March 24, 2010

Baring the President's Fists

Obama punching health care.jpg

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If the term “game change” gets thrown around a lot these days, in Obama’s case, passing health care has done just that.

Among the 91 White House Flickr photos in the Health Reform; A Year in Photos” set, you’ll notice three shots that are completely atypical. In each, Obama assumes the pose of a boxer and, in one, looks to throw a punch in the air.

Obama health care fist 3.jpg Obama Health care fist 2.jpg

If health care legislation had not passed, there is not a chance we would be seeing these pictures — not now. Up to this point, in fact, Obama has been extraordinarily cautious not to appear either angry or aggressive in these Flickr shots — that powerful are the racial stereotypes in this not-so-“post-racial” society we live in. With the extraordinarily deliberate, assertive and mammoth health care win, however, Obama gains the capital to claim much greater authority and, with it, individuality. Largely putting to rest the fear of an inexperienced and relatively unknown (and possibly testy) black man in the Oval Office, what the pictures validate is the license — as Pete Souza drives home in triplicate — to reveal Obama as a real fighter.

(photo: Pete Souza/White House. caption: President Barack Obama pumps his fists during a meeting with senior staff in the Chief of Staff ‘s office at the White House, March 21, 2010.)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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