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November 13, 2006

Getting A Grip

Harry-Reid-George-Bush

In the early morning following the blue landslide, I somehow convinced myself that pictures of this lame duck, dead-in-the-water Administration would turn stultifyingly flat — and remain so for the whole next two years.

Wow, what was I thinking?

Literally forced to share the stage, these new political circumstances have blown a gaping hole in the White House’s air-tight, Stepford-like stage management practices.  Not one week post rescue, and we are already the visual beneficiaries of tactical and behavioral information that would never have seen the light of day if Rove and Co. continued to control the board.

Having never experienced a drop of sympathy for 41 43 (and never thinking I would), this photo actually made me feel sorry for Bush.  (Don’t worry, it’s fleeting.)  I’m mostly dispassionate when it comes to politicians, but I would love to have a signed copy of this photo — by Harry Reid, of course.  As the Senate Minority Leader under a “can-do-no-wrong” Republican junta, Reid still managed to outmaneuver and undermine that overmatched Bill Frist at almost every turn.

And now?

Talk about stage management in reverse!  Don’t think for a minute that Reid isn’t posed exactly this way on purpose. For crissakes, he’s got his hand on Bush’s shoulder — meaning, his hand on the power — like he’s channeling every ounce of authority out of that Oval Office and into his own body (and the newly-resuscitated Congressional body).

And George, George, silver spoon George!  That tie says every thing about how you’re (not) fitting this together.  You don’t even know where to look anymore.  And, about Karl and the stage management, who’s aligned with George Washington now!

To boot, Reid has got that terminally contemptuous and perpetually resistant Cheney practically consigned to the clothes closet.

(image: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/A.P. White House.  Friday, Nov. 10, 2006.  Via YahooNews.)

  • Gary

    In this picture – and on the current cover of Newsweek (“Father Knows Best”), Junior looks smaller and smaller. And in this picture, he even looks adolescent.

  • Miss Led

    Isn’t Bush II “43″?

  • http://molly.douthett.net momly

    To continue the Bush is juvenile meme (that he so graciously supplies, consciously or not):
    Reid looks like a teacher/administrator who has called in a parent for a conference. He is protectively placing a hand on the student’s shoulder as if to say to parent, “Here is the offspring, let’s talk.”
    Cheney looks like the distracted, busy, distant father who is more than a little peeved by this interruption to his schedule but has acquiesed to the meeting for appearances sake.
    Bush looks like the kid who stopped up the girls’ toilets because he was left unsupervised and is bored and now will “aw shucks” his way through the conference with a mind already moving toward the next fun thing to do.
    THe anonymous guy on the left (who is that?)is the harrassed teacher who brought the entire siutation to light and will be sorely disappointed at the outcome.
    How’s that for some projection? ;)

  • amm

    It’s Cheney who is separate from the formed group and is forced to lean into it. Reid stood in place and held the president under his hand.

  • ummabdulla

    It looks to me like Reid is physically holding Bush down, to keep him from escaping.

  • sloppy

    Reach Dick, reaaach!

  • Noname

    43 does look quite disoriented in this shot.
    From a composition perspective, this image leans heavily to the left. Three bodies on the left outweigh one on the right; Bush and Cheney’s ties are hanging to the left, the camera is tilted so that the floor drops to the left.
    There is a picture-frame halo with Reid channeling Washington, and Cheney in front of a much lower picture. Combining that with Cheney’s lean, and Reid framed between the other two, and this looks more like Reid granting an audience to Cheney with 43 as a lackey than 43 doing anything.

  • Thirdeyepushpin

    How about the storm cloud brewing around in Cheney’s head and his left hand out of the screen..is it tied or does he still have something hidden up his sleeve?

  • KansasKowboy

    I am really happy with the outcome of the elections. As Bush said in his radio address something like “the U.S. can have elections even in a time of war”. This makes me think that Bush and Company might have really been considering a time when they might suspend elections due to some emergency. I think that if Bush and Company would have known what was coming with the election they might have tried to suspend the elections. Well, they didn’t and now they have lost a significant amount of power. And this photo shows that. Bush looks like he is a little afraid of Cheney. Like he has invited some friends over that Cheney (his parent) doesn’t approve of. I am glad to see Ried so in control, Bush looking submissive (that cocky look is gone), and Cheney almost out of the picture. I am predicting that Cheney will resign (due to health reasons) maybe even before the new congress takes its’ post.

  • styven7

    Love the blue ties.

  • http://www.peoplestrustcu.org BobP

    Although in this photo it does appear Bush is, well, a little disoriented, and it is comforting to believe Cheney is history – we really need to beware. The Republicans will not take this election result lying down. If you think the tone of this election campaign was vicious, wait until 2008! Of course, there is also the very real possibility of widespread fraud in that election; they will do virtually anything to regain control.

  • http://bibliosquirrel.blogspot.com san antone rose

    Is that Dick Durbin? Giggling like a schoolgirl?
    Ha ha.
    Give ‘em hell, Harry.

  • margaret

    What I love is the “patronizing” gesture of Reid’s hand on Bush’s shoulder and the “forcing” of Cheney to reach over to meet his hand. This is so choice after all the patronizing tone with which this administration has showered Americans. “We know best what’s good for you. Just be silent, don’t protest, and we will win the war on terror.”

  • MonsieurGonzo

    indeed, “patronizing:
    From the Latin pater meaning “father”, with the -ize suffix used to create the verb form:
    1. To make a patron.
    2. To treat as inferior unduly, talk down to, treat condescendingly.
    3. To make oneself a regular customer of a business.

  • limapup

    Bush: “A real dummy” comes to mind, and where is the puppeteer?
    Cheney: he can’t get far enough to be close enough to Harry’s grasp! ;-)
    Harry to the Republicans: “I got my whole being on your boy now, and I’m about to lean heavily. And, what did you do with the puppteer?”

  • MonsieurGonzo

    a toppling Cheney, now without (Rumsfeld, DoD thus) any visible means of support, is saying “Here’s the puppet. Yeah {blush}I could never get that goddam ventriloquist act down without looking like i was talking out of the side of my mouth!”

  • GeorgeF

    First, the expression of GWB reminds me intensely to Sir Peter Unstinov, playing the debile one.
    But it is right, reading the right wing news, people like Newt Gingrich (!) already start their campaign for 2008. They remind to many Democrats, who to their impression are more leaning to conservative positions. And they right now start to attack Mrs. Pelosi because she “pretends” to be a Unionist, but doesn’t alow Unions to act in her own businesses. The dirty campaigns will carry on!

  • maddie

    I saw another picture similar to this (forgot to bookmark it). Bush and Reid meeting at the White House, both of them sitting in chairs. Bush is on the edge of his chair, leaning all the way forward with his hand outstretched. Reid is sitting in his chair, not really moving to take his hand, not leaning forward.
    Reid is very concsious of what he’s doing in these photo ops.

  • PTate in MN

    In a variation of horse trading, Reid and Cheney shake hands on Reid’s new toy, the inflatible Bush doll. Reid’s posture suggests that he knows exactly what he is up to. His eyes drill Cheney’s brain, and he has pulled Cheney back into frame.
    Bush looks like an inflatible toy, his eyes glazed, his arms at his side.

  • Mad_nVT

    Harry Reid the Boxer is quite a fighter, maybe even a good infighter, and he sure does look like he has this situation under control.
    Keeping Bubble-Boy from floating away.
    Showing Darth Cheney that he’s got aholt of Bubble-Boy.
    Making Darth lean into it, maybe with a right upper-cut coming next.
    But I’d say that there ain’t nobody meaner or dirtier than Darth Cheney. These next two years are going to be real ugly, and if Darth still has the energy for it, then we can expect to see a lot of hits and kicks below the belt.
    Darth’s hand that is out of the photo? He’s dialing into the implant in Bubble-Boy’s Brain, and he’s using it to down-load Harry Reid’s software.

  • Cactus

    Jr. still thinks he’s the center of attention, but it is slowly dawning on him what just happened. He has, what we out here call, a sh!t-eatin’ grin and suddenly doesn’t know what to do with his hands. Reid is not bending to shake hands with Cheney, forcing Cheney to lean in. Standing straight with feet on the ground, not bending in to shake hands, takes a considerable amount of control and determination by Reid. My estimation of him just went up a couple of notches. But Cheney is stubborn enough not to move his feet an inch, thus saying “I’ll shake hands for the cameras, but I’ll not move an inch toward you.” Notice the slight crack in Cheney’s cheek from that forced smile.
    Reid’s hand on Jr. as a balancing tool for his handshake is definitely patronizing and demeaning, but Jr. doesn’t know what to do. Reid is definitely in control of the room, even the fawning, laughing senator to his right, who was probably the only senator in town with nothing else to do.
    momly, IMHO, the unidentified man on left looks like Stenny Hoyer, conservative democrat of MD who is fighting Murtha (who has Pelosi’s backing) for the majority leader.

  • itwasntme

    The hand on the shoulder is a power move…owning and controlling the touched.

  • gleex

    saw this on video and I was pleased in the way you noted (that you felt bad for him, I did not – but same difference).
    You can also see Reid hunched a bit as his side of the gesture to ensure Cheney kept coming in for the handshake and did not make him have to lean into the shot and spoil it.
    It a bit decieving at the same time since they look a little lost and without a plan (hands hanging like meat next to him now that he did his handshaking) – but we know they did plan at least a bit for the loss (firing Rummy to get what they could scrap from the news cycle). I wonder if they really planned it all out, or thought they would only lose the house by a bit and did not think through all the details.
    This is how the Repubs ganked Clinton and left him without much power after the impeachment (and balance in the House) – this is what the Repubs did to themselves with the incompetence and treachery. It shows that balance is what is needed, if they had not started down a false path in the early 90’s we would all be better off. Now what can we look forward to, will balance return – I find it hard to believe with these folks (on the Republican side, and we have yet to see on the Dems side).

  • Samantha

    NoName’s observations on the weight of the bodies, lean of the ties, painting hovering over Reid, etc, are right on target. Extremely interesting photo.
    Also, KansasKowboy’s remarks on Bush’s expression are worth noting. I looked again at that. The Prez is definitely drawn to Cheney, all his attention, all his emotion, is toward that man. Is it trepidation regarding Cheney’s reaction? Bush Seeking Comfort?
    You would think Bush would be studying Reid, his enemy, for every reaction, for any slight weakness, during this contact. Instead he studies Cheney. This is a reflex you can’t fake.

  • R.Dickson

    I just new this photograph would show up here.
    Not much to add-oO yeah Reid had that lean and hungry look and you know what they say about those guys.
    The Chimp looks lost, Reid is very aware of what he is doing with the hand (it is after all the President heh-heh-heh) and Reid looks like he is taking Cheneys measure (“I want no rabbit punches, clean break, you go to the corner when the other mans down…”)
    Pretty clear to me that George Washington is looking in the direction of men that will help save this country.
    Durbin looks like he has taken it all in and is enjoying it.
    Great photo and the Newsweek Cover-what a great week

  • http://profile.typekey.com/RubDMC/ RubDMC

    Love the photo, and the comments.
    All I can add is that I’ve thought highly of Harry Reid for a bit. In one post at dKos, in response to a question about what he would do about something or other, he said simply, “A good boxer doesn’t telegraph his punches.”
    Give ‘em hell, Harry. Or rather, just tell ‘em the truth, and they’ll think it’s hell.

  • Jeffrey

    All this is excellent commentary. I would like to add that Cheney’s head is framed by a painting of a churning sea, or is it gathering stormclouds? Either way, it’s implying that he is “At sea”, in a storm or perhaps even shipwrecked. Cheney is toast.

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