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November 14, 2013

Remember When Obama Was the Guy Who Best Knew How to Get There?

Obama Auto Taskforce.jpg

I was taken by the appearance of the Obama Auto Task Force (standing behind the President as he discusses the Chrysler bankruptcy), the members looking clearly outside their comfort zone. (I appreciate the Truman touch, by the way, although the painting seems to only heighten the look of anxiety amongst the team.)

Not knowing Chrysler’s fate until the night before, the team members seemed to appear before the press without their game faces on. (Geithner, in particular, casts a look to Obama like he hopes he knows what he is doing.) What the photo reveals, then, perhaps more clearly than any other so far, is the strength of Obama’s leadership — especially, in-house — in the face of multiple tremendous challenges.

– from: Rising And Falling With Detroit (BagNewsNotes – April 30, 2009)

Obama Sebelius White House photo

President Barack Obama, with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, participates in a meeting on the Affordable Care Act in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.

– from White House photo caption (July 23, 2013)

Once again, Barack Obama risks looking like a bystander to his own presidency.

– from: President Obama’s passive voice (Politico – October 22, 2013)

(photo 1: Greg Gibson/Associated Press. caption U.S. President Barack Obama (C) speaks about Chrysler and the auto industry, as he stands with his auto task force at the White House in Washington April 30, 2009. Obama confirmed on Thursday that auto maker Chrysler LLC would go into Chapter 11 bankruptcy and enter a deal with Italy’s Fiat to survive. photo 2: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.)

  • black_dog_barking

    The roll out of a big (for you) project invariably presents some huge problems, moments to sit and truly ponder on your whys for ever getting involved in the project in the first place; moments to seriously consider your plan B (you have one don’t you?). It’s a part of the process.

    The ACA roll out brings into the light a project started by this White House five years ago. The inevitable shock waves that accompany these events are making themselves felt. That is not a bystander’s look. It is the look of someone caught square in the path of this oncoming shock wave. Compare contrast with the pictures that used to come from the White House when the shit hit the fan.

    Remember Heckuva Job Brownie?

  • bystander

    C’mon, Michael. Help us out a bit more here. That second photo is stunning by itself. The same body language in all three people… that hand to mouth gesture (Look! Each person has their own interpretation of it!) has to mean something to a clinical psychologist, doesn’t it? If a cold (runny nose / watery eyes) can be a proxy for tears (Right?), then what does this hand+mouth gesture signify? It prompts me to recall HR Clinton’s hand to mouth gesture in that photo of the “team” in the situation room for the OBL raid.

    The BagNewsNotes discussion of that photo is here:

    I’m not sure the question “14All” asked (and you responded to) doesn’t apply in some ways to that 2nd photo above, as well.

    • Michael Shaw

      Just presentin’, not shrinkin’. Though the title was conceived as a double meaning.

  • Ian

    What I “see” in the top photo: religiosity. Obama as preacher, looking up to his teleprompter for divine scripture. The folks behind him look like their being chastised. Obama as disciplinarian, shepherd, father.

    In the second photo: Obama as coach watching from the sidelines with other members of his staff as his team nears the end of the fourth quarter and the game is still very much up in the air.

  • Jim Watson

    While I agree there is a great contrast between the two photos, I don’t think it is fairy to characterize the way politics in Washington and at the White House are going by showing two photos. Obama still has a direction in mind, and while it may seem to some that he is at a loss, I think we would need to see more reporting to come to this conclusion and especially not from photos provided by the White House which are generally just PR.

  • Michael Shaw

    So, I changed the title. Was: “Juxtaposition of the Day: Obama in a Crisis”

  • bystander

    Okay. That’s fair. And, maybe my nuance-detector isn’t well calibrated today. My own interpretation of that second photo is:

    “Oh, ho-ly shit…What have we done?”

    And. I file this:

    under, “Heh…”

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