October 6, 2006

It's Down To Cannibalism


These days, it’s hard not to feel like you’re peering into the Republican big top, witnessing a three-ring political meltdown.

(On your left, ladies and gentlemen: the unravelling al Qaeda fiasco!  On your right: the re-re-re-re-re-introduction of the Iraq conflagration!  And, in the center ring, we bring you: the “family values party” sex scandal cover up!)

Playing it straight, today’s front-page NYT write-up depicts Speaker Hastert as regrouping after half-a-week in a bumbling free fall.  But, a drowning man doesn’t go down before bobbing up for air a few times.

For gallows humor, I found the above image particularly crisp.  The caption informs us that this is Hastert sitting inside his home in Plano, Illinois.  Shifting metaphors from big top to big house, it doesn’t take much imagination to see this as a fanciful allusion to penitentiary windows.  And, to the extent Hastert might have covered up sex crimes (if just in the mind of the fundy crowd), the man certainly qualifies as a political, as well as a media prisoner.

But I’m just being snarky, right?

Capt.7Eab6A29D4B4416Ea1F84184F6Ffda4C.Congressman E Mails Dclj101

Maybe not.

As political images of the week, I nominate these, from last Friday.  The one above presents Bill Frist, House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (right) and Rep. James Sensenbrenner (center), surrounding Hastert as he stonewalls the press on the Foley affair.  The shot below is the same scene, stage left, showcasing House Majority Leader John Boehner.


The view of the foursome is incredibly fraught, considering the leadership is standing there virtually naked.

I like both shots as much, however, for the ego dynamics.  The columnist who was not pulling any punches yesterday was Howard Kurtz.  In his Media Notes piece, he was completely lucid about the fact that Hastert, DeLay’s patsy, was never that swift, and that Blunt and Boehner (take another look!) are preparing the long knives.

(image 1: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP.  October. 4, 2006.  outside Plano, Ill.  Via YahooNews.  image 2: Lawrence Jackson/AP.  Sept. 29, 2006.  Washington.  Via YahooNews.  image 3: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters.  Sept. 29, 2006.  Washington.  Via YahooNews.)

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Michael Shaw
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