May 23, 2007

"This Is The President, Reid! Step Away From The Chamber, And Keep Your Hands Where I Can See 'Em"


Here’s an example of the power and magic of the political picture.

In the more abstract, logical part of the mind, one understands that Harry Reid must simply be gesturing to reporters to let him speak.  However, in the cognitive neighborhood from which we tend to react to things like Dems caving in over dropping withdrawal timetables from war funding bills, there comes the tendency to interpret a picture as much in terms of story dynamics, as simple interview protocol.

This photo, in fact, manages to activate still one more property of the political picture.  Call it the “meaning in the eye of the beholder” effect.

If your a more centrist Democrat, for example, Reid’s gesture reads more like “steady as she goes.”  (That’s in the Emanuelian sense of: “[With benchmarks and reporting requirements in the funding bill,] I view this as the beginning of the end of the president’s policy on Iraq.”

To an anti-war liberal, on the other hand(s), what you’re more likely to read into Reid is plain surrender.

(h/t: japandrew. image: Doug Mills/The New York Times. Washington. May 22, 2007.

Post By

Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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