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March 8, 2009

The Gap


Gridlock over the spending bill. More economic erosion. Rushmania.

In light of all that noise last week, here’s the image WAPO picked to represent the White House healthcare forum on Thursday. Reinforcing Obama’s push for bipartisanship, these Dem and GOP House leaders are front row and making eye contact. At the same time, however, the photo emphasizes the gap between them, not to mention Hoyer’s weary expression and Cantor’s strained neck. (And then, adding pathos to the scene is Congressman Dingell looking askance and a bit freaked out.

Even the White House slide show on the health care forum seemed a little distant, by the way, playing with backgrounds and spending two pics on the presence of Teddy Kennedy. Given the White House emphasis on bipartisanship, dialogue and interactivity in these forums, it’s also curious the person shown reporting to Obama in the feedback session after the break-out meetings is represented as a shadow.

With the country in a bad way, a sense of momentum, cooperation and confidence from Washington (even short of the real thing) is vital. Lose that and those crutches become the most salient element in the political picture.

WAPO Day in Pictures (March 6, 2009)

(image: Chip Somodevilla-Getty Images. March 6: House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer, left, talks to House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor before the closing session of the White House’s forum on health care reform in the East Room of the White House)

  • angellight

    In Pres. Obama’s Weekly Address last Saturday was a declaration of war against the special interests when he stated:
    “I realize that passing this budget won’t be easy. Because it represents real and dramatic change, it also represents a threat to the status quo in Washington. I know that the insurance industry won’t like the idea that they’ll have to bid competitively to continue offering Medicare coverage, but that’s how we’ll help preserve and protect Medicare and lower health care costs for American families. I know that banks and big student lenders won’t like the idea that we’re ending their huge taxpayer subsidies, but that’s how we’ll save taxpayers nearly $50 billion and make college more affordable. I know that oil and gas companies won’t like us ending nearly $30 billion in tax breaks, but that’s how we’ll help fund a renewable energy economy that will create new jobs and new industries. In other words, I know these steps won’t sit well with the special interests and lobbyists who are invested in the old way of doing business, and I know they’re gearing up for a fight as we speak. My message to them is this: So am I.”

  • jackypappas
  • jackypappas

    Also, I love the fact that a pair of crutches is visible underneath the seats.


    The crutch is indeed very symbolic. It’s sort of like everyone knows its there, but no one wants to notice it. To me, it represents not only the crippled state of our health care system, but also the repeated reliance on temporary fixes.

  • cenoxo

    A pause during a golden game of musical chairs — in a hobbled economy — with suits checking their watches, waiting to begin the song and dance again. When the music finally stops, who ends up paying the Piper?
    The worried-looking gentleman (frame right) looks like he knows.

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