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November 1, 2010

Final Optics of Campaign 2010

File this under the category of: “If you had told me two years ago…”

Here’s the NYT photo composition leading today’s election eve front page. After all the drama and battling, the mid-terms boiled down to a mano-a-mano contest between Obama and Boehner, Obama defending his own neighborhood while Boehner, coming off like a boy scout, campaigns in Ohio.

As always, I’m interest in how you’re reading this.

(photos: Doug Mills/New York Times; Jeff Swensen for the New York Times. caption: PULLING OUT THE STOPS President Obama, at a diner in Chicago, and Representative John A. Boehner, the House Republican leader, at a campaign event for a Congressional race in Hanoverton, Ohio. Mr. Obama also visited Ohio, Mr. Boehner’s home state.)

  • quincyscott

    A. I have never seen Boehner smile. It looks like it pains him in this photo.

    B. Something about a brown-shirted uniform and a raised hand salute seems really familiar. But I’m probably a bit biased.

    • jonst

      I fear you will soon see him smiling a lot. Especially if enough people try to mistake their opponents on the Right for Nazis.

  • gmoke

    Boy Scout looks away caught in mid-clap, Boehner’s smile shows no teeth, and white crewcut with a tight mouth could be looking at either Boehner or the Scout. Background indistinct. autumn leaves?

    Two cameras on Obama and the woman beaming, posing, hands clasped and divided by the necktie on the background guy. Obama holds money in his other hand, showing what seems to be a twenty. Necktie guy’s hand and wristwatch match Obama’s hand. Necktie guy and four other partial faces all look directly at the camera. Paintings in the background a black man standing guard. He and the back of one bald head are the only people not directly looking into the camera.

    Republican picture is scattered. Obama picture is focused. Neither of the is looking directly at the viewer.

  • matt

    what strange framing of this moment.

    obama – inside, under fluorescent light, celebrity posing for photo, fake cityscape background, “taking a bribe” (see the cash in his hand?), chicago “mobster” (running for his senate seat) at his side, uncomfortable handshake over the counter, is she even a legal citizen?

    boehner – yes, boy scout, outdoors, in “real” america, how america “used to be”, what happened to his orange glow?

  • DennisQ

    Boehner has reason to worry because as Speaker of the House he’ll take the blame when nothing gets done. And nothing will get done because Republicans are bringing nothing to the table except more no. You can’t build a resume without positive accomplishments.

    Republicans are pledging to restore – what? fiscal discipline? There’s plenty of fiscal discipline; in fact, too much of it. Economic recovery won’t happen until somebody starts spending money. My favorite Republican empty promise is their pledge to restore Constitutional government. What does that mean? It sounds like a pledge for bluer skies and greener grass. The only advantage to pledges like this is that they are testable. A year from now, yup, the sky will be blue and the grass will be green.

    Boehner also has to worry about a schism within Republican ranks. Dissatisfied with an absence of progress in quote-unquote restoring America, the extreme right will push for radical changes, like undoing the New Deal. Election 2012 may see three-party races like this year’s Alaska Senate race. Miller seems to have shot the Republicans in the foot, but Murkowski is doing some shooting of her own.

    The party that gave us George Bush doesn’t have much to brag about. That’s why they’re so bashful about providing specific details.

    • jonst

      Dennis, completely disagree with you. Boehner will not care if ‘nothing gets done’. In fact he will be happy about it. As soon as this election is over, and the new Congress is seated, ‘they’ will start with the ‘you have to finish the job’ i.e give us the Presidency, and Senate, in March of next year. And run that lament till election day 2012.

  • Eric Hadley-Ives

    I’m wondering what a Scout in uniform was doing at a political rally. Here in Springfield, Illinois, we don’t even wear our uniforms when we’re cleaning up streets because the Operation Clean Streets program is considered potentially political. Sure, we wear our uniforms when we carry an American flag in the Labor Day Parade or in any other parade, but I think both the mainstream parties have people at the Labor Day Parade. When Obama announced his campaign here in Springfield I know there were many Boy Scouts at the event, but we were not in uniform. The Boy Scouting movement is supposed to be strictly non-political, and I’m just scratching my head and wondering how this image was taken and used by the NYT.

  • Ken Meyering

    On this election day, I would like to invite everybody here to participate in an online poll. To simplify, the question is whether you would support a global debt forgiveness, sovereign and commercial, in order to level the playing field, wipe the slate clean, and get a fresh start with a new nonprofit banking system which would be directly owned and democratically controlled by the citizens, one person, one nontransferable voting share.

    Vote, spread the word, and watch the results.

  • Adam

    Top photo feels more of the moment. Post-modern photo of photograph being taken, digital viewfinder screen adding an additional layer.

    Bottom photo feels like its grasping for nostalgia, with the boy scout and crew cut.

    Both seem to be playing for their bases. Not sure either works.

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