Reading The Pictures: The First Post-American President?

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What's your choice for the key element in this pic, taken on the eve of the Oregon and Kentucky primaries?

The cool shades?
The trooper's wheels?
The flag pin -- BHO's newest fashion accessory and inoculation against swipes at his patriotism?

Well, I would contend it's the copy of Fareed Zakaria's, The Post-American World. (Either Obama's half-way through it, or else there's a page he wants to keep his finger on.)

The book makes the point that as power, skill and capacity becomes more distributed around the globe, Washington would do better to encourage this trend and honor it as both a cooperative and motivating factor.

Now, if it was 2004 and this was a photo of Bush, I would say that Rove had an agenda in having his man carry that book around. In Obama's case, I wouldn't assume, but (photo ops being photo ops) it might be that Barack is seeding the field in drawing a contrast with Bush/McCain over what constitutes global power.

Book overview: The Rise of the Rest (Zakaria - Newsweek)
Is Our President Learning? (Steve Benen - American Prospect)

For more of the visual, visit

(image: Doug Mills/The New York Times. May 22, 2008. Bozeman, Montana. via

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