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Ed Driscoll

Speaking Of Poor Optics

January 3rd, 2010 - 10:45 am

As Kristinn Taylor wrote last week at Big Government:

Richard Nixon had advertising executive H.R. Haldeman; Ronald Reagan had image master Mike Deaver; Barack Obama has public relations guru David Axelrod.

All three men understood the power of visuals in communicating the strengths of the presidents they served on the campaign trail and in the office of the presidency.

I don’t know where David Axelrod has been since President Obama began his ten-day Christmas vacation in Hawaii, but it is safe to say he is goofing off as much as his boss.

Apparently Francis Ford Coppola is subbing for Axelrod this week. Found via Hot Air (who’s having a caption contest) and Instapundit, the White House actually published this photo on their Flickr page, as Ed Morrissey notes. My first thought glancing at it, is that it makes it appear as though the nation is being governed by the cast of The Godfather — and that possibly, Joe Biden’s about to sleep with the fishes:

obambidenlookbig1-3-10

“Can you get me off the hook, Barry…For old time’s sake?”

“Can’t do it, Joe.”

Update: Ann Althouse explores the semiotics of the above photo and notes, “People who like Obama are blinded to the way other people see him”:

“Damn, Obama looks like James Bond in this picture.”

Says a commenter at the White House Flickr site. Is that what you see? Keep in mind that this is a picture the WH selected and had to have thought flattered the President and furthered his interests.

People who like Obama are blinded to the way other people see him. This picture strongly says cool to people who love him, but it doesn’t read that way to others… including the many, many people who don’t even want a cool President.

Photo via Instapundit, who has a closeup of the facial expression. The main thing I see when I look at that face is: He’s tired.

Wouldn’t it be funny, Barack, if, after all of this, you wake up one morning, and you think: I hate my job?

What’s he thinking now? Oh, my God, I’m only one-quarter through this thing. And they’re going to expect me to campaign again too? Bleh!

Prediction (longshot): Obama will not run for reelection. How can he do it? He can be all…

… I should not permit the Presidency to become involved in the partisan divisions that are developing… With America’s sons in the fields far away, with America’s future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes and the world’s hopes for peace in the balance every day, I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office — the Presidency of your country. Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.

It can happen. It’s happened. The man is tired and it’s a way to get above it all. And that’s the other thing I see in that face: He’s tired and he’s floating above it all.

The Bond comparison is interesting; it dovetails somewhat into Karl Rove’s early public take on Obama, from mid-2008:

“Even if you never met him, you know this guy,” Rove said, per Christianne Klein. “He’s the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by.”

Between the bitter clingers line in 2008 and the tea bagging slur last year, he’s certainly lived up to the last half of that equation.

Update (1/5/10): Welcome Instapundit and Fox Nation readers!

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