March 21, 2008

The Mere Sight Of Wright


Both Mark Halperin and the NYT call out the Obama campaign for circulating this photo.  It features Reverend Wright at the prayer breakfast where then-President Clinton apologized to and for Monica Lewinsky.

The photo has an interesting composition.  The fact Bubba swerved to make a point right at the snap creates the impression he’s not that engaged.  And all the better now, the picture offering Bill avoiding direct eye contact with this future pariah.  What’s a little buried, otherwise, is the right hand action, and a pretty friendly shake.  Of course, Wright’s expression confirms a more connected moment.

But whether there was more connection there or, as the Clinton spokesperson said yesterday, “Bill Clinton met with, corresponded with and took pictures with literally tens of thousands of people,” the facts are no longer the issue.

Sadly, in spite of Obama’s eloquent snapshot of Wright the other day, the pastor has come to symbolize the racist stereotype of the scary, angry, unpredictable and anarchistic black man.

Strange turn of events, I’d say.  A few months back, the idea of Bubba’s infidelity being referenced in the media sphere in any way at all would have set off a three alarm fire in the Clinton camp.  But instead, Bill’s “sin,” which is what he was airing that day at this ecumenical breakfast, is completely overshadowed by the sight of a man who has come, somehow, to represent some far deeper stain.

(slightly revised: 12pm PST)

Rev. Wright Was Clinton White House Guest (TIME/Halperin)

Photograph of Bill Clinton and Rev. Wright Surfaces
The Caucus

Trying Times for Trinity  — Features what has become the “gotcha” shot of the campaign (Newsweek)


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Michael Shaw
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