January 13, 2011

Obama in Tucson: Scenes of Shift?

There were a lot of strong photos from Obama’s day in Tucson and the memorial service where he delivering the most tone-perfect and powerful speech/sermon since his campaign address on race.

What I’m looking at most carefully though, and what I’m most curious about also, are signs and evidence of honest-to-God bipartisanship. If Obama’s essential nature is to seek consensus and bring people together, we can battle about the political merits of this kind of character but after an event like Saturday’s shooting, and given the diminished condition of the American spirit, there is no one better (if he’ll let himself go more) to provide moral leadership and appeal to a higher nature.

I’m not pollyanna enough, however, to expect or envision a major mood shift in the Capitol, on the airwave or, in particular, on the internets.  Still, I’ve been intrigued by Obama as a compass from early on, and I can imagine, given the deep depressive ditch the country has been in at least since Bush bungled, then exploited 9/11, that the country, and a major swath of the quasi-adults running it, might just be ready to grow up a bit.

So, regarding the pictures, I like the first one not just because it captures “Obama the Sage” but because Obama, Cindy McCain and Senator Kyl (who initially was so willing to torpedo the START treaty simply in the name of GOP intransigience) line up (respectfully) in a row (even if every variant of this pic I could findwith Mac included showed him with a scowl or some odd-long look).

And then, I liked the picture of Governor Brewer, who has otherwise been complete hell-on-wheels, connecting with Obama on the tarmac. Again, who knows how much it’s toeing the line at a high profile moment, but in this window of potential change, I want to believe the expression was as felt as it looks.

Photo galleries 1, 2. Obama’s speech.

(photo 1: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images. caption: (L-R) President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, husband of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano attend the event “Together We Thrive: Tucson and America” honoring the January 8 shooting victims at McKale Memorial Center on the University of Arizona campus on January 12, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona. The memorial service is in honor of victims of the mass shooting at a Safeway grocery store that killed six and injured at least 13 others, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), who remains in critical condition after being shot in the head. Among those killed were U.S. District Judge John Roll, 63; Giffords’ director of community outreach, Gabe Zimmerman, 30; and 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green. photo 2: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images. caption: US President Barack Obama is greeted by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer upon arriving at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, on January 12, 2011 to attend the memorial event “Together We Thrive: Tucson and America” at the University of Arizona Tucson to support and remember victims of the mass shooting in Tucson. The First Couple will attend a tribute service for the six people who were killed and the 14 wounded in the assassination attempt on congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who is fighting for her life in a hospital.)

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Michael Shaw
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