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May 3, 2008

Who Do You Think You’re Fueling?

Hillary Wilfring 3

Hillary Wilfring 1

Hillary South Bend 1

What is sleazy about Clinton’s South Bend “fill ‘er up” photo op, featuring recruited sheet metal worker Jason Wilfing, is not his function as a prop.  It’s that the truck isn’t even Wilfing’s.

According to the LAT, the secret service rejected using Wilfing’s vehicle (perhaps, for security reasons).  Which leaves the question: what was he driving?  Absent a front license plate, is it a secret service vehicle?  Not that most photo ops aren’t duplicitous by definition, but what makes this one particularly choice, as reported, is the fact that Wilfing and Clinton drove around pretending to look for gas while leading a caravan of eight secret service SUV’s.

Of course, after they pulled into this Marathon station — the waiting photographers already perfectly positioned — Wilfing comes off the perfect owner.

Anatomy of a Hillary Clinton photo op — the pictures and the reality (LAT)

(images: Elise Amendola/AP.  South Bend, Ind.  May 01, 2008 via YahooNews)

  • mona

    This is an example of how some people would do anything to be around a celebrity. Clinton in the second shot lots like Jack Nicholson in Batman. You couldn’t do this charade in Iraq! Imagine stuck in a gas line with hundreds of voters asking you to explain the mess they’re in. That would be democracy!
    Thank you Michael for every posting and comment, I appreciate that very much.

  • flyingshark

    More importantly… Who paid for the gas?

  • Books Alive

    Not all states require that vehicles display two license plates. Maybe just the “big” ones?

  • laurie9

    I think Wilfing’s eyes are directed to her open shirt/potential cleavage. I wonder if some of these so-called blue collar men are going to vote for a woman.

  • Tom Traubert

    It’s “sleazy” that the truck isn’t Wilfing’s? How so? I don’t get that.
    Remember Graeme Frost’s family and the rabid Malkinite crazies? Malkin and her thugs stalking the family, looking though their windows driving back in forth in front of their house, posting their address on the web? I mean, maybe the guy can’t risk that kind of stalking and vandalism to his real car. I know I couldn’t.
    I think you are reaching for “sleaze” here where it doesn’t exist.
    Et tu, Shaw? God I can’t wait til the election is over.

  • John Lucaites

    Look, there is plenty wrong with Clinton’s position on the gas tax, but here I think you are really over stretching in looking for ways to beat up on her (and really, there are easier ways to do that!). As you say, we know that most of these photos of the candidates are a function of photo ops any way, so there is really very little news here in that regard. And really, so what if it isn’t his truck? Is HE the issue or is what HE REPRESENTS the issue? And if the later, is that representation inaccurate?
    The bigger issue, I think, is that its actually a pretty big vehicle. Maybe not an SUV, but certainly some sort of gas guzzler. And the question is, why is no one — the media, Clinton, The BAG — emphasizing the connection between the high gas prices and the kinds of vehicles we are driving. That’s not the only reason for the oil crisis, of course, but its an important part of it. And in that context it really doesn’t matter who owns the truck; what matters is that Wilfing is representative of a culture that drives such vehicles with a sense of entitlement (and that entitlement has been supported by a government which refuses to make the hard choices in terms of epa regulations and the like). And that is what these pictures show.

  • Joe Librull

    Since I can’t find a contact link I’ll post this here.
    McCain’s age and health are/will be an issue in this campaign. He has had surgery on the left side of his face for skin cancer that left scarring. I’ve noticed that every photo of him that I have seen is taken from a POV that does not show that scar.

  • lofistew

    Just to confirm what Books Alive suggested, Indiana does not issue front bumper plates.

  • flubber

    Why are the only real Americans blue-collar “heartland” men and women? They are a minority, and not even the most “swinging” of swing voters. (Although some of the mid-Western states are definitely in play, I still think the whole Nascar dads demo is overstated in importance and “persuadability”).
    Is it because pandering to them doesn’t alienate the urban and suburban white-collar people, as much as pandering to the urban people alienates the rural blue-collars? Is it because everyone in the country wants to believe they are these kinds of people, even though they are not? What is so romantic about it?
    I grew up in small-town Texas, which fits this “real America” mythology as well as anyplace, and I still don’t see why they get such a heavy emphasis.

  • Sage

    Re Joe Librill: John McCain had malignant melanoma 4 different times. This is a much more invasive and deadly form of cancer than regular old skin cancer which is usually limited to the outer layer of skin cells. Apparently he has been free of additional melanomas since the 2000 surgery on his face. It is my understanding, however, that with Melanoma, one is never really clear of the risk of recurrence. I think he should be required to share his medical record.

  • Sage

    Re the photos: I agree that Wilfing appears to be gazing at the neckline. Hmmmm. I guess he’s pretty serous about this message he and the Candidate are sending us.
    I think Hillary and McCain are on the wrong track with their recommendation to suspend the gas tax for the summer and it amazes me that she keeps touting it with all the negative feedback the recommendation has received. Maybe that is how she operates…just put your head down and keep on pushing your agenda…right or wrong. Sounds like a certain president we are saddled with now.

  • stevelaudig

    She should be pumping her own gas. But she probably doesn’t know how to work the machine. Reminds me of Bush I at the grocery check out counter.

  • Joe Librull

    Are Hillary and McCain co-sponsoring this gas tax holiday bill?

  • Jack K


  • mona

    This is such a great site! Thank you all for pitching in! “flyingshark” you made my day… thank you.

  • g

    I don’t think he’s looking at her neckline – he’s behind her, he can’t see directly into her neckline.
    I think he’s looking at the numbers on the gas pump, maybe.
    The whole thing is a contrived photo-op, but I don’t think there’s anything new about that.
    Like someone else upthread, first thing that struck me when I saw the photo was – hey – what a gas guzzler! I thought – what the heck is Hillary doing talkinga bout gas prices when she’s riding in a big ole gas guzzler?

  • mdhatter

    Maybe he drove a bio-diesel?

  • Books Alive

    I agree with g that Wilfing is looking at the gas pump numbers, that’s a very common thing. Also, the truck was loaned by his boss, as his own wasn’t large enough to meet security standards.
    Lofistew confirms that Indiana requires only a back license plate. Should a similar photo be taken in North Carolina, there may be no front plates, as they weren’t needed when we moved there in 1979. Not sure what’s the law today.

  • lytom

    Wilfing has not even placed the gas pump end into the car’s tank opening, thus he is looking at the digital message that will show up… actually at what price is he going to pump up and when it is actually ready to start…that takes time.

  • Stella

    I’m disappointed they didn’t end up at a CITGO station. Now that would be an inspiring photo.

  • charlie

    follow his eyes – he’s looking behind her at the gas counter/price thing.

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