Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
June 3, 2012

Scott Walker: Cherry Picking Obama

Walker Quad Graphics Workers

No matter that Walker has out-fundraised his opponent by 10-1 with huge PAC dollars flowing in from across state lines. With the economy snagging and Wall Street flagging, this energetic photo steps into the breech right now to not only postulate a Walker win but to suppose such a scene as a national bell weather.

Echoing the sentiment’s of many, Modo’s crestfallen column this weekend not just hits Obama for failure of nerve (and failure of narrative) but also strikes him in the jugular for failure to deliver on his potential to ignite real excitement and sense of hope in the public.

Scott Walker is not a charismatic figure by a long shot. (If you look more carefully, you’ll see that the workers aren’t necessarily that imbued, either, and the pregnant women, otherwise a symbolic prompt for political rebirth and renewal, looks tired on her feet.) What is significant, however, is how much the photo-op riffs on that old Obama magic.

Of course, it’s not a photo Romney could pull off, the presumptive nominee hardly the counterweight to a building. But the point is (right now at least) that the Obama narrative is ripe to be messed with by a monotone guy (best known for his war with state employees) daring to stand in front of workers, look skyward, and imagine himself the pied piper.

(photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images caption: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker speaks to workers at Quad Graphics during a campaign stop on June 1, 2012 in Sussex, Wisconsin. Walker will face Democratic contender Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in a recall election on June 5. Opponents of Walker forced the recall after the governor pushed to change the collective bargaining process for public employees in the state.)

  • BooksAlive

    Having watched snippets of the Tom Barrett-Scott Walker debates on C-Span, Walker strikes me as the more engaging and vibrant of the two. Gotta have some reason to attract voters.

  • jonst

    yeah, I think Obama got close to Wisconsin recently. Couldn’t find time to get there in person. 

  • black_dog_barking

    Looks like a church service or a funeral. Why are everyone’s hands crossed? Doesn’t look like a very happy place. Class warfare is serious business.

  • bks

    If the world is willing to buy U.S. Treasuries at < 1% interest, it's time to borrow that money and start a new WPA and CCC, putting people to work (healthy, strenuous work, I might add) rebuilding the infrastructure of the USA.  That will pay off huge benefits for the next hundred years.

    Old Chinese saying:  When business is bad, paint the counter.

    But Obama is a creature of Wall Street, not Main Street.  A Rockefeller Republican.


  • Enoch Root

    This does not echo Obama to me at all. Obama would not avoid eye contact. The caption says this, “Walker speaks to workers at Quad Graphics during a campaign stop,” but it is incorrect. It should read ‘Walker speaks to a spot on the ceiling of a factory during a campaign stop.’

    This image does convey the notion that Walker is not in touch with these workers. In fact, we know the subtext: He hopes to make sure these workers are not able to join, much less form a union.

    • Shirley

       Exactly. My immediate question, upon seeing this photo, was, “What the heck are they all looking at?” Yes, most of the crowd appears to be looking at Walker, though hardly with any obvious sense of awe or enchantment. But what is HE looking at? He’s not speaking to the crowd, apparently, but narrating something in the direction of no one while looking at … what, a video presentation? slide show? Who knows? This is far, far, far, from the fawning, almost worshipful images we’ve seen of so many Obama speeches.

  • boomerangst

    The term is “bellwether” not “bell weather.”

Refresh Archives

Random Notes