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November 9, 2010

Your Turn: The Boehner-Obama Bump

illustration: Barry Blitt

Maybe I’m having trouble with this because it feels a lot like Barry Blitt’s “do over” for this. Given the ambiguity, I’m interested in how you’re reading this.  (And, here’s my personal invitation to all you loyal lurkers to also join in.)

  • Bugboy

    “Maybe I’m having trouble with this because it feels a lot like Barry Blitt’s “do over””

    Looks that way to me too…like what happens when you tell the same joke twice, it’s not funny the second time.

  • Enoch Root

    Rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock.

    I’ll let you figure out who’s the lizard and who’s Spock.

    Also: That’s not Boehner. Not orange enough.

    • Books Alive

      Agree. Boehner’s skin tone is orange, not pink. I would not expect to see his downward gaze. Not confrontational enough.

  • dissector

    an open hand offered to shake met with a quick right cross and a wink?

  • Steven Schultz

    I can’t tell what the hell is going on in the illustration. My first thoughts were:

    1. Boehner arrived from the country club so drunk that he’s trying to pour Obama a drink?
    2. Boehner is doing the “jerk-off” motion in response to Obama’s misguided effort at civility?
    3. Boehner is showing Obama his “Bob-Dole’s-paralyzed-hand” imitation?

    One thing is for sure, definitely way more orange is needed in that face for it to be a proper caricature of Boehner. Maybe some crocodile tears would help, too. I can’t wait for the Photoshopped versions of this image to appear!

  • boomerangst

    OK. I’ll give it a try:

    Boehner’s trying to fist bump Obama, smirking “I’ll give you a fist bump, you jack-a@@. You’re finished.”
    Obama’s thinking “Just shake my hand, you a@@hole. You’re finished.”

    Actually, it’s the daily game of rock, paper, scissors and the lizard put up a rock and lost to Spock who put up paper.

  • Vvoter

    The illustration runs against conventional thinking re animosity between GOP House + BO administration. Has Boehner really reached out to Obama?

    Perhaps the image makes the viewer privy to the quasi-populist tea party perspective: “Even though Republicans, thanks to us, won the House, soon as Boehner gets to Washington, it’s still the same, good ol’ boys club. They might not all be best buds, but it’s still all about them, not us.”

  • Stella

    Our President, the supplicant. What – did he shine the man’s shoes?
    I guess the New Yorker cover is traditionally disrespectful. That’s why I have never bought the magazine.

  • Bugboy

    What Stella said.

  • Crazy Billionaire

    Boehner’s saying “Sweet, I’m in the swept-into-office-on-a-mandate-of-change club now! This is the secret handshake, right?” Obama’s doesn’t quite see it that way.

  • acm

    definitely references the other cover, but not the same joke at all — here the joke is at the expense of Boehner, who looks awkward and yet arrogant (in that W sort of combination) in offering a jaunty fist-bump to the black guy, while Obama has only a chilly handshake to offer the new Speaker…

  • Megan

    The more I look at this, the more I like it.

    The two things it conveys about Rep. Boehner are:

    1. that he has mis-read Pres. Obama, presuming that Pres. Obama’s blackness gives a better guide for greeting than the mainstream way to greet a respected politician.

    2. that Rep. Boehner is not doing this for the sake of a good connection between him and Pres. Obama. If that were his intention, he’d be looking at the President. Instead, he is looking out of the scene at the audience, who are the real people he is hoping to connect with and triangulate against the President.

    We don’t know if those things are true, but they are definitely one of the common readings of Rep. Boehner’s intentions. This cartoon captures that admirably.

    • acm

      I agree with (1) but think that he’s not really looking out at the audience — rather he’s admiring his own prepared fist. Perfect for the self-congratulatory take on this election (he doesn’t really even *need* obama’s handshake).

  • cmac

    Boehner’s taking the keys back. Obama’s mad because, although he’s installed a lock on the gas tank which will keep Boehner grounded, Obama’s going to have to walk anywhere he wants to go…

  • Nina

    Obama is standing like a servant waiting for instructions. Boehner is imagining the democratic party in his fist, “I’ve got them right where I want them,” and this makes him smile.

    Or he’s thinking of how much to tip Obama for the landslide.

  • Michael Shaw

    Picking up on Stella and Nina’s comments, I like this interpretation, even if it’s not what Blitt was intending. It looks enough like Boehner dropping something into Obama’s open hand (as opposed to Obama attempting to shake hands) that it brings up all types of connotations, particularly — given Boehner’s love of golf and the old guard GOP’s ties to the country club, and the white corporate establishment — that they see Obama as a servant/shoe shine boy.

    • acm

      ooh! valet! they’ve got the keys to the car back after all, but they welcome Obama into the role of parking it for them between uses… spectacular!

      now I want to know what Blitt actually thought he was showing…

  • Thomas

    Maybe I’m out of step with everyone else, but I thought it was a very clever cover and had more to do with transposing Obama’s famous statement about diplomacy “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist” to the partisan/bi-partisan dynamic in Washington.

    If I were to find fault with the cover it would be with the facial expressions, Obama looks perturbed while Boehner looks mischievous and gleeful. A more accurate cartoon would have Boehner looking unreasonably stubborn and Obama look reasonable (and maybe a bit weak for being too willing to compromise without getting anything in return).

    • Michael Shaw

      Yes, I agree about the facial expressions. I think Blitt wanted it to read the way acm lays it out, but it doesn’t get there. If Obama was smiling, or wasn’t exuding hostility, then Boehner’s false offer, and attempt at cool would make sense and create real parody. Instead, however, Blitt makes Obama look like a fool for trying to reach out (which not only lets Boehner “off the hook” but leaves the fist bump, as an act of racial patronization, to hang out there in an ambiguous and confusing way).

  • Sergei Andropov

    Boehner: Heya, buddy! Gee, I sure hope you didn’t take all that stuff my cronies and I said about you during the campaign seriously! They’re not even really my cronies; cronies are all that’s left of my party and they happened to chose me as their leader. I don’t even know most of them. Anyway, since the voters just clearly said that they want the economy to be fixed before the next election or else they’ll throw out the party in power, and you and your estimable colleagues in the Senate control two thirds of the legislative process, would you terribly mind fixing the economy for us?

    Obama: Fix it yourself, @sshat.

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