Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
June 6, 2012

Post Wisconsin: Fighters vs. Compromisers

Strip away the massive spending and the bare-knuckle tactics and the spectacle of a state torn in two. At bottom, this was an election about what kind of politician Americans prize. Scott Walker won not despite his refusal to compromise, but because of it.   — Uncompromised: Why Scott Walker Survived His Recall (TIME/Swampland)

According to TIME, Walker won because he refuses to compromise. The article also quotes a statistic where supposedly 55% of independents prefer “a fighter” over a “compromiser.” What’s disturbing here is the glorification of bullies just because they’ve been so “successful” at obstructionism. Is this where the narrative is headed?

(click for full size)

What’s just as disturbing, however — looking back at the earliest Obama White House photos — is the President’s attempt to bring people together by force of personality. A stronger politician, one more effective with carrots-and-sticks … and the ability to frame his argument, would, today, be able to use these images to demonstrate the GOP as dead-enders. Instead, however, we’re left with this “fighter – compromiser” dichotomy in which Obama merely looks weak and beseeching.

(photos: Pete Souza background: Obama lobbying Republican Congresspeople to support the stimulus bill. None did. January 27, 2009. caption 2: President Barack Obama speaks at the National Governors Association Meeting in the State Dining Room of the White House, Feb. 23, 2009.)

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