Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
May 23, 2008

Teddy, Hillary, Rummy And Puppy


If the ritual is still fairly new, being the subject of a retrospective NYT slideshow typically indicates that your career, your mortality, or both, is at serious issue.  In the past week, the stricken “lion of the Senate” has been the subject of not one, but two of these presentations.

Of the photos from this historic life and prodigious career, I found this one the most politically interesting.  (And then, how often do you have something this good to read at every corner?)

– A candidate for the time capsule, the picture reminds us how Cheney/ Bush and the neocons so thoroughly dominated this decade that the Dems mostly seemed like part of the furniture.

– Besides Teddy’s contemptuous glance, what is classic is the way a freeze-frame Rummy seems to admire his own body language (the gesture, alone, worth all kinds of thoughtful speculation).

– As you know if you’ve been around here that long, I was also fascinated with Rummy and puppy.

What makes this an incredible image, however, is not just Hillary’s pose, but the Hillary – Teddy resonance as it relates to today’s politics.  If you saw the recent piece at TPM Cafe, it expresses the logic of Hillary not just growing her role in the Senate, but ultimately aiming for Kennedy’s legislative station as a master of the chamber, and (following through on her campaign convictions) a champion of the poor and working class.  That scenario is captured right there in the picture — with Kennedy collecting his glasses, looking back and moving to exit while Hillary holds down the seat, looking off in a pleasantly visionary way.

What If Hillary Clinton Returns to the Senate as Labor’s Voice? (TPM Cafe)

Edward M. Kennedy: Looking Back (May 17 -NYT Slide Show)

Doctors Say Kennedy Has a Brain Tumor (May 20 -NYT Slide Show)

Eating It’s Young. Falling On Sword. Whatever, Pace Is Gone (BNN)

(Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times.  Senate Armed Services Committee. August 4, 2006.

  • quincyscott

    I had a completely different reaction to Clinton, who I see as brandishing a false smile and going along with Bush militarism. That looking off into the future I read as personal ambition.
    It is Kennedy who has liberal fight in this moment. He is focused on the here and now, not scanning the horizon. Clinton seems quite aware of where the cameras are; Kennedy doesn’t seem to give a damn. His distaste for Rummy is honest and undisguised. I think it’s an apt comparison. Kennedy has long since abandoned any presidential aspirations, and has spent the past two decades focusing on being an effective senator and champion of liberal values, even through these last seven bleak years. Clinton has triangulated her values until they are unrecognizable, nowhere better illustrated than in the military sphere.

  • futurebird

    The lights on the wall behind Ted are a little like wings– they match his hair. A bit of a halo. Clinton looks great, she looks like she’s “next”–
    Rummy looks lost.
    For some reason this image reminds me of a play– everyone is facing us… it’s stagey.

  • jmac

    She won’t replace the Lion of the Senate as she’ll be busy being Commander-in-Chief.

  • margaret

    Hillary is no “visionary,” as you suggest. She is old politics and she will not be leading the Senate, because she doesn’t know how to lead.
    It’s interesting to see Rummy looking so self-confident, when he may be facing war crimes prosecution in the future.

  • catfood

    Peter Pace looks like he is attempting to swallow a cockroach, as opposed to merely standing near one.

Refresh Archives

Random Notes