Monday, January 23, 2006

Sometimes a Picture Is Just a Picture

It's easy enough to see where things are going with the Time article about the photos of Bush and Abramoff: a gotcha moment that implicates Bush in the unfolding scandal. How many pictures are taken of the president with supporters and donors, though? The article does say, after all, that

Most of the [five] pictures have the formal look of photos taken at presidential receptions. The images of Bush, Abramoff and one of his sons appear to be the rapid-fire shots -- known in White House parlance as clicks -- that the President snaps with top supporters before taking the podium at fund-raising receptions. Over five years, Bush has posed for tens of thousands of such shots -- many with people he does not know. Last month 9,500 people attended holiday receptions at the White House, and most went two by two through a line for a photo with the President and the First Lady.

Of course, this doesn't mean there is not a deeper, more disconcerting connection, but there needs to be more proof than just a bunch of photos. I'm reminded of Lindsey Graham's apology to Sam Alito during the hearings the other week:

Let me tell you this: Guilt by association is going to drive good men and women away from wanting to sit where you're sitting. And we're going to go through a bit of this ourselves as congressmen and senators. People are going to take a fact that we got a campaign donation from somebody who's found out to be a little different than we thought they were -- and our political opponent's going to say, "Aha, I got you!" And you know what? I'm going to believe these senators and congressmen for the most part, because that's the way we do our business. We meet people here every day. We have photos taken with people -- and sometimse you wish you didn't have your photo taken. But that doesn't mean that you're a bad person because of that association.

Who knew he'd be proved right so soon?

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