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March 6, 2006

Allen Watch: Warming Up For ‘08


When it comes to political images, the presidential campaign is to The BAG what the Super Bowl is to the NFL — or better, to Senator George Allen.

Beginning with this week’s GOP Southern and Midwestern Leadership Conference, the preseason for ‘08 is now underway.  Over the next couple weeks, I’ll be highlighting some signature visuals of the early contenders.  As the campaign picks up, I’ll be tracking the major players pictorially, examining the pictures both politically as well as psychologically.

If anyone in the early field is prime for some visual (if not  psycho-biographical) investigation, it’s Senator Allen.

There’s a good post at the Decemberist with a quick sketch of the Senator and his obsession with football.  Considering the preoccupation, the Decemberist/Mark Schmitt thinks it odd Allen never had a football career.  He played a role on his college team, but it was at UVA — not exactly a football powerhouse.

The Decemberist also links to a funny (if not a slightly unsettling) piece by Dana Milbank at WAPO regarding Allen’s speech.  Apparently, he’s a walking football cliche.  Might we soon expect a new campaign bestseller called “The Allen Dyslexicon?”  (For fun, I went to his Senate website this evening to see what was what.  There, I found the Senator featured with former players for the Washington Redskins promoting the Boys and Girls Clubs Washington Redskins Alumni Charity Golf tournament.)

“Hi, I’m Senator George Allen.  I’m named for my father, famous Redskins coach George Allen.  The photo above appeared in Newsweek in late December touting me as a presidential contender.  Below is the cover of my father’s book.  Notice any resemblance?”


(image 1: Jessica Wynne for Newsweek.  Washington.  Dec. 26, 2005 – Jan 2, 2006 issue. image 2:

  • Carl Manaster

    In BAG News spirit, I have to say that the first image that reached me when I scrolled to the second picture was an angry guy flicking off someone offscreen. The number on the player’s jersey looks like an extension of the white-in-white coach’s white hand and his chin protector looks like an extended middle finger.

  • lemondloulou54

    Oy. Another guy with serious can’t-live-up-to daddy issues. That’s all we need.

  • Bluegrass Poet

    Is it true that he carries a spit can with him everywhere because of his snuff habit?

  • ummabdulla

    I’m from Virginia, but I’ve been away for so long that I don’t know anything about George Allen. I didn’t even realize that he was the son of THE George Allen, who was certainly a household name for anyone who grew up in the Washington area during his time with the Redskins.
    As for his (American) football jargon… The rest of the world has enough trouble trying to figure out what George W. is talking about – imagine six billion people listening uncomprehendingly (is that a word?) to this guy!

  • hauksdottir

    Like Carl above, the first thing I *thought* I saw was a raised middle finger. It possibly has to be with the man’s confrontational expression.
    I didn’t see any resemblance between the men, their clothing, or the cover layouts… so if Allen wants to use that phrase, or clone his father, he needs to find another image.
    This, of course, leads to why would somebody want to wrap himself in his father’s mantle? The name of George Allen wasn’t a household word here in California, certainly not on the level of Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig or, hmm… Wrong Way Corrigan. :wide evil grin: Most of the coaches who have fame outside their home states do so by virtue of video games (Mike Ditka, for example).
    A successful coach does have the ability to motivate players of different abilities to work together as a team, which is an excellent leadership trait, however, he usually doesn’t have to budget or compromise or negotiate (which is the job of the team’s owners). We’ve seen what happens when the fearless leader is a stubborn closed-minded trash-talking idiot. We don’t need another one. Or the son of one. Or the nephews, either!
    If Senator Allen was worthy of consideration for the highest of our elected offices, surely he has sponsored a bill, brought jobs to his state, preserved a bit of history, or done something (anything?) in his own name, and not his daddy’s? Even something controversial would be ok if it showed a passionate commitment to something besides sports!

  • martin

    Wise up Bag-people: its straight run race between Hilary and the ‘it’ girl Condee. As Richard Perle might (mite) mouthpeice; there is no alternative. Bill Frist weights in the wings and Scooter dare not call collaberation: how grave might Ir*n really be…buzz

  • Big Russ

    Geo. Allen was one nasty head coach. National Lampoon used to have a field day with him during the Nixon era. He fit in with their ruthless mentality.
    This Geo. Allen is a besuited wuss–probably equally cruel–but a wuss. He’ll break in half if an octegenarian ex-NFLer would tackle him. mY guess uis that he needs the macho football image–he’s probably unsure of his sexuality/machismo.
    Dave Zirin should have fun with this one…

  • Big Russ

    “Wise up Bag-people: its straight run race between Hilary and the ‘it’ girl Condee. As Richard Perle might (mite) mouthpeice; there is no alternative. Bill Frist weights in the wings and Scooter dare not call collaberation: how grave might Ir*n really be…buzz
    Posted by: martin”
    Martin: Can you give me the winning Lotto numbers for Wednesday night? You’re just so…phyco-ic.

  • kathy a

    hi, mike! it’s been a few years, and i still don’t know sports. nonetheless, couldn’t junior’s shot in the first frame be captioned, “debutante’s escort fakes a pitch with a football?” the jacket! the pants! the prancing stance! the odd high toss! even i’d be embarassed, if my son did this and it got published — with or without the shameless “don’t i look like dad” blurb.

  • readytoblowagasket

    martin, Condi in unelectable. Black single woman = Never in our lifetime.

  • weisseharre


  • Xian Warrior Onward

    It’s uber-corporate. Every corporate crook gets on the field and tosses a baseball (same with Presidential candidates). Allen’s son–who appears very pooftah unathletic with the football–has the ‘football advantage.’ Football is a faceless game played by machines. Allen is falsely exposed–a false promise that he’s on the level. (Even poseur Geo. Plymton suited up.) Any one know more about this guy? Is he married? What’s his favorite truck-stop gloryhole? He’s really limp.

  • tracy

    On the bio part of his website, there’s a nice Allen-family portrait taken in what appears to be the foyer of his home. They’re all rather formally dressed, as though they’re going to church or to a wedding (the son is a little less formal, but not bad for a kid his age) but believe it or not, the senator is holding a football.
    Lots of politicians use shticks, and Bush is more than annoying for using people as props, but what we have here I think is a crutch. It’s as though Allen can’t do or say anything without some reference to football. Like a two-year-old who won’t do anything or go anywhere without that favorite little blanket, George Allen needs his football reference. I wonder if he’s hanging on to his father or if his father is a dead weight hanging onto him.
    Speaking of sports analogies, here’s a quote from “Bush at War” by Bob Woodward:
    “Rice explained that . . . .[i]t was a classic case of unity of command. It wasn’t simply a handoff – passing the ball from the CIA to the military – because the CIA was going to stay and increase its presence. She and the president often spoke in sports analogies.”

  • Cactus

    Caption 1: Silly things men do when they don’t grow up.
    Caption 2: Who threw the football for him?
    Caption 3: Who threw the football at him?
    As a talisman, the football says a lot: He feels he is nothing without reference to his father. He feels he is nothing in his father’s shadow. His connection to his father is through a football. Perhaps the football is more important to his father than he was.
    IMHO, people who need sports analogies to make themselves understood (important?) probably had little to do with sports. Just as people who dress in military camouflage have little to do with being in the military.
    So much for photo-psych.

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