If you were walking around Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in D.C. today and took in this figure along every other famous stiff gussied up for Barack Obama’s birthday — that would be one thing. But that’s not the case. Instead, what we encounter here is an isolation shot sent out over the newswire for national consumption, the imaging way too suggestive to contain the context.
As a result, what the picture serves up is a garishly brutal and brutally resonant portrait of a Presidency. (Ha! And they were so omnipotent, they thought they could even dictate the legacy.)
What makes the picture worthy, the same way immediate satisfaction is to be had ripping drywall away from rot, is that it nails the essential character of Bush’s unblinking administration (and also reconciles the early Bush with the much ballyhooed dry drunk version).
9/11 notwithstanding, Bush and his cowboys were always about a party.
(image: Alex Wong/Getty Images. caption: Birthday decorations are placed on the wax figure of former U.S. President George W. Bush in a mock Oval Office at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum August 4, 2009 in Washington, DC. The museum celebrated President Barack Obama’s birthday with dressing the wax figures as party-goers and made them available for visitors to take pictures with.)