February 16, 2011

Rahm and the Thousand Yard Stare

Update 2/17. Noon PST: This image from TIME’s Callie Shell captures my sentiments below in a slightly different, if a lot more imposing way.  As opposed to the politician being there for us, it’s the other way around.  Do you remember “Rahm and the Hard Sell”?


I am in one of those heads right now where I’m swimming in disgust with Washington, the two parties paying lip service to fiscal responsibility in the midst of the budget process while pandering to the corporate state. There’s that — and then there’s the nonsense in Wisconsin where the far right governor is engaged in a concerted attempt at union busting while the national Dem leadership avoids the battle there like the plague.

In that frame of mind, this is the photo that jumped out at me today, a perfectly craven, if cookie-cutter portrait of the disconnect between the so-called “public servant” and his constituent prop — this woman’s crestfallen quality and her thousand-yard-stare as much an indicator of a crass campaign photo op as the reciprocal look on the face of the similarly color-coded guy off her right shoulder.

Yes, the politico happens to be Rahm, someone who doesn’t do “give a sh-t” very well at all. But through my eyes today, I found the photo more universal.  I found it speaking to the great lie being perpetrated in this country about the vision of a promising and singular America when there is happens to be two.

(photo 1: Callie Shell/TIME. caption: Rahm on the Trail
Armed with a national profile, a prodigious Rolodex and powerful fundraising skills, not to mention the reflected glow of his previous job as Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel has placed himself at the front of the pack in the race to become Chicago’s next mayor. photo 2: Scott Olson/Getty Images. caption: Mayoral candidate and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel speaks to residents during a campaign stop at a senior living center February 15, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The election to replace Richard Daley as mayor of Chicago will be held Tuesday February 22. Emanuel is considered the front-runner.)

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Michael Shaw
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