September 10, 2005

Laura: Just Say N.O.











So, Laura didn’t know the name of the hurricane?

So Laura thinks the idea that race played a role in George’s foot dragging is “disgusting?”  (…Somehow, Florida voters seem to get pretty good Federal response when the winds start to blow.)

I’ve been tracking the Bush’s patronization of blacks for years (1, 2, 3).  It’s only now, though — against the Administration’s negligence in addressing Katrina — that we can more plainly see the photo ops and the compassion talk for how little it is.  What I find most interesting about these images of Laura Bush visiting hurricane survivors at the Cajundome is that they were taken by a White House photographer and posted on the White House web site.  Besides the one image where Laura is shaking hands, she comes off like the rich, white, out-of-touch alien that she is.  If these were the best images the White House could put together (characterized by passive resistance, hesitancy and awkwardness), I’d hate to see the worst.

These people are devastated, in shock and angry.  The have next-to-no personal space or control over that space.  Not only does Mrs. Bush randomly interject herself inside those boundaries, she further can’t seem to keep her hands off people.  (From my reading, it seems that almost every physical advance is uninvited.)

Whenever you see images of Mrs. Bush in public, she conveys the feeling of someone moving from spot to spot in service of the camera.  Because she and the President show little evidence of compassion or outreach beyond the incessant act of documenting the fact, these images look painfully like gestures when you would think unselfconscious support and solidarity would come a lot more easily.

(images: Krisanne Johnson/White House.  Sept. 2, 2005. Cajundome at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette.  September 2, 2005. At

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Michael Shaw
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