Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's the photographs, stupid!

Someone in the White House PR office must be asleep at the wheel. Yesterday I opened my morning paper to find these two images facing each other across the fold.

Joplin, MO, May 23, 2011, Julie Denesha/Getty

Moneygall, Ireland, May 23, 2011, Getty

Then this morning it was these two:

Tornado aftermath, Piedmont, OK, May 24, 2011, Bill Waugh/Reuters

Obamas with Will and Kate at Buckingham Palace, May 24, 2011, Toby Melville, AFP/Getty

Doh! Talk about awkward.

I'm not saying the president can't enjoy a beer or meet with royalty once in a while. But surely Politics 101 is don't be seen relaxing in a palace during a natural disaster. Photographic pairings like these are red meat for Obama's enemies, and I'm honestly surprised no one has jumped on them.

I say all this as a quasi-Obama fan. I voted for him. He may be more conservative than I'd like but at this point he's all the left has, so I wish him well. But some of his moves leave me scratching my head.

Ahem, Mr. President, don't look now but your image fly is open.


Anonymous said...

At what number of dead people should the President end his trip and return to the United States? Where is the cutoff point?

Anonymous said...

I'm going to guess that the editor of the paper is secretly a Tea-Bagger Party member. It seems like more than just coincidence. To me Obama is going to be criticized by the fright-wing no matter what he does. If he returned they would complain that he's just trying to make political points - which he would be. I'm much happier that he's completing this important trip because what could he possibly do to help the tornado victims - most of whom probably didn't even vote for him anyways.

Stan B. said...

Obama does not resemble, approximate or associate with anyone or anything on the left. Goldwater or Nixon today would out liberalize him. No one expected him to come through on every single thing he promised to deliver- but no one expected him to compromise, cave in or reverse practically everything he encouraged us to hope for.

Blake Andrews said...

Generally anything over 300 requires a return trip, although there is some play in that number. If he visits one of the tornado sites next week and is photographed showing emotion, he could wait until it hits maybe 600.

Dr. Gene Ray said...

Obama should only help those that voted for him? Holy shit... Is that really what you're saying Anonymous?

Microcord said...

On the general uselessness of Obama: Well, it seems that Obama isn't all that keen to make the US and the world so very much worse than it already is. That makes him preferable to McCain (or anyway the 2008 model, far-right McCain), who seemed to relish the prospect of doing this.

This is the choice you're presented with: the conservative or mildly retrogressive Dems versus the openly retrogressive Reps. For how the retrogressives, the cronyists, the know-nothings and the plain stupids got so well-financed and powerful, read Republican Gomorrah (despite its dumb title). For the reason why even mild progressivism hardly stands a chance these days, read "Kabuki Democracy" and the book that it turned into (despite its dumb title). And specifically for the bankrupting of the US by the legalized crime syndicates, read this extract and then the rest of Taibbi's (excellently titled) Griftopia.

(Griftopia is actually fun to read, or anyway is if black humor is your thing.)

And then lighten up with the sight of a gas-guzzler getting its come-uppance.

Oh, and sample a dingbat perception of scientific knowledge from somebody whose fantasies ought to have her drinking alone in a bar but who instead is taken seriously by the millions who take Fox "News" seriously.

Blake Andrews said...

Interesting perspective as usual, Microcord. What's the general perception of Obama in Japan?

Microcord said...

I don't know, Blake.

What do the newspapers say here? Well, the newspapers always tend to be circumspect -- OK, bland. Plus I don't attempt to read them.

This morning I asked the missus -- my sample of one. But I did ask her about the Japanese perception rather than her perception. So just after she started attempting to answer the question, she stopped herself, with the remark that since the enfranchised population of Tokyo had recently and overwhelmingly reelected as guv'nor the right-wing (and gaffe-prone) Ishihara Shintarō, she found it impossible to divine the mass Japanese psyche.

I can make some guesses. I think Hopey went down well in late 2008, for all the obvious reasons. But while the Japanese tend to be deeply conservative in domestic politics, this conservatism doesn't extend to automatic sympathy with what's conservative elsewhere. There's little appetite even for wars that have UN approval, and the inability or unwillingness of the US to extricate itself from Afghanistan or Iraq, plus its participation in what looks like a war in Libya, all combine to make him look like Bush 3. Add inaction on the Guantánamo concentration camp, the shoot-the-messenger attitude to Wikileaks, and he's distinctly tarnished.

As for the US in general, it's probably underrated in recent months. I believe that in "Operation Tomodachi", US forces did a huge amount of needed and unpleasant work: the abstract phrase "partly reopening Sendai Airport" meant such things as extricating, wrapping and sending off an unspecified but large number of corpses.

Back to Obama. Me, I just hope against hope that the American electorate somehow starts to realize how it's been conned by a hard right that combines greed, callousness and stupidity, that the credibility of the hard right crumbles, and that, yes, policies can again dare to be at least as far to the left as Richard Nixon would have wanted them.