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March 7, 2008

TIME’s Halperin Pictures Obama As Dirty Rat

Obama-Rat-Pack

As Obama moves to respond to the “kitchen sink,” Mark Halperin at TIME launches a stunningly pejorative visual preemptive strike.

The photo-illustration above appears under the foreboding headline:  HALPERIN’S TAKE: The Dangers Which Might Await Obama If He Makes Negative Attacks Central To His Campaign. (On TIME’s home page, the lead reads: “Mulling Obama’s Negative Strategy.”)

So, what’s wrong with the picture?

Well, here’s the short list:  (Forgive me in advance, by the way, for failing to identify henchman #2.  I’m sure one of you will recognize him immediately.)

1.  Obama not only deserves an equal place among the likes of Atwater, Carville and Rove, but he deserves the central place.

2. Given that the source of the photo is a famous shot of the “Rat Pack,” Obama reveals himself as a true rat.

3. By casting these political backstabbers as crooners, it soft-peddles their handiwork as entertainment, while at the same time, by linking Obama to Sammy Davis Jr.,

it stereotypes the lone politician in the group as just one more black guy with rhythm.

4.  Notice, by the way, how Halperin’s illustration shows Obama looking down.  In the original Rat Pack photo, however, Sammy Davis Jr. was looking directly into the camera.  So, what gives?  … The body language suggests that Obama, going negative, has too much shame to look us in the eye.  “Shame on you, Obama.” …Sound familiar?

Obama’s Risk And Reward (The Page)

(photo-illustration: The Page by Mark Halperin.  March 6, 2008.  Getty Images.  thepage.time.com.  Linked original image. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. Getty Images.)

  • richard

    Isn’t #2 Mark Penn?
    btw, you have a marvellous blog, original, breadth of outlook, discerning. Many thanks.

  • http://www.jaxxattaxx.com/ black dog barking

    6. Atwater, Penn (thanks richard), Rove, and Carville are hired guns. They are the help. Presumably they can show Obama the servants’ entrance. Show him where to put his lunch box.
    As to presenting rat-fucking as entertainment, that’s been in the Manual of Style as long as I can remember. Bug your own office? Genius!! Feed mis-kerned documents to a political naif. Hahahahaha. Hahahahaha.
    Shit, it would appear, is apple-butter.

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

    Thanks, and welcome, richard. Same to lucy, who “de-lurked” yesterday.

  • Bridgid

    I think #2 is Bob Shrum – not Mark Penn…

  • Robin Lee

    What an apalling image. (BTW #2 is Bob Shrum)
    Isn’t it a convienient trick that when your opponent throws everything at you the supposedly “unbiased” media lets everyone know that if you defend yourself you’re the bad guy because you’re going negative. Kind of makes you think that the media isn’t so unbiased
    We all know that the media wants to keep selling soap and that nothing does that so well as stoking the fires to keep the campaign going forever. I really don’t think that they are biased to one candidate over the other, they just want to keep eyeballs on the screen. The fact is however that by letting them frame things (by telling us which candidates are ’serious’ and which aren’t, I’m talking here about Edwards, Dodd, Richardson etc) we really don’t get the best choices. I am reminded of a .sig I saw earlier this week “Voting: if it really mattered ‘they’ wouldn’t let you do it”

  • http://www.woodka.com donna

    The media has been pushing for a McCain Clinton duel from the start. They’ve managed to get everyone pushed out except Obama, so now all attacks will focus on him. He’s in for a rough ride no matter what.
    I am so amused that anyone thinks we have free and fair elections in this country.

  • http://home.comcast.net/~sfs73/index.html MonsieurGonzo

    One of the most effective counter-measures to propaganda, especially visual propaganda ~ respond by re-using your opponents’ visual imagery with a different message.
    During WWII, Frank Capra did this brilliantly in his classic series, “Why We Fight:

    Capra, who was daunted and terrified by Leni Riefenstahl’s propaganda film Triumph of the Will… worked in direct response to it. The series faced a tough challenge: convincing an isolationist nation of the need to become involved in the war, and ally with the Soviets, among other things. In many of the films, Capra and other directors spliced-in Axis powers’ propaganda footage – recontextualizing it so it promoted the cause of the Allies instead. The films were edited mostly by William Hornbeck, and are some of the best examples of found-footage montage ever produced.

    Jon Stewart, among others, often employs this technique; not only for satire, but also to inform the audience… Not unlike the 1950’s counter-culture hero, Mort Sahl : “His humor was based on current events, particularly politics, drawing many of his monologues from the day’s newspaper [ie., Government and/or Corporate propaganda]. Sahl’s trademark was to appear on stage, simply reading a newspaper to his audience, but in a very clever, witty, and ultimately revealing and informative way.
    For example, yesterday fwiw, i suggested a way in which Mr. Obama could have responded to TheClintons‘ the RED PHONE IS RINGING attack ad, by using that self-same commercial with an entirely different message: which would have the effect of portraying Mrs. Clinton as the fool, a responder, waiting for the crisis phone to ring ~ while Mr. Obama, “as Commander-in-Chief, HE wouldn’t wait for the damn phone to ring; HE would pick up the frigging phone ~ before the s___ hits the fan ~ and MAKE THE CALL that would STOP A WAR or crisis from happening.”
    One of the aspects of socio-pathic character ~ whether it be the more benign salesman, trying to persuade you to do something, or the more destructive psycho-, actually attacking you with words and pictures, etc. ~ is that THEY don’t know “who/where they are”. Rather, they figure that out by how you respond to THEM. You have two effective choices of how to deal with this behaviour…
    …the first is “to become a black hole“, a BLANK, devoid of any discernible response whatsoever. The Salesman “empties himself” into this nothingness, eventually running out of words, and finds himself lost, “nowhere“. Then YOU take over The Conversation, define HIM.
    …the second is “to hold up a mirror” and REFLECT his own words/imagery back, but with an entirely different message, one which re-defines your attacker to your advantage, using his own tools = force against him.
    There is a third way to respond to an attack, and that is with WIT. Mr. Obama is a fine orator, but he has yet to demonstrate a great WIT, imho. True WIT has the effect of defeating your opponents by empowering the audience to be your muse, to disarm and defeat the attacker apparent: with their laughter, (and their appreciation of YOU ~ for recognizing and allowing THEM ~ to be amused, rather than “anxious” = angry, or afraid ;-)

  • Cactus

    Halperin went off camera in the 90’s to cover Clinton. One can only wonder just how close they came during that period.
    “In a February 25 entry to his website, The Page, Time magazine political analyst Mark Halperin posted a list titled “Things McCain Can Do to Try to Beat Obama That Clinton Cannot,” in which he suggested that McCain “can … [a]llow some supporters to risk being accused of using the race card when criticizing Obama” and “can …[e]mphasize Barack Hussein Obama’s unusual name and exotic background through a Manchurian Candidate prism.”" http://mediamatters.org/items/200802250004?f=s_search
    It looks like Halperin is following his own advice. Can one serve two masters??
    We now know that McCain’s chief advisor is Charlie Black. Who also works for Mark Penn, Clinton’s chief advisor. Hmmmm. Maybe Clinton really does want to be McCain’s VP! I’ll say this, both McCain and Clinton (it is now obvious) will do, say or suck anything to be in the white house.
    It’s beginning to look like all of the little weasels are coming out of the woods in support of Clinton to trash Obama. Maybe this is the last battle in the war of the DLC against the DNC.

  • http://mdhatter.wordpress.com mdhatter

    Since when was Photoshop considered photojournalism?
    and TIME is publishing it?
    Fiction wins this round.

  • http://home.comcast.net/~sfs73/index.html MonsieurGonzo

    ref : “Maybe Clinton really does want to be McCain’s VP!
    Heheheh! You know Cactus, (imho) TheClintons would be a great Vice-President. Not only would we break through the glass ceiling of the Executive Branch, which has for so long denied women their rightful representation, we would also have women in control of both Houses of Congress.
    While Bubba serves a useful purpose ~ freeing and enabling his mate, Hillary, to kick butt (Mr. Reid and Mrs. Pelosi, et al) on The Hill ~ by his performing all the “ceremonial” duties usually delegated to the traditional, neutered rôle of the Vice-President ~ Mrs. Clinton could employ the unprecedented power of the Cheney-empowered Office of the Vice-Presidency.
    The social scene in D.C., so vital to the intercourse of culture and power, so stifled by the anti-social Dubya, and BBQ-on-PaperPlate provincial provenance of Laura ~ et Voila! une Renaissance des femmes! Les Grandes Dames would come out of the woodwork: get out the Wedgewood and Bernardaud china, honey ~ let’s dance and sing, again {grin}
    Who knows? Maybe all our bright young and old ladies-in-waiting could entirely transform the politics of anxious masculinity into the politics of nurturing femininity?
    Meanwhile, The Presidency is elevated to a higher plane : Her mighty fist, tempered by His black velvet glove.
    The Vice-President used to be just a GoFer, but isn’t it now the perfect place for a TwoFer?

  • http://nomoremister.blogspot.com Steve M.

    The Halperin link you’re using is dead, but this one works.

  • Cactus

    SteveM.
    The Halperin link does work. It’s to MediaMatters regarding Halperin’s 2/25 Time article. The link you provided is to Halperin’s Time article of 3/13. Different pig.

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