January 11, 2007

The Situation In Washington


What’s that mantra in real estate: location, location, location?

In light of Bush’s latest, most important (and most disappointing) Iraq “trust me” speech, what seemed most notable was the setting. To put the event in physical and political perspective, compare these two iconic images.  The first captures Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi at the White House on Tuesday following a pre-speech sit down with Bush.  The second is the White House’s own, singular visual of Bush delivering the speech yesterday in the White House library.  (Full death warmed over image here.)

In my mind, the juxtaposition offers a wonderful, if subtle snapshot of Washington’s new power balance.  If Rove stuck Bush in the library hoping for a sense of intimacy, history or thoughtfulness, the placement only highlights how out of place and out of character the President appeared.

In contrast, compare Bush’s “situation” with the shot by A.P’s Charles Dharapak (a slight variant of which also appeared in the NYT news analysis on the speech).

In reality, the photo was taken outside the front entrance of the West Wing, where members of Congress typically meet up with the press.  In light of the strength and confidence Reid and Pelosi are exuding these days, however, the image conjures more the feeling of the famous West Wing colonnade, traditionally the President’s bastion off the Oval Office. (For some “big shot” examples, try: 1, 2, 3).

Such is the state of things that, even in Bush’s (supposedly) bigger moments, Reid and Pelosi seem closer to the power than the President does.

For my read of the Bush’s “situation,” see my companion post at Huffington.  (Feel free to discuss both here.)

(image: Charles Dharapak/Associated Press. January 10, 2007.  Washington.  Via YahooNews)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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