The senator was in New Hampshire over the weekend, sporting what's getting to be the classic Obama look. Call it business casual, a jacket, a collared shirt, but no tie.How many ways can you count the stupidty of this. Is it the spending of that much air time to talk about clothes? Or is it the stupid analysis of what the clothes really really mean? Or how about my personal favorite, comparing the guy to every current FBI criminal terrarist poster that currently hangs in the nations post offices?
It is a look the senator seems to favor. And why not? It is dressy enough to suggest seriousness of purpose, but without the stuffiness of a tie, much less a suit. There is a comfort level here that reflects one of Obama's strongest political assets, a sense that he is comfortable in his own skin, that he knows who he is.
If you want a striking contrast, check out Senator John Kerry as he campaigned back in 2004. He often appeared without a tie, but clad in a blazer, the kind of casual look you see at country clubs and lawn parties in the Hamptons and other toned (ph) locations.
When President Bush wanted in casual mode, he skipped the jacket entirely. Third-generation Skull and Bones at Yale? Don't be silly. Nobody here but us Texas ranchers.
You can think of Bush's apparel as a kind of homage to Ronald Reagan. He may have spent much of his life in Hollywood, but the brush-cutting ranch hand was the image his followers loved, just as the Kennedy sea ferry look provided a striking contrast with, say, Richard Nixon, who apparently couldn't even set out on a beach walk without that "I wish I had spent more time at the office" look.
But, in the case of Obama, he may be walking around with a sartorial time bomb. Ask yourself, is there any other major public figure who dresses the way he does? Why, yes. It is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who, unlike most of his predecessors, seems to have skipped through enough copies of "GQ" to find the jacket-and-no-tie look agreeable.
And maybe that's not the comparison a possible presidential contender really wants to evoke.
GREENFIELD: Now, it is one thing to have a last name that sounds like Osama and a middle name, Hussein, that is probably less than helpful. But an outfit that reminds people of a charter member of the axis of evil, why, this could leave his presidential hopes hanging by a thread. Or is that threads? -- Wolf.
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