Politico’s Mike Allen says one of his favorite stories he wrote describes a debate among bureaucrats about whether a hot dog is a meal or a snack.
Every single thing that I’ve written since then,” Allen said, “whether it’s about a mayor or a governor or senator or president, it all boils down to, ‘Hot Dog: A Meal or a Snack?’ All great questions come from small questions.
In the controversial New York Times piece about the influence of senior adviser to the president Valerie Jarrett, Jo Becker did not ask a couple of small questions that could have lead to a great question. The first small question is “Did Jarrett teach the President how to do the lazy altar boy pose?”
It looks like this:
And from the side like this.
It’s an odd pose. Try it and you’ll see why. It’s unnatural, even theatrical. Do many world leaders do it? I’ve spotted two so far. Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez.
And the Queen of England.
Oh, and a third: Valerie Jarrett.
This is her “go to” pose. Here she strikes a lazy altar boy with Sex and the City’s Kristin Davis at a recent Oxfam America fundraiser.
Few women pose that way.
When we see both the president and his most important longtime adviser strike the same odd pose it’s time to ask a small, silly question. It might explain other things we have seen during this administration. For example, the New York Times piece describes Jarrett as
…the guiding hand in everything from who sits on the Supreme Court to who sits next to whom at state dinners….
Now that we know that, the official cabinet photograph is a bit easier to understand. Look at their hands.
Based on the extent of Jarrett’s influence reported by the Times, it seems likely that she had her interlaced fingers in this. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Posing people is no sin. True, on the day you have reach the top of your profession it would be nice if you weren’t asked to pose like a Brownie troop.
And in a more normal pose poor Kathleen Sebelius would not look like she is in an ad for universal healthcare.
So aside from the simple silliness of the pose, there’s nothing wrong going on here. But if you accept the premise that Jarrett was involved, then suddenly the photograph becomes fascinating because one person is not cooperating. Take a look at Hillary Clinton.
Hillary’s almost endearing refusal to toe the new company line begs the second small question: Why has she decided she is having none of this foolish interlacing of fingers that has been so obviously suggested to the group? As I think Mike Allen would agree, it is a small question that could lead to a really great question. Given the tremendous potential for reader interest, it is odd that the New York Times did not ask the question: “How are Hillary and Valerie getting along?”