I just saw this photo on a BBC News report on healthcare reform.
It was pulled from the White House’s official Flickr stream, and I think it may soon become emblematic. It will be used to illustrate a huge victory, substantial but also symbolic, of the Obama Administration. The President looks chuffed but not ecstatic. A job well done, but you sense he will be turning to his staff to ask, “what’s next?”
Maybe that’s not what happened in reality. Maybe the President went mental and stood on a table with a knife, lording over his defeated enemies. But we don’t see that photo. Significantly, we only have this one image of the celebrations, so that is what will persist of that moment – its a clever bit of subtle PR. Politicians have been shaping the narrative with flattering images for centuries, of course. But its always interesting to watch it happen in real time.