by Chris Maynard and The BAG
For most mortals, possessed of a reasonable sense of shame, it’s obvious when the time has come to step aside for a while, let the unruly passions quiet down and watch quietly from the sidelines. President Bush, unfortunately, seems to have been AWOL when shame was being passed out.
A quick trip across the country offers glimpses of Republicans desperately trying to stay alive after Tuesday. A few have welcomed the president as the shiny hood ornament of their campaigns; most others have decided to go it alone.
Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, left, was the only Republican Senator to vote against authorization of the Iraq war. His father was a popular governor, then senator. Also, his state tends to treat U.S. Senate seats as lifetime appointments. However, the sharp teleprompter edge lined up with his head and the “five seconds left” gesture well reflect an electorate about to dispense with hereditary niceties.
More family business, and the vain appeal by gesticulation. In New Jersey, Thomas F. Kean, Jr., right, is running behind Senator Robert Menendez. His father Thomas F. Kean, left, is a former governor and was co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission. The fact poppy is holding court not only emphasizes the younger Kean’s lack of experience, but also the sad fact that coattails won’t get it done.
Continuing south to Pennsylvania, Senator Rick Santorum, the anti-abortion absolutist, has spent most of the campaign hiding behind his wife and kids. For all his fundy paranoia about morality and sexuality, this sensual image (But honey, the children!) will be a touching impression to remember him by.
Down in Virginia, there are those hands again. For once, the Confederate-loving, former Southern Californian isn’t singling out people by race. Here he chats up a group of black ministers who are actually endorsing him. From the expressions, the body language and the distance, however, you have to wonder why.
Harold Ford set the precedent by shooting a commercial in a church. Desperate for Bill Frist’s open seat, Bob Corker ups the ante by welcoming the cameras to prayer with the whole family. Is the construction executive practicing his lean to the finish line, seeking divine intervention, or do we have one more Republican playing “first among equals” in the eyes of the Lord?
What can you say? the depressed-looking Ohio Senator Mike DeWine has been D.O.A. for weeks. In one of those sessions where the visiting VIP gets off the airplane, answers some questions, then leaves, is DeWine’s expression a preview of Tuesday night at the RNCC?
At a “Missouri Victory Rally,” where connecting with the faithful is the last minute key, Senator Jim Talent pays his respects to Bush by reading his own speech. Meanwhile, President Bush, the ultimate goofball, gestures for his own siphons attention from the Senator with a reference to glasses. What was once charming self-effacement now reads more often like the loss of face.
(9:09 CET. Revised Talent comments. Thanks to ST.)
(photo credits to follow)