I could use your help with this one. There is a quality that keeps turning up in Romney images that I can’t quite articulate. Depending on the specific scene, we’re offered a man and his image of life in America that is particularly straight-laced, clean cut, innocent, moralistic, 1950-ish, Andy of Mayberry (1, 2, 3, 4).
On the verge of the Republican Convention (unless a rapturous flood washes it away), this photo — from a series at TIME by photographer Lauren Fleishman who trailed Romney and Ryan for a week — seemed, in a subtle way, to capture the sense in a nutshell. The caption reads:
Aug. 17, 2012. Warm cookies and milk served on Romney’s plane from Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass. to Long Island, MacArthur Airport.
Still, I can’t quite get my arms around the quality of this lonely warm cookie and, particularly, the warm glass of milk, except to say it feels both gracious and loaded. I envision obedient children sitting down at the kitchen table just before bedtime in an aura of goodness and modesty. I’d like to know how you read this and, by extension, what you think it has to say about Romney’s view of the world. To me (like the man), it feels like a righteous dose of piety.
(photo: Lauren Fleishman for TIME)