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November 8, 2008

Only One President At A Time (Heh, Heh)

cabinet meeting.jpg

It’s simply a brilliant shot, visually indistinguishable from a first cabinet meeting a mere three days into the transition.

(Of course, making Obama look presidential has been a driving focus of the PR team all along, achieved in equal significance here.)

The critics might call it presumption, but the difference between Bush spin and Obama spin couldn’t be more different. In Bush’s case, he has relied on the backgrounds and symbols of the office to lend him the appearance of substance. With Obama, on the other hand, it’s his own substance which allows him to borrow the trappings and still create a natural fit.

Bush’s Sub-Prime Moment (BNN)

(image: Stan Honda – AFP/Getty. Chicago. November 8, 2008)

  • Annie

    It looks like the embodiment of Establishment competence circa 1980 – token woman, token racial minority and the rest traditional “captains of industry” looking, blue blazered silver haired white men.
    It screams Eisenhower Republican – there is nothing progressive about the image and visual messaging.
    Caveat: I am probably the lone curmudgeon who is underwhelmed with an Obama win.
    My take is the enthusiasm for Obama is in large part great relief that the smartest, most reasonable and best critical thinker won, instead of Bush III and the bring-on-the-rapture mentally ill theocrats.
    But when the veneer wears thin, I think that we’ll find a moderate Republican under all of the shiny newness, and that’s depressing to me, a fully disenfranchized third class American. (Corporate oligarch, middle class struggler and fully impoverished with no opportunities being the three classes)

  • Books Alive

    I was home in time to watch the press conference that followed this meeting. Cable commentators were straining to identify the names, and eventually, faces of those attending. In any case, they marveled at the wide range of backgrounds they represent. When the group walked into the press conference, the men’s ties, mostly solid blue or red, formed a sort of ripple or wave. In the photo above, there are four of the blue representatives, along with blue and white place cards.
    Let’s compliment the glass water pitchers and goblets, not plastic bottles as sometimes seen, even at very high-level meetings.

  • Books Alive

    Annie, if it helps, in addition to Gov. Jennifer Granholm, shown in the photo, two other women were/are members of Obama’s advisory group of 19: Anne M. Mulcahy, Chairman and CEO of Xerox Corp. and Prof Laura D. Tyson, of the U of California Berkeley business school.
    Several of Obama’s closest advisors during the campaign have been women as well. Penny Pritzker, of the Hyatt hotels family, national finance chair; Valerie Garrett, advisor to Chicago politicians such as Mayor Daley; and Susan Rice, senior foreign policy expert.

  • Books Alive

    Correction: Valerie Jarrett

  • BlakeIncarnate

    Yeah, great picture. “How to Build Rome in One Day.” I watched the news conference too. It did NOT send chills up my spine either. Is there a way for smart people to work and communicate without all this public kabuki dancing?

  • Duros62

    (Of course, making Obama look presidential has been a driving focus of the PR team all along, achieved in equal significance here.)
    What, like it’s hard?

  • richard dent

    Obama is in re-assurance mode right now, and showcasing familiar faces. I think as he puts his team together, especially the sub-cabinet level, you will see a lot of Black appointments. There are a lot of well qualified Blacks who have not had a fair shake from Bush (unless ultra-conservative) and Obama knows them. And he will certainly tap women and other minorities.

  • jtfromBC

    Can someone explain to me why these high flyer’s have name cards,
    surely there can be few strangers in this group ?
    I like the rooms motley and musty decor especially that antique clock.
    Old Glory appears to have absorbed a lot of cigar smoke and requires airing out.
    Is that black object on the table a telephone or a Dictaphone ?
    In short its a crowded, cosy and congenial looking bunch.
    Thanks Annie for expressing some of my other observations and concerns.

  • Sergei Andropov

    I’m not sure I would call the president-elect a “token”.

  • Cactus

    It is virtually indistinguishable from all those group shots of the W and his cabinet except for one thing. Or rather one person. It is possible to look into the face of the president (elect) and see a man of intelligence and engagement in the conversation around him.
    But yes, most progressives will find him more conservative than they’d hoped. I think the appointment of Emanuel is a good clue, a DLC operative who was instrumental in fighting Dean to get more ‘blue-dog dems’ elected in ‘06. The same blue-dogs who frustrated Pelosi in getting some of her agenda through.

  • peter

    So we’ve got xerox, google, paul “volcker shock” volcker with obama in a room? Whats new about that? The fact that there are different corporate elites chilling advising the president?
    Bag, please don’t tell me youre getting less interesting and critical after the win….

  • Black Jack Shellac

    The most remarkable thing about this image is that these people are smiling, unlike similar images form the past 8 years of republican neo-fascism with the likes of Cheney, et. al. at the helm.

  • Spencer

    Is it my imagination, or are the deepest black tones a little extra-black? Like the dark of the suits, and the shadow on the chair. It reminds me of a film processing technique used in certain movies to do just that: make the darkest range of values almost totally black. The only one of these movies I can think of is “Se7en”, but I know there have been others in recent years.
    There’s an underlying tone of epic importance to this image, a sense of gravitas, and I think it has something to do with these tonalities, which might have been tweaked to be this way.
    And no, I’m not suggesting the “extra-blackness” is a commentary on the president-elect’s race :)

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