Reading The Pictures: The Obama Connection

09/29/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Michael Shaw Publisher of the visual politics and media literacy site, Reading The Pictures.
 Mg 9920 Bw  Mg 0043 Bw  Mg 0058 Bw  Mg 0153 Bw

The difference between Obama and Clinton (either one) is that the Clintons are like LBJ, and Obama is like JFK, or RFK, or even Reagan.

Obama is a personal politician and the Clintons are parliamentarians. Although one imagines Obama will be perfectly adept at coalition building, bringing home the bacon, and managing a bureaucracy, his overriding strength is that he communicates directly to the individual.

Eighty thousand people, and every one feels like he's talking directly to them.

Update 10:13 am MST: In the previous version of this post, written at four in the morning as team effort, we were drawing a comparison between Obama (and JFK and RFK) and the Clintons (and LBJ) simply (we believed) as a way to highlight Obama's overriding skill at communicating to the individual. In the light of dawn after a long week, however, I see how the comments have the unintended effect of rekindling "Clinton versus Obama" and, more importantly, detracting from the overall story of the evening and the images.

In a week deliberately laden with historical echoes (JFK's 1960 Los Angeles Coliseum speech, MLK's 1963 March on Washington, and even LBJ's 100th birthday), what shone through on the final night as Barack Obama made his triumphant acceptance of the Democratic nomination was, once again, his personal connection and even magic.

The man in the first image under Obama is his political mentor, Emil Jones, president of the Illinois Senate.

For more of the visual, including our coverage of the DNC live from Denver, visit

(Images © Alan Chin.  Denver. 2008)

For more Huffington Post coverage of the Democratic National Convention, visit our Politics @ the DNC page, our Democratic Convention Big News Page, and our HuffPost bloggers' Twitter feed, live from Denver.