On its face, this photo op (here on Tuesday of Budweiser week) seems to further undo the Obama/Gates controversy. In the aftermath of Obama’s statement that Mass. police acted stupidly in arresting a black Harvard professor, the Veep and the Administration — in a financial show of force — announced a billion-dollar, nationwide investment of stimulus funds for community policing — the largest amount going to (who knew!) Massachusetts.
To the extent that the Gates affair exposes a race/class divide, however, as Thomas Frank argues in the WSJ, how much does this photo visually reinforce the split, further identifying Obama with Gates and the “Harvard elite” as modest Joe Biden “lines up” with the blue collar men-in-blue (even if someone tried like hell to give the “blue” background the strongest look of salt-and-pepper)?
(photo: William Thomas Cain/Getty Images. caption: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks about the National Recovery Act funding for police after it was announced by Attorney General Eric Holder July 28, 2009 at City Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Recovery Act will allow police across the nation to hire additional police or maintain current staff levels.)