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Feb 02, 2005

State of the Union Show

I know everybody's atwitter about the brilliantly executed SOTU moment in which Janet Norwood, the mother from Pflugerville who lost her son Byron in Iraq, embraced Safia Taleb al-Suhail, the women from Iraqi and victim of the Saddam regime, who had just voted in her country's election.  Even before the two got tangled up in Byron's dog tags, it was a home run.


However, the visual I'm sure Rove cared most about, and got, was the shot of Bush all choked up about it.

(image: CNN)


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It made me furious that he wasn't applauding, when everybody was giving the dead marine's parents a standing ovation.

Selfish and clueless

MissM, I did not watch the speech but the picture supports what you say.

He really didn't give them any more acknowledgment than that? Allah, Buddha, Christ and Shiva; that is cold-blooded.

mini me!!!

So Michael thinks this was a brilliant photo-op by Karl Rove, while everyone else thinks it is a telling photo the demonstrates the true evil that lurks in President Bush's soul. I wonder how many readers believe both of those at the same time.

AOG; probably more than believe for one second that the President gives a crap about the many lives he is willing to sacrifice for his PNAC principles.

I will openly say that I "believe both of those at the same time". I have no trouble recognizing that this was a truly inspired photo-op. But the photo-op is a tool of marketing, which generates desire for non-essential goods by covertly manipulating people's emotions (especially fear). It is emphatically not a tool of leadership, which seeks to present the truth unvarnished, so that citizens - who are the sole source of legitimate power in a democracy - may make wise decisions of state.

Bush and his team do not speak openly or honestly about their policies, which prevents the public from assessing them on their merits. (Does anyone yet know which, if any, of the 27 documented rationales for invading Iraq - many of which cancel each other out - was the real one?) Instead, to an extent I believe unprecedented in the modern history of the presidency, they work to short-circuit the citizen's desire for knowledge with the consumer's desire for goods. To do so they use the emotionally manipulative language of marketing, rather than of democracy, creating desire - as marketing does - through the generation of a "buzz" at most only loosely related to the features of the product itself.

They have, in fact, said as much themselves - Bush's chief of staff, Andy Card, famously described the campaign to drum up support for an attack on Iraq as "rolling out a new product". The "reality-based community" comment in Ron Suskind's NYT Magazine article last year is in the same vein.

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