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Jul 10, 2006

Home Alone

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Trying to rebrand himself as the second coming of Alphonse D'Amato, yesterday's Santorum piece in the NYT chronicles Ricky's late (and lame) attempt to distinguish himself for his constituent service.

No wonder.  The ideological extremist is getting hammered for being out-of-touch with the folks back home.  In particular, he's getting hit for living with his family in Virginia while nominally retaining a house in the burbs of Pittsburgh.  (Ironically, Santorum lambasted his congressional opponent in 1990 for exactly the same thing.)  In light of his reputation as a fundie attack dog and Bush rubber stamp, RS is also taking it for being a Washington insider, and an "establishment tool."

The photo accompanying the write-up is glaring, ugly and ... editorially brilliant, a blunt retort to the Santorum spin.  That dingy column separating RS and the audience might as well put Santorum miles away.  From what I can make out, the audience -- in a firehouse in the town of Monroeville -- doesn't look that responsive, either.  And finally, what's with outfit?  Compared to the people in the front row, at least, the guy seems underdressed.  And those white pants?  Perhaps more of the Washington/Virginia preppy feel?

Finally, if Santorum is so keen to project his local engagement, how come the first photo gallery feature on his campaign website showcases Washington senators; the most recent civic-minded pictures -- offering ad nauseam documentation of an Allegheny County Super Bowl party -- are more than five months old; and the "Around the Commonwealth" section is dead last?

(image: Jeff Swensen for The New York Times. Monroeville, Pennsylvania.  July 6, 2006.


Backstage in the bunker. Lights, projected images, a technician to audience ratio approaching 1 to 2. Can't imagine the Senator really needs a microphone for that room. Looks like he's introducing a church school pageant, potluck supper to follow.

I like the curtained window to our right of the pillar. A quirk of reflection makes it look like there's a bright day outside bursting through the fabric. Makes me think of fresh air.

Needless to say, he is on the far, far right of the picture. Where he stands, everything is shadow, illusion and projection. No other human is in that space.

I have never seen a picture of Santorum in profile. Who knew he was such a pudgey guy? His projected website--www.RickSantorummmmm--blends right into that fatcat tummy of his.

Wish I could read the minds of the quiet and patient citizens in their seats. The white pants could be the unconscious error that kills him. Nothing here in California says "seedy, crooked wanna-be film producer" like wearing white pants or shoes.

I fail to see how the people in the audience can even see him. That's no dingy column, it's the monolith from "2001."

The monolith has evolved their thinking.

Time to move up the evolutionary chain from Santorum to human being.

Someone at the NYT must really hate Santorum (not that there aren't lots of good reasons). "Blunt retort" is an understatement. By showing such a wide, flat, dividing line between Santorum and his audience, this photo essentially reads as two different images. There might as well be a big white space between the two sections. I'm actually kind of surprised that the editors at the NYT would use such a blatant method of making their point.

When I looked at Santorum's photo gallery, I thought Pennsylvania was an all-white state. Except for a tiny pocket of blacks in Philadelphia who are involved in the Anti-Poverty Forum.

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