Never shy about tapping into public perceptions or crafting cultural iconography, “The New Yorker” has created a cover of the first presidential debate between PresidentBarack Obama and GOP opponent, Mitt Romney, that is sure to raise some eyebrows.
The cover is a caricature of the roles the two politicians seemed to be playing that night: Mittens as stern-faced and self-righteous savior of the free world, and the POTUS as, well, an empty chair. The latter being a clear parody of Clint Eastwood‘s spectacularly awkward and spontaneous performance at the Republican National Convention.
Moderator, Jim Lehrer, is depicted as an out-of-focus figure in the background, which is the most authentic image of the cover.
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“The New Yorker” was embroiled in controversy in 2008 after it depicted the First Couple as Islamic, militant, fist-bumping terrorists. At the time, the magazine argued that the cover’s purpose was to shine the light on the ignorance assumptions and stereotypes that were still prevalent in the world.
Called “The Politics of Fear,” the press release stated that the purpose of the cover was to “satirize the use of scare tactics and misinformation in the Presidential election to derail Barack Obama’s campaign.”
Though the President’s debate performance was rather weak, the consensus seems to be that he won on substance, while Romney won on the style. Still, an even funnier cover would have been Romney wiping his face with that giant cheat sheet that he handed off to his son at the end of the debate. Though his campaign insists that it was a handkerchief, Romney has been busted for telling 27 lies in 38 minutes. So what’s another lie to add to the pot?
As he told the POTUS in the debate:
“Look, I’ve got five boys,” Romney added. “I’m used to people saying something that’s not always true but just keep repeating it and ultimately hoping I’ll believe it. But that is not the case.”
No one believes you, Mittens.
As for “The New Yorker” cover, President Obama is probably less concerned with them drawing him into a chair, than actually occupying the chair of the Oval Office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.