March 26, 2012

DMZ 2012

It’s not like the photos of Obama at the Koren DMZ are particularly unique — and that’s exactly what accounts for their significance. This is one of those cases where the notability of a photo has much to do its timing. Concomitant with the GOP candidates taking potshots at BHO for recklessness, fecklessness, passivity, and a grab bag of other things in his role as Commander-in-Chief, the sudden appearance of the next DMZ presidential photo op in the canon, the Obama edition — at a point in time at which North Korea has grown even more unpredictable — is just a bit more rain on the GOP parade.

Of course, the photos also offer more reassurance to the American people that, in these uncertain times, the president is a steady hand. There is the feeling here that Obama isn’t just posing but, being the wonk he is, really wants to know the lay of the land. (That’s in contrast to the scene just below. You may remember this pic from back in the day, but in case you forgot, can you make out what’s wrong with the Dubya photo?)

But when talking about Campaign 2012, there was more juice to squeeze out of the Observation Post Ouellete visuals than just a steady hand. Let’s not forget that part of the Obama mojo, as November comes into sight, involves his ability to just look cool. And that’s where the red in those lenses come in.

(photo 1: AFP: Saul Loeb. photo 2: unattributed (via Telegraph); photo 3: Luke Frazza/AFP/Getty. caption: US President Bill Clinton (c) in a picture taken 11 July 1993 uses binoculars to look across the Demilitarized Zone into North Korea with two US soldiers during his trip to South Korea. photo 4: Ronald Reagan at DMZ: Ronald Reagan Library, bottom photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo.)

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Michael Shaw
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