THE BLOG
10/25/2005 01:17 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Reading The Pictures: We've Looked At Rice From Both Sides Now. (...We Really Don't Know Rice At All.)

snarling-condi.jpg

Looking at this recent photo at YahooNews, the obvious question it raises is: how characteristic is it?

The question of character is of particular interest right now because of the dramatic split between the left's perception of Condi (which descended still lower with her latest re-justification of the war) and that of right, which along with much of the MSM, seems just as happy these days to promote her as a Cheney replacement or even Bush's successor.

To the latter audience, the more typical image of Rice is the one from Saturday taken during her game-interrupting "homecoming" at the Tennessee - Alabama football contest. (In a drastic collusion, The NYTimes actually used the occasion to pen the kick-off to a potential Condi '08 Presidential campaign.)

waving-condi.jpg

In considering which of these two Condi's is more representative, what seems to drive liberals crazy is the way in which Rice has remained above the fray in regards to the gathering PlameGate stink, and the still-escalating scandal over how the Administration sexed-up a war. As we well know, Rice's role as Bush's alter ego and "control point" while serving as National Security Advisor not only put her at the heart of the marketing of the WMD threat, but also in the immediate neighborhood of the Joe Wilson smear campaign.

What the right wing has been very effective at, however -- and seems to have convinced the media of -- is that Condi is either too nice, bright or high-minded to have engaged in such nasty things. In light of this carefully constructed image, a right winger would look at this top picture and instantly write it off as an anomaly, as a completely unrepresentative millisecond in time. (I call that spin in action.)

With the heavily promoted "smiley Condi" to deal with, it helps when you get occasional moments -- like this one below in which Condi was forced to confront a skeptical Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week -- which reveal a closer approximation of that uglier face.

testifying-condi.jpg

When that happens, it suddenly becomes much easier to appreciate that Condi -- arm in arms with her brothers in the Administration -- is dirty up to her eyebrows.

For more of the visual, visit BAGnewsNotes.com.

(image 1: Thomas Coex/AFP-File. October 14, 2005. (published October 23, 2005.) location undetermined. Via YahooNews. image 2: Rob Carr/A.P. October 22, 2005. Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Via YahooNews. image 3: Charles Dharapak/A.P. October 19, 2005. Capitol Hill. Via YahooNews.)