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May 31, 2010

Obama’s “Crude Awakening”

A cozy relationship between the government and the oil-and-gas industry, especially at the Minerals Management Service.  Obama tossing all kinds of carrots to the industry in his drilling proposal.  And, a governmental response to the oil spill that has been slow moving and submissive to industry, and BP.

It’s certainly not too late, but the wonky, pervasively tactical, and profoundly deliberate Obama is up against a tangible, highly-visible, publicly distressing, tenacious and unabating crisis that cannot be defeated or buried so much as it has to be shaped and managed.

There are all kinds of metaphors that apply to this cover.  The one that jumps out at me is: an eclipse.

  • Lenox

    It’s a powerful front page picture from Newsweek. Unfortunately, you have a ‘Google-ad’ to the left from the right-wing Newsmax group with a picture of Obama and a tag ‘BP Spill? Blama Obama! Vote now…’.

  • bks

    Get John Yoo to write the justification and nationalize BP. Now.


  • bystander

    … smothered … overrun … buried at sea

  • Megan

    Huh. To my eye, the tendrils of oil are making a run at the claw with the arrows. Oil threatens our warmaking capacity more than it threatens our greenery (in the other claw)? I wouldn’t have thought, but that’s intriguing. The other thing the oil is submerging is the “United” part of the United States. The states are still clear, but the feds are going under? The “president” just barely has the chance to keep himself mostly clear.

    A very strong image from Newsweek. Props to them.

  • Megan

    Also, in this image the problem with the oil comes from the top (although in real life, actual oil is spurting up from the bottom).

  • Michael Shaw


    I always enjoy your close readings of every image — it’s the essence of BN. How about how the oil has split off the eagle’s “left wing?”

  • Megan

    Totally missed that. Although, I have to say, I’ve never known whether to use the straight-on or the reversed view when I look at figures. So I don’t know whether to call that the right (viewer’s right) or left (eagle’s left) wing. Is there a design or art interpretation standard for that?

  • yg

    what i didn’t like about it was the suggestion that obama was hit with the oil smear haphazardly as a victim of circumstance when most of the damage to the administration has been self-inflicted.

    that then made me think of the argument that oil is the blood of empire.

    another photo that suggests the oil/blood metaphor.

  • bill

    Call me an undying optimist, but it looks like chocolate covering the Presidency to me…I see a typical Obama move: go slow, let the opponents spin up and say a million foolish things, and then use their words against them after emotions cool. The way I read a lot of Republicans, Obama needs to nationalize BP–NOW. Of course they mean the Republican brand of socialism…privatize profits but nationalize loss. Still, I can’t help but think their words will come back to haunt them fairly soon. The public is certainly getting in the mood for more government control of oil–and many Republicans seem to be making the case for Obama!

  • Vigilante

    Good comment, Lenox! You da’ man!

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