In the Loop: Shout at a dictator, get some v.p. cred

Al Kamen
Columnist April 11, 2012

President Obama is off on Air Force One to attend the Summit of the Americas this weekend in the beautiful seaside city of Cartagena, Colombia.

Secretary of State Hillary “The Texter” Clinton will be taking her plane — then heading from there to meetings in Brasilia and Brussels.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993. View Archive

And Hill folks will also be headed to the quadrennial mega-gabfest to grip and grin with 30 or more other heads of government.

(The fun will be to see how things go when they run into lefty anti-Americans such as Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez or Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega .)

A couple of House congressional delegations — including a bipartisan group headed by House Foreign Affairs subcommittee chairman Connie Mack (R-Fla.) — are packing to go. Also signed up are Reps. David Rivera (R-Fla.), Albio Sires (D-N.J.), Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), Henry Cuellar (D-Tex.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) and Sander M. Levin (D-Mich.).

Curiously, not many senators seem to be going. In fact, it may be that the only one going from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a possible vice presidential pick, who we’re told is flying commercial to attend.

Seems as if he’s going through a lot of trouble. “Senator Rubio has pushed to promote democracy” in the region, spokesman Alex Conant explained. “This summit is a good opportunity for Senator Rubio to discuss the importance of democracy with leaders from around the region.”

Well, if handled properly, it could also help boost his foreign-policy chops.

Reminds us of a foreign jaunt made by another potential vice presidential pick back in 2004. That would be John Edwards , whose criminal trial is set to begin Thursday in Greensboro, N.C.

Edwards is charged with violating campaign finance laws related to the payment by two wealthy donors of nearly $1 million to help hide his pregnant mistress while he was running for president. (What was he going to do with her and the kid if he won?)

Edwards gave a speech in June 2004 at the Bilderberg conference that was widely credited as one reason John Kerry chose him.

Edwards told the uber-secret global power brokers of “the insecurity of American workers that persists even when economic statistics” get better, the New York Times reported. (Might be a theme for Mitt Romney to pick up on if the economy is improving in the fall.)

Okay. So a nice shouting match with Hugo or Danny, appropriately videotaped, would be excellent.

The stuff that memesare made of

Even Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is embracing the viral “Texts from Hillary” meme — which mashed up a photo of a sunglasses-wearing Clinton with captions that imagine her text conversations with everyone from Mitt Romney to Ryan Gosling. But not everyone was as thrilled, namely, the photographer who snapped the iconic image.

Diana Walker , the award-winning photographer who shot the picture while on assignment with Time magazine, was concerned when her photo started swirling around the Internet. She hadn’t been asked, paid or credited for the use of her work, she says.

But the story has a happy ending: The creators of the site finally added a credit line for the photos, and that’s enough for Walker.

“I’m following Secretary Clinton’s lead and being amused and taken with the idea that this picture is all over the world,” she says. Still, she notes, the incident underscores the conflicts between photographers, who want to control their work, and the wide world of the Internet, where everything seems free. “There needs to be a dialogue about this,” she says.

Walker insists that she didn’t realize how powerful the image would be when she captured the black-and-white photo, which she — along with Reuters photographer Kevin Lamarque, who shot a color version that’s also being used on the Tumblr site — took during a flight to Libya late last year.

And she wishes that people who want to grab photos from the Internet and use them for their own purposes would make an effort to contact their creators. “Before they used it, how about a call to me?” she asked. But, she admits, that might have resulted in no such memorable meme. “I’m not sure I would have said yes.”

Stop calling them ‘rich’

This week’s Loop Quote of the Week award goes to former president George W. Bush, who reminds us to use the proper terminology when referring to certain Americans who have more access to money than other Americans do.

Bush spoke Tuesday at a tax-policy conference in New York hosted by his presidential institute.

“If you raise taxes on the so-called rich, you’re really raising taxes on the job creators,” he explained. So if you want “private-sector growth,” the best thing to do “is to leave capital in the treasuries of the job creators,” Bush said.

We thought those folks were called “rich” because, well, they are. But that, apparently, is not the proper term. They are the “job creators.” So President Obama’s deplorable class-warfare rhetoric pits the so-called poor and middle classes against the job-creator class.

And don’t try to sneak around that by calling them wealthy, bigwigs, plutocrats, oligarchs, fat cats, tycoons or robber barons.

They are the true working class, going 24-7 to create jobs for you and other ingrates.

With Emily Heil

The blog: washingtonpost.com/
intheloop; Twitter: @InTheLoopWP

Comments
Show Comments
Most Read Politics