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January 20, 2006

Your Turn: Bush On The Green


(click image for less microscopic view)

Here is the other pic I’m leaving you with this weekend.

It was taken on Thursday at a moving and storage outfit in Virginia and featured on the White House website.  I went through the entire transcript of Bush’s remarks at this small business event to try and find some reference to this incredible stage.  (Although he was loaded with quips, it was remarkable to me that Dubya never once mentioned the unique set up and floor treatment.  … As a possible subliminal association, however, he did offer a long winded story about how his first Presidential decision involved deciding on the style and color of the rug in the Oval Office.)

From the transcript, I deduce this sell-a-thon was designed to kick off a new White House campaign on the economy.  Obviously, the questions were all canned.  Bush even made some jokes to this effect.  Still, prepped to the hilt, Bush went on and on until it seemed like there was not a talking point left to wring out.  (The feeling I was left with was that Bush had broken into the steroid cabinet.)

… Oh yeah, the picture.  Make sure you expand the image because even the full size version is a little hard to make out.  If you’re wondering, by the way, the text in the flag reads “Brighter Future For America.”

White House photo gallery with additional images here.

Transcript here.

(Thanks to Jeffrey)

(image: Eric Draper/White House. Thursday, Jan. 19, 2006. Sterling, Virginia.

  • Doctor Biobrain

    I’m really no good at this whole image analysis thing. I just wanted to say that the whole setup freaks me out. That’s a weirdass set he’s on. It’s almost like a boxing ring that’s been exploded, in order to let him escape if he needed to. Or maybe it’s to remind him of the jailcell he now knows he’ll be partaking in soon; but this one still gives him the breathing room of the escape hatches. Or maybe it’s a playpen, I don’t know.
    Can anyone honestly say that his favorite part of being president isn’t campaigning? I’m sure he likes the headrush of the whole power-trip, but I suspect that it’s the meet-and-greet element of being the man on the stage he likes best. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, someday, George Bush will be a great tele-evangelist. Hopefully, someday soon.

  • Khanum

    The Barbie play pen freaks me out too! Bush is too exposed, hasn’t any one learned a lesson from these open air, free for all do-s? Dr. Biobrain, Bush is already a televangelist.

  • Chris

    Somehow, the swastika arrangement of the fences just transfixes me.

  • JJF

    Bush behind bars. Why don’t they just put him in a cage?

  • Rafael

    I commeted on this pic during the Cheeney has bad feet story. Good thing that the Bag picked it up (and Jeffrey beat me too it ). As I commented here ( in All Alone in the Night, that the biggest elements of the pic are how fake it all looks and the physicall distance between the speaker (Bush) and his audience (who sit in nice litle ordered rows). I guess the idea of been some kind of playhouse fits nicely.

  • steve talbert

    What’s interesting to me about that image is not the swastika form (I would expect that from those folks as it’s a sumbliminal part of their world view)..but actually, the rails and rope look like they are actually holding the audience back like cattle. It’s as if the railings exploded by the shear force of Bush’s words and are pushing back the audience. I think that coincides with their End Times view of their position in the universe (small insignificant person and 1 all important being). I wonder if their brains are just wired differently as they have never had to develop any type of critical thinking.

  • James Williamson

    A boxing ring with an invisible opponent.
    Or he’s just fighting himself.
    Or shadowboxing in front of an audience!

  • gleex

    Ahh green the color of money.
    I heard some of his stats on the economy, however I believe he neglected to mention that newly created jobs are missing the mark, as of Friday the Dow Jones is down over the 5 years he has been in office (how is that for a return on a 5 year investment), and wages are still going down.
    I myself am luck to hold onto my job for most of this time, and I am still making less than I was making in 2001-2002 two jobs and 5 more years of experience later.
    He could give a speech on the set of the Price is Right and I would not give a flying fudge until my wages go up (or at least my overall taxes, and cost of energy go down). President Bush is an oxymoron. I bet he gives the “credit” to his tax “cuts”… well my taxes went up and I am sure that is true for anyone but the CEO’s who are loving this guy, and all the extra time and money they have to play golf. And the fact that if the economy goes down in flames they will have enough money to chill out in their gated communities and play golf.
    So yea, the stage is perfect. Launch a tour that is going to be full of great news and barely coded phrases for the private golf club criminals.

  • lytom

    I guess it is not enough for Bush handlers to screen the people who will get to see him. Now he needs further protection.
    On the other hand these white bars remind me of Saddam’s trial….I guess there were some spared for the Bush, but not enough.

  • gleex

    Oh, and working more hours for the company. Forgot to mention how we are brining productivity up and getting squat for it. Even the soldiers are brining productivity up by having to go on 3-tours in 3 years.
    Thanks for the pain in the neck oxymoron.

  • Thomas

    When I see the green rug(astroturf?) and the outline of the continental United States, I am reminded of the Augusta Masters Golf Tournament (
    Is he standing on a putting green? The picture would make more sense if Tiger Woods were in the photo.
    The Masters Tournament is by invitation only. It is NOT a public institution (women are / were barred from competition). It is exclusive club.
    The boxing ring metaphor raises an interesting question – where is Bush’s opponent? Is Bush hurtling around the ring boastfully strutting his stuff, daring all challengers to “bring it on”?
    Putting greens are solitary, private zones, with the golfer attending to slopes, the lie of the grass, distance to the hole. After the put sinks, she/he can strut and punch the air. I don’t think that Bush as made the putt. He is so far “over par” that he should just slink away gracefully.
    Then again, he is “putting” on a green that has no hole – aiming his weapons at enemies (Al Qaeda and WMDs) that are not in Iraq.

  • blythetdm

    Doctor Biobrain:
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, someday, George Bush will be a great tele-evangelist.
    When I first saw this image, I immediately thought of Bush has operated in the presidency as a tele-evangelist.

  • mugatea

    Looks like a miniature golf hole.
    The “Brighter Future For America” door mats are too symbolic.
    Did the boy king wipe his feet on them before entering center stage?

  • Mad_nVT

    That green color looks like puke-lime, with a touch of guacamole. Why would they choose that color as a theme?
    —- Unless it is supposed to approximate the color of money, which it might, since Loudon County is the third richest county in the US.
    Maybe the little fences are supposed to look like the white fences around all of the baronial estates of the audience members.
    Hard to see the audience well, but it looks like they didn’t let too many black folks in the doors.
    In fact, it doesn’t look like they let very many women in.

  • Asta

    Mugatea, I really must learn to not be sipping on a beverage when I read your comments, I can’t continue to soak my keyboard with spewed coffee.
    Door mat, indeed. And I doubt he cares enough to wipe his feet.
    My reaction to the image was that having to do with livestock. Either an auction or, worse, the loading ramps taking cattle to the slaughterhouse. Bush is summoning us to “c’mon lil doggies, git on up this ramp, git in the boxcar. Yer goin’ to Hormel Land! Yeehaw!”

  • SEAS

    I also thought of the auction setting, but I was thinking of sales of thoroughbred horses, which have a dressed up air about them, and the fencing reminds me of a Kentucky horse paddock. It would also fit the overall very masculine image Bush is aiming for here: He’s either a boxer or a big time stud [for sale to the highest bidder?]. Of course there’s no one visible for him to box, as Thomas noted, but only because Thomas is probably one of those reality based persons. Bush’s audience knows that “terrorists” wouldn’t come out in the open and fight him like a man, so they’ll happily settle for Bush swaggering around showing how he would thrash ‘em if he had his chance. And by the way, although no one can see ‘em but Bush (top secret, you know), but he’s really taking it to them terrorists.

  • black dog barking

    Elsewhere in the blogosphere (Sadly, No!) this image conjures thoughts of Family Entertainment, perhaps the late Lawrence Welk sans champagne bubbles or Gene Autry.

  • error27

    At first glance I thought Bush was a announcer at a boxing match. I wondered why we were looking at an empty boxing rink.
    The stage design is horrible. The rails and ropes holding the audience are too prominent. If they had been darker they wouldn’t have stood out as much. The carpet is an ugly seventies green but dirtier. It must be weird to give a speech with the audience surrounding you like a ringmaster at a circus.
    The audience is whites between forty and retirement.
    The audience is perfectly spaced. Every seat is taken. Everyone is sitting up attentively, with their hands clasped together in their laps. The seats are arranged in lots of wedges and angles so the audience looks like seeds when you slice the top off a fruit.

  • Asta

    Error27 wrote: “The seats are arranged in lots of wedges and angles so the audience looks like seeds when you slice the top off a fruit.”
    Dude, they’re pod people. Bush, Cheney, none of them are human. (I’ve gotta stop watching the SciFi channel, I’m starting to see myself as that Kevin McCarthy character…)

  • he who is known as sefton

    In the beginning, I decided to join the campaign to impeach your “smirking chimp”, my “dum’ass botch”. As evidence for that, you’ll soon be invited to click on a hyperlink.
    Before doing so, however, I would like you to read through the rest of this text. In case, you’d like to know, the U.R.L for your blog, specifically, “BAGnewsNotes”, is found at the third hyperlink on the list below … ah, please remember, no clicking until AFTER reading the entire text.
    Perusing your blog, I believe I arrived at what is a reasonable inference. That is, both you and your readers would welcome news that indicates the campaign to impeach the president is increasing in both vigor and breadth. Ah, you’ll find that evidence by clicking on the second enclosed hyperlink.
    As for my plan for capturing Osama, you’ll find it by clicking on the first listed hyperlink:
    .he who is known as sefton
    oh, yes, surely, you’ve heard about the government “requesting” certain records about internet activity. oh, br’dah! Cynical and skeptical me, I’m smelling a rat in all that.

  • PTate in MN

    It’s green, it’s clean, it’s a white picket fence and a lawn. So domestic, so suburban and all American!
    Imagine the view of the people in the audience. From their pov, they see the POTUS wandering around inside white picket fence telling them that everything is just fine. In his speech, the president addresses issues that make people anxious-9/11, corporate corruption, Katrina, the cost of health care, the deficit–and keeps reassuring his audience that these “…could have sent us into a downward spiral had we not put good policy in place.”
    But things aren’t fine. Business people know this. But subliminally, the fence puts them on the outside. They must hate that, being strivers. These are entrepreneurs, people with ambition.
    And what’s with the bumpers–the white sheeted barriers on all four sides? Are those to help the lighting for the photography? They remind me of the barriers put up during road construction to keep cars from smashing into the work zone. This suburban dream is a work in progress???
    I think the psychological effect of this would be subtle–accept what the president is saying or be shut out…

  • gleex

    Good call, I imagine most of the images in the local news would be over the shoulder shots of him over the fence wandering around on the grass like a neighbor – though the photogs seem to be lines up to go directly at him with the people behind him.
    Nice thought and nice for the audience but misses out on the neighbor angles.
    I still think the message is to the golfer that are checking their stocks via blackberry from the links. And the econ is doing freaking gangbusters for them (assuming some good advice, the ability to easily buy and sell, and the basis of those two… plenty of money to diversity into their house, cars, vacations, golf, stock, funds, gold).
    Great picture to post up by the way. This one is a ton of fun.
    I don’t think it is for the mini golf crowd or that it looks that way, its to prim. Unless you are considering Bush as the obstacle in the middle Ex. the clown where you need to putt between his legs. I also think it was keen to notice the nazi symbol image struck by the fence – they really should correct that, even I can’t imagine it was concious.

  • readytoblowagasket

    Look out — “A Brighter Future for America” is a recurring theme. Here is another photo (I hope) using the same slogan with different graphics, this one features Old Glory rippling in the breeze and sleazy highlights zinging (brightly) off all the words. From Jan. 6, 2006, when Bush was preaching about extending the “tax cuts.”
    (credit: AFP/File/Mandel Ngan, which Yahoo! misspelled Nagan)
    My question is, if America is to have a brighter future, don’t we need a brighter president?

  • TQ

    What an delicious oxymoron…Bush surrounded on _three_ sides by “Brighter Future for America” icons.
    Does the fact that there aren/t four icons give Bush another way out of his white-picket paddock if America/s future does not turn out to be brighter?
    Also noted in the image’s rigid structure is the dichotomy of whether the audience is “fenced off” from the ‘good times’ or is the Preznit “fenced in” by his out-of-touch rhetoric? All those tightly clasped hands answers that question.

  • PTate in MN

    Does the slogan “Brighter Future for America” suggest that the last five years haven’t been so great??? Is Bush campaigning against those incompetents in the WH who have made such a mess of our great nation?

  • Huib Riethof, Brussels

    Those white barriers…
    Remember Saddam Hussein’s first day in court?

  • blabby

    My first impression was that it was a take from pro wrestling, where the contestants hadn’t shown up yet. Upon closer inspection my impression was that something was wrong.

  • mugatea

    My apologies Asta.
    I hope, for your keyboad’s sake, you don’t take cream and sugar.

  • mugatea

    Keyboard, not keyboad. I need some coffee.
    There’s another shot of this event at Kos (Al Rogers’ Sunday lineup), from behind the bars.
    Worth checking.

  • Stephen McArthur

    Bush is isolated. They know and we know it. There are only a few open gates into his inner sanctum and only a few people allowed in. This event was an unconscious acknowledgement of that fact. Whoever staged it, made a mistake. It won’t happen again. Or, perhaps, someone did not make a mistake?

  • PTate in MN

    mugatea, thanks for the kos tip.
    So the weird cloth barriers seem to be just that–a visual barrier so a person sitting on one side can’t see the people sitting across from him or her. All the viewer can see is the caged president.
    Which does put one in mind of Saddam Hussein’s trial, as Huib Riethof, Brussels points out.
    Somewhere I read that when the weak-minded confront evil they can absorb the characteristics of the evil one. Are we seeing Bush morph into Saddam?

  • elmey

    My first reaction was also that this is an attempted suburban look, the picket fence,the neat square of lawn (OK so it’s chartreuse, but it reads as lawn). I looked at the transcript, and sure enough this is the occasion when Bush said Laura would never run for office, “she’s a great lady……she’s not interested in running for office” Evoking the domestic ideal.
    However, also note this is at a moving and storage company. They obviously cleared out a warehouse, laid down wall to wall carpet, put in the aisle railings, placed chairs in exact rows, constructed the picket fence area. Not a trace of natural light, fresh air or
    spontaneous movement. It’s the bubble in action (reading the audience questions in the transcript underscores this) — stultifying; neither side can break through the barriers.

  • Cactus

    Y’all are missing the point of those pretty fences. It’s so the prez won’t fall off the stage. He can’t wear the helmet if he’s not on the bike.
    Also, he’s bathed in the white light as those in rapt attention fall off into the darkness.
    And I love all those photographers in dark clothes higgling down behind the fence. Poor babies.

  • tuffy

    I happened to catch a minute of this while flipping through channels on TV. I was quite struck by how much this set–possibly more than any I’ve seen this administration use–looks exactly like a backdrop for some cheesy self-help seminar. Really, it looked like Bush should have been lecturing on how to find love or how to make a fortune in real-estate with no money down. I wonder, did audience members get appropriately coordinated binders and ballpoint pens?
    Colors, graphics, typography–the whole thing was just looked so cheaply corporate. The only thing missing was a Powerpoint presentation.
    I was particularly disturbed becuase it shows how far away this administration has gotten in the last five years from even attempting to create a Presidential look. It’s like they’ve totally reverted to the manner to which they’re most accustomed–the corporate shareholder’s meeting.
    When you reflect upon public appearances made by past Presidents, then observe that typically when we do see this president it’s in front of backdrops more befitting Bill Gates, it’s unsettling.
    Of course, with this one should also reflect upon the the degree to which past presidents have been articulate, and the degree to which Bush is not. I used to complain that Bush’s speechwriters shouldn’t even bother having him say words like “punitive” or “efficacy” because it’s just insulting to suggest such words would be withing the man’s grasp. Now I just note that, for whatever reasons, they’ve almost entirely given up providing speeches beyond the State of the Union Address. So we listen to him bumble about with an inability to articulate thoughts and ideas that would put Mike Tyson to shame.

  • weisseharre

    ‘Mad-in-Sum Garden Square’

  • nolocontendere

    Good points cactus.
    Surreal, eerie and creepy. And where do they get the droids who willingly sit through that?

  • ummabdulla

    I was also wondering why only 3 of the 4 sides have the logo. Is that thing in the middle like a lectern, so if he were standing behind it, they wouldn’t want him standing on the U.S.-shaped logo? (Like anyone coming out of one of Baghdad’s major hotels used to have to step on Bush’s father’s face.)

  • Jo

    I felt shame. Like a prize bull we will look him over. And the cost per pound is?

  • Cactus

    This could be way off base, so I’d like some comments……especially from any black readers out there. Given that this is a southern white house, I just wonder if my suspicion that this might recall the setup for a slave auction resonates with anyone. Maybe it’s something about those fences and the block in the middle. The more I look at it the more creepy it seems.
    If anyone else sees this, is it intentional, given the people involved (and NOLA) or is it subliminal?

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