They were working in there. They were working on the stuff that Republicans didn’t want to work on.

  • Timothy Storm

    There’s another very clear Reid halo on MSNBC in a photo attributed to Mark Wilson. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9887457/)

  • Marysz

    I agree that the lower picture, taken at Rosa Parks funeral, resonates with political and racial complexity. The African-Americans in the photo have the subdued aspect that’s appropriate–they’re at a funeral, in a church. The politicians, Frist, Reid and Corzine (I don’t recognize the man in the lower right) are using this as an opportunity to schmooze. The self-contained Elaine Chao stands apart from the men; either they have shut her out, or she’s shut them out. We see the back of Jon Corzine’s head–like Frist, he’s independently wealthy, but unlike Frist, Corzine earned his fortune instead of inheriting it. And also unlike Frist, he doesn’t wear a toupee to hide his baldness (Frist does wear a hairpiece, doesn’t he?) Corzine doesn’t’ feel the need to put on a false front to the world, he’s much more confident about who he is than the insecure Frist. Reid’s jacket is unbuttoned and he looks like he has his hands in his pockets. Like Corzine, he’s street smart and savvy. Frist, as usual, stands primly and uncomfortably. The Metropolitan AME Church is not his scene. Frist knows he has to put a “good face” on his appearance at the funeral of a humble African-American woman whose place in American history will always be more meaningful and important than his.
    Anyone recognize the man behind Frist? Is that Marion Barry, whose legal problems the Republicans love to dwell on–both to castigate blacks and as a justification for denying statehood to the District of Columbia? Frist’s back is carefully turned away from Barry (if that’s who it is), but now that Frist is under investigation and facing indictment, he and Barry are kindred souls.

  • Purple

    That halo shot looks as it he’s wearing a giant hubcap on his head!

  • ummabdulla

    Is the guy in the lower right Paul Sarbanes?

  • MonsieurGonzo

    Give ‘Em Hell, Harry !
    Senator Reid certainly rocked the Republicans’ boat and had them fussing and fuming in hasty hallway video spots yesterday. Mr. Reid’s motion, so abrupt and un-expected (not unlike your no-huddle football offense?) that the normally lock-step opposition party had no Talking Points or opportunity otherwise for stagecraft, and was ~ for all intents and purposes, naked lunch.
    But i find it interesting that most photo-journalists (as well as the BAG, here) chose to image and discuss Mr. Reid in the context of Republicans…
    …after all, he may have royally pissed off the Hill junta and WhiteHouse cabal, but it was the Democratic leaders whom the Senator shamed, n’est-ce pas ?
    i mean, by comparison, Messrs. Kerry & Dean (now for the war = occupation, doncha know) look puny…
    …neo-Likudniks and AIPAC sycophants like Liberman, Feinstein and Hillary just seem now (by association) to be jewish voting bloc agenda-hugging War Mongers…
    blow-dried Obama and BreckGrrrl Edwards look positively effete compared to this give -em- hell – Harry man.
    i say: give us a no hair piece Harry man, anyday.

  • http://www.woodka.com donna

    Front page WaPo pic today was the best…

  • CK

    I think Harry is feeling bold. Maybe in the picture with Frist he is saying “Say, Bill, is that a cat up there?” To me Bill Frist looks like he is about to have a Cheney style FU moment!

  • mugatea

    Agreed that Harry looks disheveled, often. But … since taking his leadership role he’s shown more cojones and emotional intelligence than Tom Daschel did in all his years at the helm.In the last five years our entire country has become disheveled, so be easy on Harry.
    Is a bright red tie appropriate for a memorial service?
    Frist’s most important event of that day was being photographed with ScAlito.
    That beacon rouge of a tie makes consevatives randy.
    One should not get randy at a memorial service.

  • http://theheretik.typepad.com/the_heretik/ The Heretik

    Interesting as always. But in that second picture, it seems clear to me neither Frist nor Reid are talking and both are looking up something up.
    The next day, Reid showed Frist what else was up.

  • http://www.kingfishphoto.com/gallery/ jdsalmon

    Yeah, can you talk about the WaPo photo? It can also be seen here at Pandagon.
    I think it can really go either way, to those thinking its just some sneering Democrats, to a bad-ass Reid w/ halo looking like he’s gunna throttle some punk.
    (and throttle he did, ho ho)

  • http://www.giantinflatablepoodle.blogspot.com/ GIP

    Really lovely post. Interesting to compare this pic of Frist looking smooth and composed with the image of him twisting and contorting while whining of the “affront” Reid and Dems laid on him. And Santorum snivelling in the bachground: Priceless.

  • http://www.giantinflatablepoodle.blogspot.com/ GIP

    Really lovely post. Interesting to compare this pic of Frist looking smooth and composed with the image of him twisting and contorting while whining of the “affront” Reid and Dems laid on him. And Santorum snivelling in the bachground: Priceless.

  • http://www.biawinterart.com Bia Winter

    It’s too rich! The Dems finally relocating their Cojones in a definitive resounding move initiated by Harry Reid!
    How utterly foolish that flaming hypocrite, Frist looks, as he’s whining about a “Slap in the Face”!
    Haha! More like a well-placed, well-overdue KICK in the BUTT!
    And they want to talk about STUNTS!? How about that late night, closed arm-twisting session they pulled when they robbed Medicare?
    There are too many other examples to list.
    Hats off to Harry Reid for showing some leadership, moving this INVESTIGATION forward, and then, we hope, holding those involved accountable, no matter where it leads! !
    (While they’re at it, they ought to re-investigate 9/11, the KEYSTONE of this whole
    ugly structure of lies. )

  • Anastasia

    Who wears a bright red tie to a funeral? Is this some sort of Red State statement, a code that says, “I’m not really part of this.” Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge?
    The other day on TV, they were showing old file footage of Rosa Parks at the guest of honor at one of Bill Clinton’s State of the Union speech.
    When she was introduced, the entire audience gave her a standing ovation. The camera clearly shows Bill Frist, but he’s not what one might call applauding. Rather he is lightly patting the back of one hand with the fingers of the other, looking inattentive and as though he is just going through the motions.
    Here is one of the great heros of the Civil Rights struggle, being honored by the President, Congress and the nation and all Bill Frist can muster is the most tepid ‘applause’ imaginable.
    Bill Frist seems to have a lot of trouble relating to anything that’s real and deeply felt. No wonder he comes off as such a bizarre character.

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