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June 13, 2010

Oil Blowout: Obama’s 1000 Mile Stare

Official White House Photo  by Pete Souza
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

If the Administration has been quick to contest the significance of appearing aggressive when it comes to the oil crisis, it is indisputable that Obama — even through the White White lens — has come off looking passive and distant.

Tomorrow, the BAG takes a closer look at the White House’s crisis-related visual PR  over the month of June.  In the meantime, though, I wanted to offer you this White House “photo of the day” from June 1st offering Obama listening to his energy and climate change assistant.

Beyond Carol Browner’s blurry presence –  reflective, perhaps, of the blurriness of the tone and message emanating from Pennsylvania Avenue — what is most concerning, and what the public and the media seem to have picked up on much more than the White House has, is that 1000 mile stare.

(caption: President Barack Obama listens to Carol Browner, assistant to the President for energy and climate change, during a meeting with senior advisors in the Oval Office, June 3, 2010.)

  • Thirdeye Pushpin

    The situation in the Gulf requires confrontation, a direct intervention. I think Obama is challenged by this…It is not in his nature. His serenity becomes passivity, calls for calm become cowardice. It is an unprecedented catastrophe, a slow motion 9-11. We want confidence and leadership and accountability…and to do so would require looking at our oil-addicted society. I see his look as the temerity of making a leap into the unknown, knowing he will be attacked regardless of choice.

  • marc sobel

    I immediately thought of W’s deer in the headlights look when I saw your commentary.

  • cmac

    But I see that 1000-mile stare frequently, as my rocket-scientist-husband-turned-home-renovator regards some problem, analyzes it, and decides how best to approach it.

    Why do people expect some sort of expression other than a 1000-mile stare from a person considering a difficult situation? Let the man work.

  • yg

    two impressions:

    the reason he hasn’t connect on this issue (seeming detached and distant) is because he isn’t being true to himself. he’s decided that political calculations override emotional reaction or instinct.

    i had another thought after listening to thom hartmann. he pointed out the well casings are damaged. that being the case makes it harder to control the well. an uncontrollable oil well without the ability to inject liquids back in order to equalize the pressure to balance the escaping oil could result in a sinkhole and collapse of that part of the ocean floor. the expression on obama’s face could mean he knows that things are worse than the public realizes and he’s not leveling with us.

  • Molly

    I think he looks sorrowful, both at the situation and knowing how limited his office actually is thanks to regulation. Our laws are limp and passive – just the way the corporate friendly politicos have made it.

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