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February 1, 2006

State Of The Union In Pictures

Sotu-Pre-Dan-Clay

Sotu-Danclay-300

Sotu-Post-Dan-Clay

Is Bush in reruns?

Because he reprised the same device from last year’s performance (State of the Union Show – link), I was intent on studying Bush a little closer this time.  First, the President introduces the family of a soldier killed in his elective war, Staff Sgt. Daniel J. Clay.  (Of course, the entire scene is accompanied by prolonged and thunderous applause.)  Then, the camera focuses on Mrs. Bush as she reaching out to the mother of the deceased soldier.  (Without depending on Laura for warmth, this was a lot more dramatic last time around.)  Then, there is a close-up of the incongruously grateful family.  (For variety, this scene included the soldier’s widow, Lisa.)  And that’s when we get the isolated shot of Bush staring proudly and admiringly toward the balcony.  (I know I caught him blinking, but you get the picture.)  Finally, we get another isolation on the family.  More time elapses.  More applause.

The thing I missed last year, however, but I managed to pick up this time, was Bush’s expression right before he resumes his speech.  Can you believe that smug look  — like the post-adolescent-in-chief takes the moment to feel proud of himself?  (It’s in a look like this that you can imagine he really did go to war to show up Poppa and Saddam.)  (In fact, did you catch his odd little quip about  splitting his father’s affection?  He said: “This year, the first of about 78 million baby boomers turns 60, including two of my dad’s favorite people: me and President Clinton.)


I know it’s purely my projection, but the barrel roll the camera gives to the television picture made me think for a second the flag behind Bush was draped over something.  (The whole horribly exploitive act led me to conjure a pine box.)

Sotu-Laura-300-1

So, more scenes.

It appears Rove will hardly let Laura appear in public anymore unless she’s in the company of an African-Americ youth.  In this case, her seat mate, Ja’Detrus Hamilton of Leakesville, Mississippi, was living in a mobile home even before the hurricane.  (To his credit, the high school student has been engaged in recovery work ever since.)

Sotu-Hillary-Laugh-1

Hillary, Hillary.  Every time I lend her space, the readership wants to dismember her.

Still, I’ll tell you why I like this picture (besides the fact Blanche Lincoln looks like she’s asleep.)  Hillary is so intensely self-conscious, it’s rare to catch her in a spontaneous moment.  I don’t imagine Clinton bothered to read Bush’s speech in advance.  So, when he introduces the ridiculous “Terrorist Surveillance Program” (Rove’s “give it a brand name” gimmick for finessing Bush’s illegal spying effort), just at the point where he insists it’s “based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute,” Hillary cracks up.  (For this, the wingnuts will fry her for disrespect.  To me, however, it was refreshingly uncalculated.)

Sotu-Blanco

I grabbed a couple shots of Louisiana’s Governor Blanco.  Unfortunately (given Bush’s stategy to pin any and all Katrina failure on local Dems), this was the “happiest” version I could come up with.

Sotu-Frist-1

You know how the networks will isolate on relevant people based on specific content in the speech?  This was the slam dunk choice.  At the point Bush was going on about health care, we got a nice isolation shot of Majority Leader Frist, (R-Big Pharma).  By the way, I’m not sure if this occurred before or after Bush drew wild applause from the Dems after beginning: “Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security….”

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Interesting sequence here with Bush moving through the audience following the speech.  I kept wondering if he was going to acknowledge Santorum or not.  (What’s that expression about Repubs eating their young?)  If he wasn’t a complete cancer on the institution, I might have felt sorry for Rick for trying to get W’s attention.  Anyway, this guy is toast.

Sotu--Obama

There weren’t too many people in the crowd that GWB stretched this far to acknowledge.  Don’t tell me Bush doesn’t recognize a player when he sees one.  He may be a work in progress, but watch out for Obama.

(images: CNN.  State of the Union Address.  January 31, 2006.  Washington, D.C. Laura Bush image: Jason Reed/Reuters.  January 31, 2006.  Washington, D.C. Via YahooNews.)

  • marysz

    Bush snubbing the ever-groveling Santorum–it’s a welcome sight, but it signals how the Republican party is trying to put on a moderate face in time for the midterm elections. The pairing of Laura Bush with either African-Americans (and actual Africans) is interesting also. Laura’s got the job of creating the facade of pseudo-tolerance that the party needs to attract suburban female voters. But this role also marginalizes her; it’s another example of Rovian misogyny. Roves got rid of the pesky Karen Hughes by dumping her in a job where she “explains” America to Muslims. Laura Bush is similarly allied with blacks. Both women are put out to pasture. Only Condi Rice seems to have been able to sidestep and evade Rove.

  • Mad_nVT

    Great commentary on the Show. I thought that Bush was going to let a tear drop when he introduced the Clay family, I was surely hoping so.
    It seemed that when Bush was speaking about the “Terrorist Surveillance Program” the pitch of his voice was higher, the cadence was considerably faster, and his eyes were darting around a bit more. He was nervous, because he knows that he is vulnerable. Even so, I thought that he covered up very well, compared to his natural inability to hide his lying.
    The rest of his lies aren’t exactly lies, because he is a True Believer.
    The opening of the Show is what struck me most, as the Cabinet members, etc filed in. It was like a Triumphal Procession, or Victory Parade, the thrill of power was irrepresible, they were giddy. As of that day, with Alito on the Supreme Court, the right-wing radicals now own all three branches of government.

  • marganonymous

    It is as if some committee got together around a big top hat which was filled with words that are known to be pronounceable by The Dub and each member took a turn picking out a handfull of those words and each handfull was called a sentence. THEN, after each turn, the handfulls of words were returned to the hat so that another committee member could “compose” the next sentence. Each sentence is a slightly different combination of a set of the approved words. They sound pretty good, because you recognize them as WORDS, but they mean nothing combined as they are. If you try really hard, you can project some intended meaning on each “sentence”. On the surface, the projected meaning you might assign to each sentence sounds pretty good… but there are problems. First, the words, as combined by the committee don’t really mean anything. Second, experience shows that the good-sounding meaning you might project onto the “sentences” always ends up being the exact opposite of what it sounds like. And third, even if the words meant what you might project onto them, they are only words and have not been uttered by a person who intends to act on them.

  • http://www.futurebird.com Susan Murray

    Hillary looks good when she has a real smile not a fake one. I mean, I never thought she could look that pretty.
    Bush just reaches for Obama to prove he cares about black people… you see! he cares so much.

  • itwasnt me

    Thee photos made me nauseous.

  • ummabdulla

    I don’t watch much TV, so it’s always weird to actually hear Bush speaking. I did watch some of this speech when it was rerun on CNN, but I couldn’t sit through all of it.
    marganonymous: “It is as if some committee got together around a big top hat which was filled with words that are known to be pronounceable by The Dub…”
    I guess they had to make an exception for “nuclear”, though.
    Marysz, do you think the emphasis on Laura Bush with African-Americans (and Africans) is meant to help Condi’s potential Presidential campaign?

  • readytoblowagasket

    I love being told by the alcoholic-in-chief that America is *addicted to* anything.

  • jt from BC

    I watched the triumphal parade, Alito staring like a kid in a candy shop, on mute my new game is to lip read the Prez and I am forever indebted to marganonymous for articulate and hilarious comments.
    I enjoyed watching the Repubs doing aerobics wondered if they equalled 37 the number of rewrites to this:
    ?&!^+@!*~~~!!! jabbering disunion speech.
    I predict long/topic/life for this subject with lot of happy campers/comments along the way.

  • Meredith

    marganonymous, thank you for putting into words exactly what I was thinking last night.

  • maureenh

    I noticed that most of the women were wearing either pastels (especially pink- Laura and Condi), or red/pink/purple, the only two exceptions that I could see being Governor Blanco, and Hilary, which made them both stand out more. Between Governor Blanco’s expression and dark clothes, she was a sore thumb, which in my mind brought the viewers attention back to the darker aspects of his presidency (Hurricane Katrina).
    And Hilary was practically flirting with America! I thought she was fantastic.

  • PTate in MN

    In that third shot, what is Bush looking smug about?
    I have seen this expression before– when he believes he has just pulled a fast one, heh-heh. He regards us as suckers, and it gives him a rush to con us.

  • DonM

    The whole thing was a great example of apperances being more important than substance. Nothing happened last night save Cindy S. being removed from the chamber. Even the pictures are misleading. The state of our union is unknown to the TV viewer.

  • http://biobrain.blogspot.com Doctor Biobrain

    I guess I still have much to learn about human nature as I just can’t imagine how it’s a good thing for Bush that he’s responsible for killing that soldier. It’d make sense had he saved Dan Clay, but this makes no sense at all. This should have been a moment of shame for him, but because it’s not, it is shameful to us all.

  • jt from BC

    Cindy it seems had the wrong sticker on her bumpers.
    (A)protective device(s) for absorbing shocks or impeding contact.
    http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=bumpers)

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/vicfitz82 Victor F

    I, too, thought I saw Bush turn a slight shade redder and heard his voice become more forceful when he defended his illegal spying activities.
    I thought it was very ironic that Bush proclaimed we are addicted to oil, especially since he and others in his mis-administration have very close ties to the oil industry. I don’t see Republicans in general as especially eager to change much of anything, seeing as they have all the power at this point. But especially when it comes to the issue of energy, it seems hypocritical of Bush to suggest we wean ourselves away from oil when change makes people like him deathly queasy. I actually laughed out loud when he said that.
    Images I saw in my head but didn’t see on TV:
    When he said, “We show compassion abroad because Americans believe in the God-given dignity and worth of a villager with HIV/AIDS, or an infant with malaria, or a refugee fleeing genocide, or a young girl sold into slavery. We also show compassion abroad because regions overwhelmed by poverty, corruption, and despair are sources of terrorism, and organized crime, and human trafficking, and the drug trade.”
    I tought about images of devastation in the Gulf Coast of the stranded poor. I thought about the pictures of corruption in our own government. I thought about news images of civilian casualties in the Iraq war. Among other images, of course, but I think I owe this to you, BAG. When Bush talks about compassion I have a hard time listening.

  • marganonymous

    ummabdulla: I mentally exclude nucular because I think he says it that way on purpose (for two reasons– to make us wince, and to show that he is down with the little guy who thinks that’s the way nuclear is supposed to be pronounced).
    I, too thought Hillary was radiant in that moment. As we listened to the speech, I thought I could hear her briefly burst into laughter.
    Also noted the girly pinks and pastel blues worn by female friends of Dub.
    Bill Frist seemed to need to follow the cues of those around him, I thought.

  • gleex

    And this one from (3/4ths) overhead looking down on Bush looking back on Cheney under the headline:
    “Bush, Resetting Agenda, Says U.S. Must Cut Reliance on Oil”

  • gleex

    The most annoying thing was his winking. He winked at 2-3 people while calling out the fallen soldiers family. Who the hell are you going to wink at in a time like that? We can all see him do it, if he wants to say hi he should wave like a normal person.
    I wonder if he was going to give a playful wink to Cindy Sheehan and at what point? I would hope not when talking about the death of a loved one.
    You could tell people got pretty bored at the end for the domestic stuff since he does not have the cash to do anything.
    I would not call it blinking, he is winking. He looks out, winks one eye, and usually butts his head out just a bit, dunno maybe that call that squaring his jaw or something.

  • gleex

    Sorry for the multiple posts.
    The thing that annoyed me most about the speech was how he set the tone. Right off the bat he was listing the guests and when he got to the Supreme Court you could tell he paused a bit and looked smug. I think he had a side bet that people would start cheering right then. I knew what the content would be, but I was hopeing he would be respectful and act like an adult.
    What annoyed me was his smuggary and the fact that he had not even gotten to the part about the American people watching before he started his child like antics. And was that Bork with his scaggy hair shaved off his head, but with the beard still going (4th person from Laura Bush’s right hand)?

  • readytoblowagasket

    I just noticed that if you scroll past the pics of Sen. Clinton and Gov. Blanco without reading, they look like two sides of the comedy-tragedy mask.
    http://www.giantpartystore.com/Images/PID_18590.jpg

  • jt from BC

    The photo of Laura is a classic, it reminds me of the Catholic icon, Mary seen in porcelain or plastic attached to the dashes of Taxi Cabs in Quebec and Mexico.
    The hand is giving an acknowledgement as well as a benediction.
    It was her missionary walk about outfit in Africa and eye catching when surrounded by Black People or multicoloured clothes. ( A White Light Halo Affect)

  • black dog barking

    Bush Sr was not good with words and he’s a rhyming poet compared to his eldest child. Early in the current presidency I thought the weird secrecy, the Mayberry Machiavelians, the cults of Condi & Colin & Cheney were compensating tactics for George the Younger’s utter inability to reliably verbalize ideas. Now it seems like his “communications” people have taken to heart something Rush Limbaugh has known for a long time — the half-life of the meaning of spoken words is minutes.
    The disconnect of reasonable (Bush pronounceable!) words from reasonable meaning that marganonymous describes is something I feel too. It’s frustrating trying to tease out the gist of the speech and likely a waste of time. More useful open question: what does this deliberate act of camouflage strive to hide?

  • SEAS

    morganonymous: please consider what you may be overlooking regarding Bush’s use of language. To us in the reality based community, this is pretty pap at best, but I think dismissing the power of these words, methods and message might explain why it is so hard for us to understand what anyone sees in Bush. Because we know that this is entirely a form over substance speech (who really thinks he’ll do any of this), we tend to focus on the hypocrisy of what he’s saying and assume that the apparently mindless organization is because there is no message in these words. What strikes me, though, if you separate what we know to be true from the poetry of the words themselves, is that what remains is really emotionally laden, heroic and thoughtful. This speech style owes much to religious writing; there is a certain sort of religious listener will associate this method of conveying a point rhetorically with the faith they place in their religious convictions. And that’s what those of us who are actually listening for content overlook, but at our peril.

  • Asta

    SEAS, perhaps Bush will become a televangelist when he retires. But I wonder if maybe that could be a more dangerous position of persuasive power.
    Unless he has a “Jimmy Swaggart” moment.

  • readytoblowagasket

    SEAS said: “This speech style owes much to religious writing; there is a certain sort of religious listener will associate this method of conveying a point rhetorically with the faith they place in their religious convictions.”
    I think you’re right (and what’s more, that would explain why I would rather gouge my eyes out than listen to him). I think his is one of the narrowest expressions of “religious” rhetoric I have ever heard. Because it’s so narrow, I start paying attention to the content, which, of course, provides *me* even less comfort.

  • kay

    Asta:
    Isn’t Bush already a televangelistic minister? When a minister speaks in his rapture from the pulpit, believers consider him as the agent of God. At that moment, slight idiosyncrasies or personal defects don’t matter at all. The believers only have to think that God is using him in His own way. I think Bush is tolerated and defended because “folks” think he is the tool of God and shouldn’t be interrupted or denegrated. I am scared of the state of affairs in this country. Religion uses fear in its recruiting. And the skeptic and the brave get ostracized in the religious society.

  • putnam

    That is the prettiest picture of Hillary I have ever seen, with a relaxed smile.
    By contrast, over at Yahoo, a photo of Hillary with bizarre facial contortions is tonight’s Most Emailed Photo. How does a photo become available for tallying to be identified as Most Emailed?
    What can be more disgusted and immoral than Bush’s smug pleasure in introducing the family of a dead soldier?

  • jt from BC

    Are the majority of the worlds population wrong in considering this man, deluded, demented and the most dangerous person on the planet?. There may be a rare few who are more so, but they do not have the where with all, to carry out their messianic visions. Here is where fear is a realistic reaction to this mans behaviour and his policies. What to do about it…?
    Thanks to SEAS for really nailing this SOTUS.

  • Asta

    “Religion uses fear in its recruiting. And the skeptic and the brave get ostracized in the religious society.”
    Well said, Kay.
    And as I mentioned earlier in a whole other thread, isn’t Bush looking more and more like Pat Robertson every day?

  • jt from BC

    An Alternative SOTUS
    http://www.medialens.org/board/
    scroll down to “even funnier is this one” Michael Hardiman.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/richsodergren/ rchsod

    the two things that struck was him being really pissed when the democrats applauded his line about failing to pass social security and when lauria got alot of applause. is he`s so self centered that he can`t enjoy his wife`s one minute of recongition? seems that way to me.
    i also thought the dog was a nice touch.

  • ZakAttack

    Best line of 2005 (so far):
    John Stewart freezing Hillary’s reaction to Bush’s mention of Bill and commenting, “That look…That look is where boners go to die.”
    At least Bush Sr. is still talking to Clinton; word is that Boy George has frozen Dad out of his inner circle. Which seems to consist largely of scary women like Mom, Laura, Condi, and Karen Hughes.

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