I am stunned that the official White House Blog published this picture and that it is in the public domain. The body language is most revealing.
Sergeant Crowley, the sole class act in this trio, helps the handicapped Professor Gates down the stairs, while Barack Obama, heedless of the infirmities of his friend and fellow victim of self-defined racial profiling, strides ahead on his own. So who is compassionate? And who is so self-involved and arrogant that he is oblivious?
In my own dealings with the wealthy and powerful, I have always found that the way to quickly capture the moral essence of a person is to watch how they treat those who are less powerful. Do they understand that the others are also human beings with feelings? Especially when they think nobody is looking.
Hat tip: Rick Richman
Update from Thomas Lifson:
I think this photo constitutes another major Obama blunder.
As some AT commentators point out, this picture becomes a metaphor for ObamaCare. The elderly are left in the back, with only the kindness of the Crowleys of the world, the stand up guys, to depend on. The government has other priorities.
One of the major subtexts of the health care debate involves the public's fear of indifferent, powerful bureaucrats ruling their lives. It is one thing to wait in line at the DMV to find out which other line you should wait in, in order to begin the process of waiting for multiple bureaucrats to go through the motions of processing your request. I have spent entire afternoons going through this process.
But when we get to health care, waiting often means enduring pain and dysfunction longer than necessary, sometimes a worsening of the condition, and sometimes death.
That's why I think this image will have genuine resonance. It captures something that older Americans in particular can relate to. The President presses ahead with a program that will tell them to take painkillers instead of getting that artificial hip.
At every stage of the entire Gates affair, Obama has provided a revealing tell. The "acted stupidly" blunder revealed that he automatically blames the police and thinks they really are stupid to begin with. It didn't trigger a single alarm bell in his mind as he figured out what to say.
Then, the non-apology apology revealed an arrogant man who cannot do what honest people do: admit it when they make a mistake.
Now at stage three, the beer photo op looked OK. It didn't turn into a disaster.
But then in a small moment that nobody in the White House had the brains to understand, Obama goes and send a body language message like this.
I think he is going to get deeper and deeper into trouble. He is no longer repeating the familiar scripts dreamed up for the campaign. He was a master performer.
But when he goes improv, as a president must do, he lets his true character show. This helps widen the level of doubt that Obama is the same guy a majority voted for. Those doubts can only grow.
Andrew McCarthy has assembled an overwhelming case that Obama has lied about who he is. I predict that more and more Americans will become open to the argument that they have been had by a sophisticated and ruthless effort to foist a phony on America.
Update from Clarice Feldman
A nice comparison of the character of the two most recent presidents. George Bush with Senator Robert Byrd: