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October 27, 2009

Politico's Wedge Shot


A four-hour stop in New Orleans, on his way to a $3 million fundraiser. Snubbing the Dalai Lama. Signing off on a secret deal with drug makers. Freezing out a TV network. Doing more fundraisers than the last president. More golf, too.

President Barack Obama has done all of those things — and more. What’s remarkable is what hasn’t happened. These episodes haven’t become metaphors for Obama’s personal and political character — or consuming controversies that sidetracked the rest of his agenda.

It’s a sign that the media’s echo chamber can be a funny thing, prone to the vagaries of news judgment, and an illustration that, in politics, context is everything. — from: What if George W. Bush had done that? (Gerstein/Politico)

So, Politico places these two photos side-by-side and complains of a double-standard? These “episodes” haven’t become metaphors for Obama’s personality, however, because character is the context.

So, what do we see above, given the difference?

The photo on the left reinforces the fact that Bush, essentially a clever and opportunistic ne’er-do-well who elevated himself into the stratosphere by way of family connections was a charter member and complete tool of the country club set.

In Obama’s case, the golf photo ops — and the White House can’t seem to do enough of them (1, 2, 3) — serve several functions. For one, they reassure the country club that a black man and a liberal “is good people.” And the pics project confidence and calm at a time of extreme financial crisis, two foreign wars, et cetera — especially important, by the way, for a young President and one without a long-established identity in the political arena or on the public stage.

…Oh, and the layout? The orientation of those pictures isn’t putting Obama “down?”

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