Why did the Administration feature this image on the White House website on Monday?
(Could it have something to do with Bush’s repeated stumbles responding to students at this Johns Hopkins forum? Could it be the compulsion to fashion alternative reality out of every flaw that now shows through?)
What we witnessed Monday was simply a further erosion of the Bush
teflon. On the subject of leaking classified information in the run up
to the Iraq war, Bush — who typically gets away with any action simply
by chalking it up to necessity — suddenly found himself in the
unfamiliar (and highly weak-looking) territory of self-justification (link). On the specific question of whether he had retaliated against Joseph Wilson (link), Bush seemed to markedly fall all over himself before offering up a non-answer.
Given this context, lets look at the companion image that ran on the newswires.
Reflecting his diminishing capacity to hide behind the prerogatives of office, Bush is divorced from his branded background, forced to stand more before the people and on his own. Despite smiles from the audience, the shot reflects the more recent incarnation of the televangelical Bush, using the appealing and persuading hand to simultaneously defend and plead his case. Overall, however, Monday’s event had one simple and overriding tag line: Bush caught in the harsh glare.
… But then, the distinction between Monday’s White House reality and the less-mediated kind really wasn’t as subtle as the shots above represent. With a closer light on the rough bumps, one gets a much easier-to-read snapshot of the loss of denial.
(image 1: Eric Draper/White House. Washington, D.C., Monday, April 10, 2006. whitehouse.gov. image 2: Gerald Herbert/AP. Washington. April 10, 2006. Via YahooNews. image 3, 4 & 6; Gerald Herbert/AP. Washington. April 10, 2006. Via YahooNews. image 5: Jim Young/Reuters. Washington. April 10, 2006. Via YahooNews.)