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February 15, 2008

When You Subtract Lewis

Clinton-Lewis


How often, as regards a political campaign, do you find yourself thinking about negative space?

This shot was taken on October 12th, the day Representative Lewis — the influential congressman and civil rights veteran, as well as long time friend and supporter of the Clintons — gave his endorsement to Hillary.  The image surfaced yesterday after the Georgian and super delegate reversed that commitment.

The act of going in and mentally extracting the Representative from this picture has an immediate cognitive effect.  In the void, a number of assumptions — previously held by embrace — start to float free.  The perceived political power of the Clintons, the depth and endurance of the Clinton bond with the black community, and even the authoritative capital of the Hillary campaign become fundamentally indeterminate.

Then, Hillary’s newswire pose (as contrasted with Lewis’ more grounded and introspective look);  the citizen-paparazzi, motivated as much or more by celebrity as substance; and the fact the mostly black crowd is more spatially aligned with Lewis, while Hillary lines up with the one (mostly obscured) black woman, plus a parking lot, only further diminishes the Clinton grasp.

image from: Black Leader, a Clinton Ally, Tilts to Obama (NYT)

(image: John Nowak for The New York Times.  October 12, 2007. nytimes.com)

  • corinne

    The Washington Post is rebutting the report that Lewis has reversed his commitment to Hillary Clinton:
    “But the Clinton campaign reported having no word from Lewis on the subject, and a spokeswoman for Lewis, Brenda Jones, said the Times story and a similar one by the Associated Press, saying he was contemplating such a switch, were inaccurate. Both the Times and AP stories quoted Lewis directly after speaking with him; he was not available for comment later Thursday. The Obama campaign also said that Lewis and Obama had not talked recently about a change of heart.”
    It would help too if Obama co-chair Jesse Jackson Jr. would stop pressuring African American lawmakers who support Hillary Clinton:
    “[Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri] said Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois had recently asked him “if it comes down to the last day and you’re the only superdelegate? … Do you want to go down in history as the one to prevent a black from winning the White House?
    “I told him I’d think about it,” Cleaver concluded.
    “Jackson, an Obama supporter, confirmed the conversation, and said the dilemma may pose a career risk for some black politicians. “Many of these guys have offered their support to Mrs. Clinton, but Obama has won their districts. So you wake up without the carpet under your feet. You might find some young primary challenger placing you in a difficult position” in the future, he added.

  • http://tekel.wordpress.com tekel

    Corinne: interesting. Al Wynn, anybody?

  • lowly grunt

    Hmmm…. is Jesse Jackson blackmailing superdelegates?
    When is Obama going to reign in HIS junkyard dog?

  • KansasKowboy

    I am not that familiar with Representative Lewis’ normal appearance. But although he has his arm around Hillary, he doesn’t look like he has his heart into it. Even in October.

  • itwasntme

    This is a really sad picture of Hillary. I don’t know how anybody keeps their sanity while campagning at the rate Hill and Obama are. Here we see it showing on her: she looks just plain nuts.

  • http://thelegality.com Steve

    lowly: is Jesse Jackson blackmailing superdelegates?
    Maybe he’s just putting them on notice. The tide is rising. It’s their decision whether to try to sail against it.

  • http://www.bagnewsnotes.com The BAG

    Reading the reports cited by Corinne, I was tempted to re-title this “If You Subtract Lewis” – but that sort of undermines the whole point. 

    According to Josh Marshall’s latest post, however, the original Lewis story looks to stand up.  Despite some nuances that got left out of the original NYT piece, and some perceived qualification from Lewis’ office in reaction to the intensity of the attention this stirred up, he apparently still falls in the Obama camp — regardless of delegate count — based on his (new found) rationale that his vote should reflect the will of his district. 

    There is no dispute there is intense pressure — a constant measure of it, ugly — coming from both sides.  We are talking about politics.  But then, you can imagine the kind of blowback Lewis would be subjected to with a struggling Clinton team having a rug pulled out like this.

  • jtfromBC

    filling in that negative space…
    “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?”
    Help wanted, practitioner of Chiromancy please apply BNN.
    & http://mycousinjoey.com/images/mask01.jpg

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