May 15, 2002


Photo Op-Portunism (MAUREEN DOWD, May 15, 2002, NY Times)
So now the White House gets caught peddling 9/11 commemorative photos. With all the class of a 1:30 a.m. infomercial for an electronic ab stimulator, the G.O.P. pitched donors, for a bargain price, a pictorial triptych of W.'s "defining moments."

A letter to contributors hawked the goods Franklin Mint style: "Specially commissioned, individually numbered and matted, this limited edition series is yours free for serving as an honorary co-chairman of the 2002 President's Dinner with your gift of $150 or more."

See W. take the oath of office! See W. deliver his first State of the Union address! And, if you act now, see W. aboard Air Force One in the hours after the terrorist attack, talking to the vice president!

Fortunately for the Republicans, it's a photo and not a video. Otherwise we might hear the president nervously inquiring of his adult supervisor, "Hey, Dick, is it safe to come home yet?"

Even putting aside the fact that this "heroic" image captures the shaky hours before the president found his footing and his mission in life, a day of blank fear when Washington received no guidance from its leaders, it obliterates the White House's professed principle of not using Sept. 11 to divide.

If you've not seen the photo, it's here -- On Day of Big Fund-Raiser, White House Is Attacked as 9/11 Marketer (ELISABETH BUMILLER and DON VAN NATTA Jr., May 15, 2002, NY Times) -- and it's terrific. The more publicity this tempest in a teapot gets, the more people who see the photo, the better for the GOP.

The notion that George W. Bush and the Republicans should ignore his leadership during the defining crisis of his presidency is totally asinine. It's not as if the photo showed victims families or tried to wave the bloody flag. It's a quiet dignified image of a president doing his job. Ms Dowd might note that he doesn't look particularly fearful. But then again, who you gonna believe, Big Mo or your lyin' eyes?

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 15, 2002 6:50 AM
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