September 27, 2007

Bush To WAPO: I'm Truman, You're … Eating Out Of My Hand


While corporate media was being spun this week on the evils of Iran, it was also getting played on the campaign front.

This example involves a cute little post at WAPO’s campaign blog, The Trail.  The entry, titled “Bush to Hillary Clinton: I’m Truman, You’re Ike,” featured the photo above, and opened as follows:

Karl Rove may not think much of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s chances of winning the White House, but it sounds like President Bush is less sanguine. At an off-the-record lunch a week ago, Bush expressed admiration for her tenacity in the campaign. And he left some in the room with the impression that he thinks she will win the election and has been thinking about how to turn over the country to her.

Does anything smell fishy so far?

Well, here’s my list:

1.  Any campaign piece that starts off with the words “Karl Rove” automatically deserves a double red flag.

2.  The Washington Post wants us to believe that Bush and Rove aren’t on the same page when it comes to anything political?  …All this time and WAPO still can’t read a misdirection play?

3.  An “off-the-record” lunch?  And Bush just happened to leave an impression … with reporters!.  Okay, perhaps I can interest you in some mortgage stocks?

4. A Bush expresses admiration for a Clinton?  In fact, Bush expresses admiration, period?

5. What’s this about ‘Thinking how to turn things over’??  Does anyone believe Karl (of the famed “permanent majority” obsession) gives up easily?  The wingnut Executive branch is already rigged like a political IED.

Amidst the Machiavellian stench, is it possible the WAPO blogger didn’t realize he was had for lunch?  I mean, he couldn’t tell from Rudy’s jump-the-gun Hillary attack ad that the Repugs are just salivating to run against Hillary, and that Bush/Rove was simply lending more weight to Clinton’s (media-given) air of inevitability?  Sheesh, Bush was even reported to mention Obama’s “inexperience in high office and national campaigning.”

(It gets even crazier, too.  In the next post, when Bush is asked who he likes on the Republican side, the blogger, in reference to Dubya, states:  “He’s not saying, of course, respecting the tradition of presidential neutrality until the nomination is settled.”  Even more Hil-arious is the post two entries later (“Can Hillary Be Stopped?) which is actually critical of the press for lending Clinton that air of inevitability.)

But then, I almost forgot the photo.

The first hint something is off involves the caption: “President Bush told a group of broadcasters that he was impressed with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign.”  That’s great, where are the broadcasters? Rear left we have a legislative aid, former Chief of Staff Andy Card, former Sen. George “Macaca” Allen, and Sen. John Warner.  … But then, didn’t Card split about a year ago, and wasn’t Allen ridden out of town on a rail?

A little checking, though, makes more sense of the contents of the image — although not the caption or the context.  It seems that WAPO, probably after a two minute search on the terms “George Bush, Hillary Clinton” in the AP archive, came up with this six-year-old photo actually taken at the White House a mere two days after the 9/11 attacks.

By using the image out of context, WAPO suckers us on any number of levels:

Of course, the picture leads us to believe that the shot, having something to do with that lunch, practically happened yesterday.

In contrast to Bush’s scorched earth tendencies when it comes to bipartisanship or cooperation of practically any kind, the proximity of Dubya and Clinton reinforces the manipulation that Clinton, with Bush’s assent, is that much closer to stopping by the White House for the keys.

Most paradoxically and hypocritically, the photo is used (by the WH via the press) to give Clinton an election-year boost when the actual historical reference here is more closely associated with Clinton’s biggest political liability, which was catering to Bush in voting (a year later) to authorize the war.

(image: Eric Draper/White House.  September 13, 2001. Washington, D.C.

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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