07/11/2006 01:30 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Reading The Pictures: "All Hat" ...As They Say Around The Ranch



Beyond the reference to gung-ho adventurism, the latest TIME cover offers a physical portrait of the Administration.

Given the emphasis on the hat, at least two other features become noticeably lacking -- a face and a head. Not surprisingly, this vision of a faceless, headless executive branch is turning up more and more lately. The newswire shot of Bush, behind the lectern, was taken last month during an address to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the illustration, "Losing Face," fronted the May 29, 2006 New Yorker.

Given the headline, what we're presented with is "the full body" of White House diplomacy. But how much is there really to speak of? The "Cowboy" phase offered no diplomacy at all, and its successor (dare we call it "the Rice Doctrine") is failingly defined in the TIME article as 'process in the place of progress.' (Correcting TIME, Media Matters more accurately reveals Condi as ideologically "absent," having only recently and arbitrarily stashed her own cowgirl hat.)

Framed in corporeal terms, all three images emphasize an Administration posse that remains headless in terms of leadership; mindless in terms of policy; faceless in terms of world respect; and "miniscule" in its ability to marshall up a consistent body of thought. ("All hat," as they say around the ranch.)

Worse yet, according to TIME's prognosis, the mindlessness is now so encompassing, this midget gang has lost access to its arms, legs and guts, as well.

For more of the visual, visit

(image 1: unattributed. TIME. July 17, 2006. cover. image 2: Larry Downing/Reuters. Washington. June 1, 2006. Via YahooNews. image 3: Francoise Mouly. "Losing Face." May 29, 2006. The New Yorker.)