The NYT headline from a NYT profile on the new management team touts a reduction in White House drama. The photo, shot at a recent Obama press conference, however, suggests a lot more.
Certainly, this group is much more buttoned down and put together than the frenetic and kinetic Rahm-Axelrod. Yeah, a “corporate” analogy (Daley as COO) wouldn’t be off the mark. The averted gazes — even though these boys know it’s a portrait (indicated by the secret service agent looking straight at the photographer and Daley seeming to be looking-without-looking) conveys an aloof sense and a distance from the press as compared to the old team which seemed only too aware they had eyes on them. The crossing of the arms drives home this the boundary. Plouffe’s version, — being the PR/branding guy and the genius behind the ’08 express — seems more authoritative while Pfeiffer looks more uncomfortable and guarded, the wrinkles at his shoulders only highlighting the smoothness of the others.
The most telling element, though — no accident, because really, it’s a telegraph — is the display of purple, or blue-and-purple ties (especially on the Carney, the new press guy and face of the Administration). Beyond the business profile, this new incarnation of Team Obama (Plouffe’s centrality indicating the re-election campaign is already full engaged), is about killing all reference to left or right, Democrat or Republican, blue state or red state (blue on a Democrat less a non-statement than a statement). Although Obama got burned with all the talk of “bipartisanship” (and how’d you like that “Winning” Florida photo-op on Friday with Jeb, by the way?), it’s all about building-out the middle now.
One purple world, baby.