The student blog for Drake University first year seminar entitled Visual Politics

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

“At every turn, America’s men and women in uniform have served with courage and resolve. As Commander-in-Chief, I am proud of their service. Like all Americans, I am awed by their sacrifice, and by the sacrifices of their families.” This quote was from President Barack Obama during his speech that ended American intervention in Iraq. Despite this not being entirely true(50,000 troops will always be in Iraq to protect the oil reserves there) I couldn't help but notice a different Barack Obama than the one America has been used to seeing. The President looked tired. Obama wasn't thrusting his fists into the air. He wasn't showing America through hand signals and strong vocals why he is the leader of the United States. 

When looking at the oval office, it looks dim. This can be compared to the success of Obama's presidency so far. His support is falling. the Democrats will probably be losing the house and maybe the senate in the November elections. Things aren't as bright and cheerful as they were in 2008 when Obama got elected. When looking at all of the pictures in the backdrop of Obama's desk, we see a man that is very different from the one in those photos. The pictures hide what Obama is really feeling, and its fear. The man smiling in the pictures is not the man giving the speech about an end to "involvement" in Iraq. Its as if the flags, and the pictures were all photo shopped as the back drop to the oval office. Its as if the real pictures on Obama's desk have a picture of the number 9.6% which represents America's unemployment rate. Another picture would represent the economy and its ever growing debt. The reality is, the pictures of Obama and his family, the two flags, the little pin on Obama's suit coat are all little cover ups for the American people to soak up. Its as if these images are saying, "Its okay America, I'm still the same family oriented, solve all of America's problems guy I was back in 2008. I still believe in change." 

Yet the simple fact is Mr. President, I'm not buying it. The economy is still failing, that little thing called social security needs fixing, and there are still a multitude of other issues that need dealing with.

 In all fairness, Obama inherited a mess, but sometimes you have to let a mess fix itself. Sometimes, leaving the mop in the closet and letting the spot dry is the best thing to do. To wrap things up, this was a dim speech, in a dim time for the United States and our President. Our President knows it, and frankly the American people know it. America is not done in Iraq. Our involvement will not cease to exist until the oil dries up. Yet the President had to show the American people that he can follow through on a promise other than the one he made about health care. He did a fairly decent job projecting that image with this speech. Yet in the end, doubt and fear were the two main themes I saw. Whether it be a cover up to hide fear, or the President talking about Iraq to hide the doubt in the rest of the problems facing America now, and in the future. 

-Caleb Copley


  1. You mentioned something about President Obama showing fear in his speech. I respectfully disagree with your statement. I think the way President Obama carried himself in his speech showed confidence.
    Also, what does the unemployment rate have to do with the end of combat involvement in Iraq? It seems to me you are stretching a little far because of a personal bias against President Obama. We were supposed to analyze the background, not the President.
    Kelli Riesberg

  2. I have to agree with Kelli as many people in the class know I lean towards the right politically and I don't believe in everything the President does. I don't think that this blog is a place to attack the leader of the free world. I believe that this assignment should be about what a person sees not what a person believes politically.

    Carson Klug

  3. You took an interesting approach when analyzing the speech and what the images were portraying. First of all the office is not dim, it was properly lit with professional lighting and monitored throughout the speech. I feel that the look in our presidents eyes is not fear but confidence, if it were fear he would have poor posture and look intimidated. I do not see what having a happy family picture in the background has to do with him not being able to end the war. You also mentioned that sometimes you have to let a mess fix itself, this is will not work, a mess will not just go away. If you leave a spot on the floor like you said and put the mop away the mess will remain and most likely leaving a stain. The proper way to deal with a mess is to address the problem head on. I don't mean to attack your post i just think you're personal opinions of the president are clouding you're ability to analyze the images in the background.

  4. Your post started out very well and I can tell very easily that you are very opinionated and pay attention to politics. However, unless specifically asked to do so, try to keep personal bias out of analysis such as this as it tends to make your analysis sound more like opinion and thus less viable to others.
    Travis Ormsby