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May 13, 2006

Humble Pie


(click image for larger view of shrinking Administration)

Anxious to get a handle on the war in Iran, Iraq and Southern Turkey, President Powell and Vice President Albright sit down with members of the previous Administration to try and figure out what the hell they were doing.  Unfortunately, one was too rueful to participate; one didn’t have anything to do with it; and the other kept losing consciousness.

…But really, what were they serving with the coffee on Friday?  Humble pie?  No wonder Cheney fell asleep.

It’s hard not to frame either article or picture around the theme of just deserts.  After Bush stiffed the former Secretaries of State and Defense back in January, who’s to fault Powell or Albright for looking a little smug for the return engagement?

This space apportionment is particularly telling.  Besides being the central focus, Powell and Albright are given 5 1/4 inches of width, while Cheney, Bush and Rice are packed into three.  In contrast to before, Bush sat on his hands and listened this time.  What else could he do?  After five plus years of unassailable arrogance, however, these attempts to show himself the bigger man only seem to be confusing his image, and moving him closer to the margins.

(hat tip: Gary)

(Stephen Crowley/The New York Times. Washington.  May 12, 2006.

  • ummabdulla

    My first reaction was that this photo must have been taken at the beginning of the meeting, since Cheney was awake, but I see you addressed that in your post, lol.
    Bush and his people are at one end, with nothing in front of them; the former Secretaries are sitting with all this clutter in front of them. (Have they been sitting there waiting for a while? Why hasn’t someone cleared away all those coffee cups?)
    Rumsfeld is so far away that you can’t even see him in this picture. Far away from the former secretaries (when is he going to join that club?), and far away from Condi, too.
    The only one who’s close to coming in contact with the guests is Condi, and she doesn’t look happy. In all the pictures I saw, she’s either looking ahead or to the right; in this one, she does allow her glance, at least, to stray left – not towards Powell, but maybe towards the photographers.
    Otherwise, the Bush people are leaning back and not connecting, while Powell and Albright are leaning in and engaged. The New York Times article is entitled “This Time Around, Bush Lets Former Secretaries Speak”; it may be a step forward that they were allowed to say what they thought this time, but just looking at the photos, it doesn’t look like Bush and team were actually interested in hearing it.

  • thirdeyepushpin

    Is that a bull @#$%ting near Powell’s head?
    Does this mean the admin sees the bs they sent him to the UN with, or do they not want to listen to it now…

  • itwasnt me

    The body language here is very interesting. Bush, wishing to push himself away from the table. The only people with their “hands on” are Powell and Albright. Also, how comfortable is it to be a guest at someone’s table and eat/drink when the hosts are not doing so?
    This meeting seemes somehow forced on the administration. By whom? Did somebody get a whippin’ and get told to behave before this meeting? Sour medicine indeed for the sulking kids at the left in this picture.

  • mugatea

    “Hey Colin, please take the dishes to the kitchen”
    Colin’s eye contact with the camera makes me want to scream, “tell us the truth, Colin.”
    He’s the only one who might, maybe later.
    Condi hasn’t looked very optimistic in press photos recently. More slouching, like this shot. She has lost some of the outward confidence she had years ago – not the “It” girl of yesteryear.
    Just being seen in a photo with Albright gives these criminals a boost of credibility.
    Bag, your space analysis is on.

  • benloo

    No, that is not a bull behind Powells head, it is an american bison, eating grass.

  • readytoblowagasket

    The facial expressions here are amazing. Condi looks especially sullen, like she’s been grounded and had her dominatrix video privileges taken away. Is this meeting a slap in her face? Bush looks like he *REALLY* needs a drink. Powell and Albright look completely confident, not just intellectually but morally. Cheney is not there, he’s plotting his next diabolical move.

  • Victor F

    Bush looks guarded. Hands down on the table, claiming his territory. Maybe he was fidgety and his hands moved around a lot because he wasn’t sure what to do with them, because he couldn’t take charge of this situation. Powell and Albright look closed and confident, perhaps because they are divorced from the inner circle where they would have been pried open and pruned and planted in a chair and told what to say.
    It’s always awkward, sitting at the same table as your ex.

  • timemagician

    I first saw a photo of Rumsfield/Cheny/Bush and Condi in this series. This is minor and probably purely coincidental but I was struck by the Red, White and Blue ties adorning the blackness of the black suits.

  • momly

    In the larger picture, Condi looks particularly displeased. She has sort of a scowl or a wrinkled nose; she looks like she has smelled something rotten or that someone has yelled at her.
    Folks are right; Bush/Cheney are not engaged with this.
    Powell looks a wee bit defiant or a whole lot chagrined — can’t quite decipher it. Maybe both?
    Albright looks sorta smug; did anyone see her on The Daily Show a while back? She was having fun!

  • Marysz

    Condi has her ubiquitous leather portfolio in front of her. Albright has one too, but her hands are closed over it and she’s not even bothering to hold her pen. I guess there was nothing worth taking notes about at the meeting. The men sit with empty spaces in front of them and they’re surrounded by genteel tea sets. Is this a tea party? Bush and Cheney wear their obligatory flag lapel pins. Powell doesn’t–he’s beyond that fake patriotic claptrap. Both Rice and Albright wear black suits with costume jewelry. I guess that’s the feminine equivalent of the men’s black business suits. Rice is getting thinner and thinner . . . this job has diminished her. And the expression on her face is just plain nasty. Bush has the hardest time keeping up the facade of civility. He looks like a kid on the verge of a temper tantrum.

  • PTate in MN

    Bush, Cheney, Rice seem to have imploded. They take up less and less space. They are almost like visual after-thoughts. The table space in front of them is empty. They are bringing nothing to the table.
    Powell and Albright look completely comfortable. They are spread out, ready to act.

  • Rafael

    Alrbight:”Too little, too late.”
    Powell:”Yeah, I knew it would come to this.”
    Rice:”I’m sorry, can I be excused. Please!”
    Bush:”Does it still count as a push-up if I’m sitting?”
    Cheney:”Where am I? Not a bunker…where’s my medication, who are you people? I don’t like it here.”

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