Reading The Pictures: Bush Embraces The Job


WASHINGTON, DC--In an East Room press conference Tuesday, President Bush told reporters that he had the "sneaking feeling" that 68 percent of the U.S. population hated his guts that day.

"Maybe it's just me, but when I woke up this morning, it really seemed like 60 percent of men and 77 percent of women didn't want to have anything to do with me," Bush said.

Though Bush admitted he found it "disquieting" that more than two-thirds of the country thinks he is not the right man to lead the nation, he assured the public that he "won't let it affect the way [he does his] job in any way."

--The Onion (via dkos/bill in portland maine)

One mechanism of political humor is to expose those facts which, for whatever reason, manage to defy the obvious.

This Onion quote does a perfect job illuminating a simple, if blunt reality. The president is widely and broadly disapproved of. Members of his own party now have broken through his protective wall and are confronting him. And, in spite of his pro-forma protestations that disapproval doesn't affect him, it would be weird if he wasn't suffering a decent bit of that torching disapproval.

Tuesday was Peace Officers Memorial Day recognizing officers that died this year in the line of duty. The event was commemorated by a memorial service which is held annually on the west lawn of the Capitol. If what The Onion is getting at holds any truth at all, that "sneaking, disquieting" emotional state might have even been on display.

As the commander in chief, isn't it Bush's job to also be comforter in chief? From the visual evidence, however (which I elaborate on, and offer more visual support for at this companion post at BAGnewsNotes), Bush's manner was much more sensual than empathic. Take the shot, above, for example. The people in the background (mostly men) definitely look like they're part of a memorial service. The scene in the foreground, however, might have been pulled from a singles bar.

The entire event was described both by media, as well as the White House, as involving much hugging and embracing. So, "peeling the onion," would it be so hard to believe that this condemnation-proof president -- who spent an unheard of two-and-a-half hours that afternoon pressing flesh with the crowd -- used a vulnerable occasion, and, particularly, the grief-stricken wives of fallen peace officers, to find some warm, quick and easy approval for himself?

For more of the visual, visit

(image: Jason Reed/Reuters. Washington. May 15, 2007. via YahooNews)