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October 6, 2006

It’s Down To Cannibalism

Hastert-Home

These days, it’s hard not to feel like you’re peering into the Republican big top, witnessing a three-ring political meltdown.

(On your left, ladies and gentlemen: the unravelling al Qaeda fiasco!  On your right: the re-re-re-re-re-introduction of the Iraq conflagration!  And, in the center ring, we bring you: the “family values party” sex scandal cover up!)

Playing it straight, today’s front-page NYT write-up depicts Speaker Hastert as regrouping after half-a-week in a bumbling free fall.  But, a drowning man doesn’t go down before bobbing up for air a few times.

For gallows humor, I found the above image particularly crisp.  The caption informs us that this is Hastert sitting inside his home in Plano, Illinois.  Shifting metaphors from big top to big house, it doesn’t take much imagination to see this as a fanciful allusion to penitentiary windows.  And, to the extent Hastert might have covered up sex crimes (if just in the mind of the fundy crowd), the man certainly qualifies as a political, as well as a media prisoner.

But I’m just being snarky, right?

Capt.7Eab6A29D4B4416Ea1F84184F6Ffda4C.Congressman E Mails Dclj101

Maybe not.

As political images of the week, I nominate these, from last Friday.  The one above presents Bill Frist, House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (right) and Rep. James Sensenbrenner (center), surrounding Hastert as he stonewalls the press on the Foley affair.  The shot below is the same scene, stage left, showcasing House Majority Leader John Boehner.

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The view of the foursome is incredibly fraught, considering the leadership is standing there virtually naked.

I like both shots as much, however, for the ego dynamics.  The columnist who was not pulling any punches yesterday was Howard Kurtz.  In his Media Notes piece, he was completely lucid about the fact that Hastert, DeLay’s patsy, was never that swift, and that Blunt and Boehner (take another look!) are preparing the long knives.

(image 1: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP.  October. 4, 2006.  outside Plano, Ill.  Via YahooNews.  image 2: Lawrence Jackson/AP.  Sept. 29, 2006.  Washington.  Via YahooNews.  image 3: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters.  Sept. 29, 2006.  Washington.  Via YahooNews.)

  • ummabdulla

    I looked at that top picture and thought it was one of those prison trailers at Guantanamo Bay.

  • Jerry Holtaway

    What is it with Republicans? Why do they always look like farty old men… the kind I saw in my youth (let’s kindly put it as 40 years ago!).
    Honestly, hasn’t the world advanced in looks, dress style, demeanor…anything for these people?
    Can a Republican have an honest, open and happy (compassionate) face?
    Young kids then, old farts now? Time to break the cycle!

  • marysz

    I agree with Jerry–what a bunch of sour-faced old men. How come female politicians’ physical appearance is subjected to endless scrutiny (and ridicule), while slobs like Hastert get off scot-free? In the facial expressions of these men we can see the contempt that they hold for the general public. They want to “manage” this political crisis and go back to business as usual. Rove isn’t in these photos, but he’s certainly a presence. No doubt he’s busy putting the Republican smear machine into overdrive against the Democrats (and too-inquisitive reporters).

  • mugatea

    ‘For gallows humor’
    : )
    Crisp indeed, ah, hmm, excuse me, but it looks like he’s kicking back in a recliner having a moment of self gratification. The lamp rod with the hand movement, along with the subject of the week, egads –
    me eyes,
    me brain,
    Oh, how they ache.
    Is that what all conservatives do during FOX News?

  • http://smallerdemon.com smallerdemon

    Ditto on the sour faced old men look. Wow, those guys are incredibly, unpleasantly unattractive. It’s a little disturbing. To me they look like how every Baptist preacher in Alabama looked when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s (born in 65). That look always struck me as someone that was embarrassed by their own humanity 24/7. People who hate themselves and take it out on everyone else.

  • Aunt Deb

    Congress needs an extreme makeover — no more wattles, please!

  • weisseharre

    pornos ar us

  • weisseharre

    GrO

  • http://cheetahmaster.livejournal.com/ PMMJ

    Howard Kurtz remains one of my favorite commentators. Both his online column and that of Dan Froomkin are always, always worth reading.

  • http://www.mccs1977.com/ Fred

    Dead Men Talking

  • PTate in MN

    How interesting that this thread promptly morphed into expressions of physical disgust. Are other commenters truly that disgusted by the physical signs of middle age? Or are left brain interpreters confabulating explanations based on surface features rather than paying attention to the creepy underlying power dynamics?
    Poor Dennis Hastert, lamb to slaughter, sits grilled under the Kleig lights. There sits Frist on one side, doing his best to suppress a smirk. There is scary, scary Roy Blunt looking upon poor Dennis as Claudius looked upon Hamlet before the duel with Laertes. There is Sensenbrenner, his body tense, his jaw set, looking away, his hands stuffed in his pocket to keep them from throttling Hastert. And in the bottom picture, Boehner has the expression of an undertaker sizing the living Hastert for a soon-to-be-needed coffin.
    Based on this Republican support communicated in these pictures, I wouldn’t count on Hastert weathering this storm.

  • Satan luvvs Repugs

    Sorry, I read your headline rather differently.
    This is the party that makes excuses for waging war for no discernably true reason.
    For disappearing people into secret prisons.
    For torture.
    And now, for cyber-stalking and molestation of children in their care.
    What wouldn’t they stomach?
    “It’s down to cannibalism”

  • jt from BC

    ” Is there a doctor in the house ” ?
    (facial profiling; diagnostic possibilities, a short list.)
    UC (Ulcerative Colitis)
    IMS (Irritable Male Syndrome)
    IDS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
    IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)
    COOL (Constipated Overweighted Out-Of-Style Loser)

  • KingElvis

    Hastert’s Thursday non-mea culpa speech was a laughable farce. The whole point was to “accept responsibility” right? What does he do? He says, “We” accept responsibility – the ‘royal we’. Then he goes on to say “I did nothing wrong” (?) So he won’t quit as speaker or even admit he did anything wrong or even say “I” instead of “we” – but he’s “accepting responsibility” what the hell does that mean?
    Speaking of the royal ‘we’ – isn’t it great to be King? Then you are not just above the law, you get to play Uncle Tom passive aggressive games. At one time this party claims to know everything under heaven and earth, then the next second they don’ know nothin’ ’bout ‘nothin – especially what their own party members are doing.

  • http://thirdeyepushpin.blogspot.com thirdeyepushpin

    Fi fi fo fum, I smell the arse of a congress bum, a little too close to little boys in the computer across the room and now what shall we three kings do…
    Hee hee ho ho ha ha the curtain is pulleed back on the wizard who says ignore the man behind the curtain.
    These bozos have just been done in by toto

  • lower_case A

    What I have long found troubling in the faces of conservatives (and I’m talking about both sexes here) are the set of the chin, and the downturned mouth. It shows a stubborn, unwavering conviction that they are right, and anyone who disagrees with them is just plain wrong.
    In the top photo of Hastert at home, I noticed the institutional look of the window, but I am more reminded of a hospital-type setting than a prison setting; possibly intended to draw sympathy.
    I love the looks he is getting from Blunt and Boehner. Is it possible that in their minds, he is toast?

  • ummabdulla

    My reaction to their looks isn’t a matter of physical disgust at the signs of middle age. It’s that despite their powerful positions, they look – and act – like they could be the town council of Hooterville.

  • MonsieurGonzo

    Fundamentalist Christians of the Republican Party were shamed last week, not by l’affaire Foley, but by ten little girls ~ aged 8 to 13 ~ in a one-room schoolhouse in Pennsylvania.
    Indeed, the Christian Right has been energized by the Foley child abuse sex-scandal; more than a handful of their leaders and de facto media-mullahs have stated directly, “We should not fear defeat” [referring not to any military engagement, but to that Culture War that is the November Elections]. fwiw, i interpret their intent, this internecine conflict as an agenda to, by boycott = passive aggression decapitate the Republican Party; thereby installing a placebo American government to muddle through the dis-engagement of AngloAmerican Occupation forces ~ during which time the most painful aspect will not be “loss of face,” but the dis-mantling of the real elephant in the room: the American WAR ECONOMY.
    The Religious Righteous, or at least their leaders ~ appear to be shamed not by stunning revelations of debauchery and botched cover-ups, but by their own failed “Faustian Bargain” [Their Souls for Theocracy] with the political power devil. More profoundly, they were not shamed by two stunning statements of true Christian Faith…
    The first expression was “forgiveness”.
    …in interviews, the Amish expressed it as something like this: FORGIVENESS is pre-requisite for SALVATION, and expected, thus. When we compare and contrast “the forgiver” with “the evangelizer,” it is apparent how far afield from original sin scripture all “Fundamentalist” salvation = soul conversion folks’ raison d’être has wandered off into non-original intent; some faith-less existential desert.
    But it was another expression by the Amish that so shamed these Righteous Right ~ and i daresay wounded me, mes amis: sacrifice : “A 13-year-old Amish girl killed by a schoolhouse gunman asked to be shot first in an attempt to buy time for the younger students, according to accounts that surfaced Friday.
    “The girl’s 11-year-old sister then reportedly said, Shoot me next.”
    SHOOT ME NEXT
    My God. Shoot Me Next. Imagine if, immediately after 9/11, the Religious Right actually had faith; ie., imagine if they had the courage to look this Osama bin Laden in the face and say, “Shoot Me Next.”
    !

  • http://www.reachm.com/amstreet/ Kevin Hayden

    Wonderfully put. Not only are the daggers visible, but I look at these four men and see puritanware, right down to the buckled hats. In addition to being sharks circling the big wounded shark, I see these as the Official Guardians Of the Morality, convinced that those ’sexy’ teens are the real protagonists of the current troubles, that the Dems are the opportunists, and only they, the stalwarts of neo-Victorianism, understand virtue… moments before they boil the missionaries.
    And, Monsieur Gonzo, I also had similar thoughts when I read about the courage of those Amish sisters. I thought, this is the type of strength that will defeat the false promises of the Osamas of the world. Not bullets. Not bombs. But the same level of conviction that fuels suicide bombers, yet without the self-demolition, and coupled with equally strong convictions about forgiveness, which the jihadists lack in their spiritual arsenal.
    Those girls were lions. The men in the pics above are jackals circling for carrion.

  • weisseharre

    cyndix

  • PTate in MN

    MonsieurGonzo, thanks for bringing my attention to the “shoot me first, shoot me next” story. Powerful stuff.
    The gentle faith of these children could destroy crusading Christianists and their corrupt Republican face more completely than bombs.

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