October 9, 2007

And Veep Makes Three (or: Who's Whispering Behind My Back?)


This image accompanying Vanity Fair’s dish on the Clinton-Gore-Clinton WH triangle, appearing as it does now, conveys relevance beyond mere historical (or Page Six) fascination.

Illustrating the excerpt from Sally Bedell Smith’s new book on the Clintons, the pic offers a number of significations in the current campaign.

First, the visual is just one more boulder in the current media avalanche affirming presuming Hillary’s front-runner status as a shoo-in for the nomination.  Second, the Bill + Hill alignment here — merging a couples meme (see: embrace) with a campaign team meme (given Hillary sporting the team button and the fact Al bears absolutely no visual concordance with Bubba) — reinforces a growing, if tacit recognition that Hillary’s is inevitably a “buy one, get one free” campaign.  (Notice, by the way, how the cover of the latest Economist also reinforces point #1 and #2.  … And if you have trouble with this thesis, consider how much the body language mirrors the stereotypical running mate pose.)

Third, now that Hillary has won the media primary, let the Veepstakes begin!

Fourth, you think Gore had it rough?  Pity the poor shmoe who agrees — should Team Hillary actually get to nod — to sign on as third wheel.

Fifth, check out the whisper.  In the book excerpt, Tipper is described as someone who reached out to Hillary from the early days of the Clinton-Gore administration, but is then steamrollered as Hillary battled Gore for influence.  Funny that Tipper, seen as the least political of the foursome, is responsible, in the photo, for she and Al withholding attention from whatever shining thing has the first couple’s attention.  Given the protocol to “follow the leader” (in combination with the dynamism and aggressiveness of the Clintons), is the suggestion here that you don’t go behind a Clinton’s back?

Lastly (although the placement might be purely random), it’s interesting to see Hillary in that not unfamiliar spot — splitting the middle.

(Mark Peterson/Corbis.  Vanity Fair.  November 2007.  caption: Bill and Hillary Clinton and Al and Tipper Gore on the campaign trail in New Jersey, July 1992 )

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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