July 1, 2006
If anyone thought to ask, the Bush’s were “just” showing Prime Minister Koizumi a little bit of American history — since they had finished their fun at Graceland and were in the neighborhood anyway.
Koizumi’s presence, and the sugary Elvis tour, provided the perfect cover to place George and Laura on that fateful balcony where Martin Luther King was gunned down. Add in Benjamin Hooks’ gesture, and the scene suddenly evokes one of the most famous moments in civil rights history.
Besides the Bush’s constant quest to ingratiate themselves with the black vote (and MLK), this photo op is part of the recent campaign to to build Bush up again — in this case, to equate a “sensitive” Bush with the emotional soul of the country, and to pull for an equivalency in stature between the underwhelming Bush, and one of the most iconic events of our time.
Just don’t tell me this shot at the Lorraine Motel wasn’t planned with all the pre-4th of July giddiness of a once again cocky White House.
(revised 7/1/06. 8:45 am PST)
(image 1: Charles Dharapak/AP. Memphis. June 30, 2006. Via YahooNews. image 2: SFGate via TIME via AP. Memphis. 1968.)