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September 3, 2008

The Likes We Haven’t Seen Since Terri Schiavo

Levi Mccain

Mccain Palin Airport

After a week of images of the Palin/McCain soap opera, the ante rose even higher today at the airport.  Attempting to turn a negative into a (family values) positive, check out McCain greeting husband- and father-to-be, Levi Johnson.

And then, notice the way the NYT photographer lined up the angle in the second shot above (from a diptych at The Caucus) making it look like McCain — otherwise moving to hug Bristol Palin — is reaching out to embrace her tummy!

As uncomfortable and inappropriate as it feels, the drama surrounding the Palin family — especially on the visual plane — has become very much a political issue. That’s also Josh Marshall’s reaction as the GOP proper, as well as the Christian Conservative wing of the Republican Party (which the Republican Convention has turned into a pander-fest to) moves to play Sarah Palin and her family — with all the symbolism and loading of motherhood, and the nuclear family, and the right-to-life, and the sanctity of marriage, and (the appropriation of) feminism — for all its worth.

Personally, I couldn’t be more frustrated and sorry that the McCain campaign — sinking that much further below the level of moral and intellectual poverty it has been operating on for months, and now nominating the unqualified and politically and culturally extreme Sarah Palin — has set the stage for a Presidential campaign drama and culture war the likes we haven’t seen since Terri Schiavo.  As the McCain campaign exploits the Palin pick through visual symbolism, however, the last thing we can do is close our eyes.

(Edited for readability 9:10 pm PST)

(image: Reuters.  caption:  Levi Johnston (L) is greeted by U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain (R) as Johnston’s girlfriend Bristol Palin (C) looks on after McCain arrived to attend the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota September 3, 2008. Bristol Palin is the daughter of U.S. Republican vice-presidential candidate and Gov. of Alaska Sarah Palin. The campaign has announced that Bristol is five months pregnant and plans to marry Johnston. image 2: Stephen Crowley, NYT)

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