March 25, 2008

Kerry-McCain '02 (Or:The McCain Slouch)


This shot leads off yesterday’s NYT story about two instances in which McCain seriously entertained hooking up with the Dems.  Apparently, Mac — after having been beaten (up) by Bush for the nomination — actively explored switching sides in ’01.  And in ’04, he initiated discussions regarding running as Kerry’s V.P.

The file photo selected to illustrate the story shows McCain and Kerry meeting with the press in ’02 to discuss car mileage standards.

For all we know, the subject of gas could have also accounted for McCain’s body language.  On the other hand, I’m wondering if the shot might capture the quality of resistance.  Besides failing to engage with Kerry in conversation, McCain — given his pushed back and prone position — also fails to lend himself normally to the chair.  And then, when your only job in a photo op is to play the game, McCain seems to intentionally defeat the moment by, instead, offering a stare to the cameras.

Again, the photo could simply be an innocent out take, with McCain — known to be hampered by long-standing war-related injuries — in the midst of a physical adjustment.  But then, what is captured here might, as well, represent a moment of alienation or resistance in the oft-described “maverick” McCain — an element in his behavioral tendency to suddenly and dramatically go the other way.

Two McCain Moments, Rarely Mentioned (NYT)

(image: Dennis Cook/AP.  Washington.  2002.  via

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Michael Shaw
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