Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
January 23, 2009

The Anti-Palin?


Representative Kirsten Gillibrand, a first-term Democrat from the Albany region, gave birth on Thursday to a healthy baby boy, her office said. She is the sixth woman to have a child while a member of Congress. … The congresswoman continued to work until the day before the birth, voting on Wednesday for the farm bill. – Son Born to New York Congresswoman. (May 16, 2008 – NYT).

Liberal Democrats have been wary of her because she ran for re-election with the backing of the National Rifle Association, opposed the federal TARP program to rescue banks, and has been less than enthusiastic about gay marriage. DAVE PICKS GILLIBRAND AS LIBERAL DEMS HOWL.  NYPost

Is part of the power of the Gillibrand Senate appointment the way the Blue Dog (in other words, “maverick”) Congresswoman usurps the symbolism of the (lightweight, but highly-spun) Republican phenom?

Besides little Henry here (mother and baby in pure white, the wedding ring prominently displayed), we have the family portrait, all that honey, and the feeling of country fair. (I also like this one, and this from today’s NYT slideshow.)

(h/t: AC)

(image: unattributed. From NYT slideshow: Paterson’s Senate Choice)

  • Saleema

    What a sweet family. Even though this particular picture is stage managed the people in it seem genuine as opposed to the Palin family, who more than often not looked like props, all to help a particular image of Sara Palin.
    This woman looks real. She looks like she just recently gave birth.
    Palin’s photos, right after birth of her youngest, showed a fit and trim woman–like all the celebrities who manage to look so good a day after having the baby, while the rest of us wonder how do they do that!
    How ironic that this family seems to represent small-town values in a big city, something that Palin tried to pull off but couldn’t.
    But then again, being the governor of Alaska probably doesn’t keep you as busy as being a congresswoman or senator from New York. I guess Palin has all the time to work on her bod and keep up the small town appearance.
    It’s nice to see a woman be smart, sexy and successful. But Palin killed it by being so fake and aggressive. I guess you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

  • Mona

    I agree. There is a sweetness to this picture. The older son is the spitting image of his dad. It is a very sweet photo – managed and all.

  • Julia Grey

    You know, it kind of annoys me how much they push the “Super Birther” ideal these days.
    “The congresswoman worked right up until the day before she dropped the kid” and, in accordance with the new rules governing women in politics, will be expected to go back to work within days.
    Family values my patootie.

  • yg

    “Remember, as far as anyone knows, we’re a nice normal family.” – homer simpson
    they’re trying too hard to create that effect.

  • Jody

    But the baby in the photo is not the newborn. Looks about six months old.

  • Candyce

    Sarah Palin rarely seemed to hold her own baby, and when she was holding him, he was often slung over her forearm, facing away from his mother. This staged photo at least portrays family love and pride. That was not evident in Palin photos, where Sarah was always the dominant figure, and the children took a sad role in the background, with forced waves and smiles.

  • Chris

    Why do Democrats seem to have to pander to conservatives, but not the other way around? In other words, why was it polically necessary to appoint a Blue Dog, pro-NRA Democrat when, if the shoe were on the GOP foot, it would be laughable to expect a GOP governor to appoint a pro-choice, anti-gun Republican to the seat? More broadly, why are there such creatures as ‘conservative Democrats’, but the idea of a ‘liberal Republican’ is an oxymoron on its face?

  • richard dent

    There used to be “Rockefeller” Republicans and “Conservative” Democrats. It was actually a better, more cooperative system. This pick is an experienced politician with drive, smarts and life experience. OK not perfect, but I don’t see a big cause for alarm.

  • Riggsveda

    Speaking as a female with a (now grown) child, I have to say that this whole idea of trotting out reproducing women for political effect makes me want to retch, and adding an element of macho to it (she worked while pregnant right up to the day she gave birth and the assembly gave her a standing ovation for it) lets the male element get its war on in an arena where they shouldn’t even have a voice. Now we’re supposed to engage in a contest to see who can last the longest before giving into our fragile anatomy-is-destiny inevitability? And that’s going to make the winner more fit to lead? Frankly, giving birth may be a daily-renewing miracle of life, but it’s also common as dirt and women of all kinds do it across the globe regularly without getting bullshit kudos for it.
    The real question is simply, what does she stand for? She stands for a weapon in every pot, and many of those weapons will kill the babies we make such a fetish of. Nice work, Patterson.

  • creditking

    definitely anti-Wasilla Warrior with the soft lighting, images centered against what looks like a small retail store display of jars of honey. Reference back Saleema’s comment about the sweetness of the picture. Almost smell the fresh baked bread, yes?

  • cenoxo


    Very nice Democratic family portraits, both of them. If only the poor Republicans and Independents were lucky enough to have such photogenetics, we’d have a much harder time in the voting booth.
    Unfortunately, you can’t judge any marriage, political or pedestrian, by how it poses in front of the camera. Remember that Camelot I’s union probably wasn’t as magical as America wanted to see it:
    A century earlier, things also didn’t play out so well for the first Lincoln family.
    If the left-leaning Obamas don’t pursue a second term, perhaps the right-leaning Gillibrands can swiftly assume the throne. One of these days we won’t need to distinguish Democrats from the Republicans, and we can just vote the Centrist Party line.

  • Hamster

    I love the fact that she has a diaper/burp cloth slung over her shoulder. As the mother of two, I can say that that is a very authentic touch. (You never know when the little one is going to urp all over.) And the baby is definitely not 6 months old. Look at those tiny hands and legs. It’s two months, tops, I’d say.

Refresh Archives

Random Notes