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May 2, 2007

Power Of The Pen

Bush-Veto

Pelosi-Reid-Iraq-Bill

I was interested in the “photo dialogue” in this morning’s NYT report on the Iraq spending battle.

Leading the article is a close-up shot of Bush at a White House podium, the Jefferson Memorial in the distance, promising to veto the Democrat’s war appropriations/withdrawal-timetable. In response, if in thumbnail down the the side column, is the photo of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi signing the House-Senate legislation, which was delivered to Bush yesterday.

Given an Administration for which perception is everything, the “conversation” spells trouble.  As political commentary, the symbolism suggests a shift in the power scale (as well as another win for the Pelosi impression factory). 

Up to now, it has been the Democrats relegated to the pulpit, with the President the sole holder of the pen.

(image 1: Doug Mills/The New York Times.  image 2: Yuri Gripas/Reuters.  Washington.  May 1, 2007. nytimes.com)

  • Margaret Moore

    And Ms Pelosi is wearing black!

  • Roy Schulze

    I’ve been struck by the how often Pelosi and Reid have been appearing together as if to visually hammer it home that it’s now Two Against One. (Which coincidentally is also where Bush’s polling stands.)

  • ummabdulla

    They’re going toe-to-toe with Bush. Pelosi looks elegant and in-charge in black, and Reid even has a flag pin on his lapel, doesn’t he?
    And the actual flags… Pelosi and Reid win the flag count. But were we supposed to see only the golden curtains and the flags? Shouldn’t the background be covering those white walls, or partitions, or whatever they are?

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/vicfitz82 Victor F

    CNN’s headline insisting the Democrats have to make some concessions before Bush signs the law is ridiculous, if that is what the president has been saying. He has been saying this whole time that he’s ready to work with the new congress to get things done, but he obviously isn’t if he won’t even consider their legislation.
    I saw that picture of Bush in thumbnail form, cropped tightly around his head. His eyebrows are all cocked and his mouth is crooked and it looks like his face is falling off, in that ticked-off movie star expression he’s worked so hard on these past 6 years. But he is all alone, he can throw a tantrum but the grownups are busy getting work done, cleaning up little George’s mess.

  • croatoan

    Pelosi’s dress looks maroon to me, not black. Still sharp, though.
    I can’t tell if Reid is wearing an American flag pin, but I hope not. I’m tired of those un-American obligatory displays of patriotism.

  • mugatea

    Video of this Pelosi/Ried event showed Pelosi opening up that unfolded piece of office paper in front her; notes. At first it looked unprofesional for her to unfold her thoughts as she sat with all the cerimonial stuff around her. But as she talked I realized it made me feel comfortable to see a politician behaving more like a co-worker than some Disney, no flaws type person – as we all have been over exposed to. The Dems aren’t as focused on ‘the look’ the way the Busheviks have been. That shot thru the podium that Chip took would not have been allowed under the Bushevik rules. No photographer would have been allowed that position. It’s refreshing. Ah.
    Speaking of which. Cactus coffee aside > try getting a pound of ‘green’ (unroasted) beans from your supplier. Toast them in a broad stainless pan or Whirley Pop over medium heat, near constant stir, for 30-35 minutes or desired color/roast. The home smells great and the flavor is … oh. It’s a labor but fun occasionally. Guests trip.

  • Gasho

    Not only is Pelosi dressed in maroon, but she matches the President’s tie exactly (according to my monitor).
    All this media talk saying “After the veto the Democrats will have to remove the timeline…” has been infuriating. I’ve read it everywhere. Why would Bush back down if he knows that step 3 is to give him the money without the strings??
    I hope they keep the pressure up on all fronts. Sizzle Gonzo again, and throw Rice into the mix. Pressure the VP on the Niger Uranium claims and keep exposing the president’s empty ‘progress’ and ’support the troops’ back at him. THEN give him a new spending bill that’s 75% of the $ from the first bill (strip the pork, if there is, in fact any at all) and make him consider the new offer(s) as he gets weaker and weaker.

  • http://www.woodka.com donna

    The point was not to cut off funding, it was to show Bush is not at all interested in ending this war.
    Of course as Ted Koppel was so kind to point out yesterday, as soon as a Dem president is elected in 2008 it becomes the Deomcrat’s fault. Which is what Bush really wants – someone else to blame it all on.
    The essence of being Republican is that everything that goes wrong is always someone else’s fault.

  • margaret

    Reid and Pelosi (in maroon, looking, beautiful, by the way, don’t you think?) look like people who are cooperating while working on important business. The composition is balanced with the flags in the background and windows(/) flanking them are evenly arrayed. The Bush looks off balanced, and the composition reinforces that feeling, as the background is skewed with flags, window and monument dimly seen (that’s a nice commentary about how out-of focus Bush is in relation to Jefferson) in the background.

  • http://ruinsofempire.blogspot.com/ Rafael

    I agree donna, is all about “not loosing” as opposed to “winning” (whatever that means these days in Washington D.C.). Pelosi and Reid look like their something, Bush like he standing there looking stupid, about to be mugged by the flags behind him.
    Oh and a note to the Dems, don’t use the Rove playbook when placing flags and banners, one will do, thank you.

  • a–

    Watching the MSM spin this yesterday literally made me sick. I don’t get why our ‘news’ is an apologist for the lame ass Bu(ll)sh(it)!
    His numbers at 28% and they continue to treat him as if he were a popular, sane leader all evidence to the contary-doesn’t matter. Patty Murray did a great job yesterday on the News Hour explaining and demanding accountability and not excepting the rote of republican mantras on this occupation. GO Dems!!

  • Johanna

    Can this woman never stop posing? She always seems to be modeling, not just wearing, her clothes and jewelry, with a look of awareness of the camera and her appearance. For cryin’ out loud, these are life and death matters she deals with. I’m tired of her preening and flouncing. There’s a big difference between Edwards’(or anyone’s) primping backstage, or in front of a mirror,BEFORE you are in public, and her public vamping. Isn’t that the necklace she was admiring in the Damascus souk, btw?

  • George

    The four flags are covering a mirror behind Pelosi and Reid–the photo would be visually confusing without them. That room has large mirrors on three of four walls, it would be difficult to avoid the mirrors and still keep the shot symmetric–two chambers working as peers.
    I thought Bush’s tie matched Pelosi’s dress, but maybe chronology says otherwise.

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

    One thing that has been striking to me is the extent to which Pelosi has emerged as the more dominant force in the visuals. Maybe photographers just gravitate towards the image of a powerful woman taking on the boy-king. But vis-a-vis Reid, she almost always comes off as the senior member.

  • Sceptic

    Can this woman never stop posing? She always seems … For cryin’ out loud, these are life and death matters …preening … Isn’t that the necklace she was admiring in the Damascus souk, btw?
    Posted by: Johanna | May 02, 2007 at 09:55 AM

    Er Johanna this isn’t the RNC web site.
    Pelosi doesn’t friken flounce.
    Edwards doesn’t friken preen.
    The photos tell you that Bush is playing games and the leaders of Congress are serious.
    If it is the neckless from Demascus I like the message it sends; I have to take charge because you (Bush) can’t handle it.

  • http://www.thetimtimes.com Tim Fuller

    Just got back from the Moveon War protest rally in Jackson MS. Figured this crowd might be interested and it’s definitely on topic.
    No time to chat now, but I posted my experience on my site at the following post.
    http://thetimtimes.com/?p=36
    Enjoy.

  • tina

    Did I hear correctly when someone told me this is the first piece of legislation Bush has EVER vetoed? That he has never vetoed anything before this?
    If so, he’s one sorry sub-human. Yech.
    Yes, the Democrats will win in ‘08 and inherit Bush’s war, unless they are stupid enough to run “Hussein” Obama or Bill Clinton’s wife. Then they won’t, and we’ll have another 4 years of this.
    We have a good chance, and we still can’t get it together. This is sad.

  • Johanna

    Sceptic, the message of the necklace isn’t “I have to take charge….” etc.; rather, it is “I’m gonna come back more bejewelled than when I left.” Pelosi flounces alright — what do you call her doing in that picture with the red cape, shawl, whatever, from the recent Vanity Fair piece? I never said Edwards preens — what he does in front of a mirror in private is his own damn business.

  • Cactus

    The W looks a bit hysterical. The flags behind him are out of focus, as is the Jefferson, just as the ideal of the man is out of focus with this admin. In contrast, Reid and Pelosi look calm, serious and determined. Flags in focus as is the wall/window(?) behind them, as if to say, we are too busy tending to business to pay any attention to a perfect background. I agree with ummabdulla that they have very successfully been presenting a united front.
    Johanna, don’t you realize that if Pelosi’s attire were just one accessory off, the MSM and Faux would be ALL OVER HER for such sloppiness! Reid may be able to pull off a bit of dishevelment, but not Pelosi. And that VF photo was not flouncing, which is a loaded word, BTW. First, the photog probably wanted her to use it because s/he is looking for something to quickly catch the reader’s eye. Second, it was, by itself, a classy pose, not a flounce! If you are really that shallow, maybe you’d be happier with the freepers.
    mugatea, thanks for the recipe, I just may do that someday – in cooler weather.

  • SEAS

    I’m intrigued by Johanna’s comments. Is it being sexist to observe that it is usually the women who go after another woman’s “look”? It never ocurred to me that Ms. Pelosi was either “preening” or “flouncing” or that she was aiming for a “bejeweled” look. What I call the red shawl was a statement that she was willing to kick a** if she needed to, and wasn’t just a background prop for some ambitious man. (My wife faced this same kind of critism when she joined out state’s largest law firm and went on to become a corporate tax partner, exclusively from other women.)
    Instead, I saw a woman who is aware of the importance of images, of symbols, of what the public expects powerful people to look like. And, because she is an attractive person she can project those images. Or perhaps we all think she would just as likely have become the first female Speaker of the House if she weighed 250 pounds, dressed from off the rack at Penney’s and deferred to those big strong men who actually know how to fight wars and run the country like Denny Hastert. I’m surprised I haven’t been reading serious questions speculating about how Ms. Pelosi looks like she may have “had work done” on her face.

  • tina

    SEAS–has Pelosi had plastic surgery? Well, as long as she doesn’t go all Nancy “I don’t know when to stop with the face lifts” Reagan on us, it’s don’t ask, don’t tell in the female professional world.

  • Sceptic

    Johanna Darling,
    I see through you.
    Run along now little republican, try not to steal any elections, get caught taking bribes or special ‘massages’ now, ok?

  • Johanna

    SEAS, I’m not mentioning any work she had done because I’m not criticizing her for looking good. She’s taken great care of herself and the efforts have paid off. There are other women in public life who also look good, but somehow they seem able to project less involvement with their looks. THe supposed kick-ass statement of the red shawl and many other glamor shots of her have been criticized by others on this site. The shots of her in triumphal poses should be saved for when (and IF) she succeeds in shutting down this war.

  • SEAS

    Johanna, I’m a little confused. Are you saying “trimuphal poses” [= "flouncing"?]would be allowed for a woman who had managed to become Speaker of the House only if she managed to stop a war? How about if Bush were to strike a triumphal pose [="prance"?] in a flight suit, and only claim to have ended a war? Would that be different from preening and flouncing? I still honestly can’t see why it is so offensive for Pelosi to be aware of, and take advantage of how she presents herself, and art Bush has mastered.

  • Johanna

    Yes, that’s what I’m saying.

  • readytoblowagasket

    Is it being sexist to observe that it is usually the women who go after another woman’s “look”?
    It’s not “usually” “the women” who go after another woman’s “look.” In these MSNBC video clips about Hillary Clinton (and Michelle Obama) during the Democratic debate, the men far outnumber the women:
    http://mediamatters.org/items/200704280003
    Those who do obsess about a woman’s looks, male or female, are usually being sexist.

  • mugatea

    rtbg, – many Chris Mathews shows could be used in text books on sexist behavior. Boy, I’d like to see that guy off the air. Or on FOX, where he wouldn’t be seen by decent people. Yuk. He’s one of the major enabler(s) of the mess we’re in. Prime time propaganda. Nothing more, nothing less.
    From the ‘The GOPuppet Show’ of last night …
    men who go after another man’s look
    Can you spot the looney? Or, the upper-class twit?

  • http://home.comcast.net/~sfs73/images/kick_down_door.jpg MonsieurGonzo

    what’s interesting is how BAGman positioned Mr. Bush above the two impotent Democrats. Yes, they do appear to be working together, collaborating ~ but we know that the image is unreal, a posture on a flag festooned set
    …it’s not “work” with potent substance, thus: people don’t really “work together” on a set stage in front of photographers ~ unless they are acting as actors, their “work” being to project characters toward some fourth wall audience implicit, in accord with some script.
    BUSH, here is not only above = superior to implicit, but also larger = more significant: i do emphasize this because, had BAGman simply reversed his post, such that the man+woman were above the man, alone, an entirely different meaning would be visually conveyed to we, the image targets intent. And then there is… reality, n’est-ce pas?
    it all happened on MISSION unACCOMPLISHED day
    And the reality is: that Mr. Reid and Ms. Pelosi have not only failed to end the American Occupation of IRAQ, the rogue president is escalating the suffering of our spent military; but, also ~ the Democrats have entirely failed to re-FRAME the visual & literal liberal agenda not in terms not of “WAR”, something which can be “won” or “lost”, thus ~ but Occupation ~ that single word (and image) being our key to peace, IMHO.

  • Cactus

    M.Gonzo makes an interesting point. In fact, the Reid-Pelosi photo was shot before the W’s photo. The implication here is that they are calmly considering the W’s veto, when in actuality they are more likely readying the bill for his ’signature.’ The Bag’s arrangement gives the political weight to the W. One wonders if this is an inbred American respect for the president such that one does not even think about it………

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