Every Picture Tells a Story

10/10/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Some years ago MOMA had an exhibit on the history of photography. The general premise of the exhibit was that when photography first appeared on the scene people had their pictures taken because they were important to the culture. But it wasn't long before it was reversed and people were important to the culture because they had their picture taken.

I'd call it the Britney Spears phenomenon.

And so it is with this election. We now have a Republican Party running candidates who are
important because they are having their picture taken. Not for any good reason. Largely for bad ones, but they are still on the cover of every major news magazine in the country.

And Mr. Obama is out of the limelight. No news is bad news in an election. Being a good boy doesn't get coverage. But Sarah Palin has provided us with scandalous news on almost a daily basis. She's the center of attention. Even eclipsing the top of her own ticket. So who are we talking about? Who are we looking at? Not Obama.

He has to tell us his story in the same compelling way that she's telling hers. In a way that makes us feel he's just like us. The way she has.

It's a game we don't know how to play. And we'd better learn fast.

When was the last time a vice presidential candidate was on the cover of all the major gossip magazines? People, Star, Us. There she is with her pregnant daughter and her Down Syndrome son.

We have got to find a way to get back into the spotlight. We have got to find a way to have the American people understand that the presidential election is not an episode of American Idol. And if it's going to be conducted as if it were, Obama and Biden had better start practicing their song. They better sing out loud. And they might consider wearing bikinis. Because if they want to get people to listen to them, they're going to have to get their picture taken.