Tuesday, January 25, 2005


The Blue-Tie President

George w. Bush always wears the same silver-blue tie, whenever he wears a tie. (I do not count cowboy string ties.) Why does this disturbing fact go essentially without public comment?

The fact is that modern presidential candidates seem to pick a tie and ride it to the bitter end. In 2004, Kerry was the red-tie candidate and Bush stayed with the blue tie that I'm pretty sure he wore throughout the 2000 presidential race.

What's the deal? And why do I find this disturbing? I'm not sure exactly, but it feels like a secret code that I'm not privy to, a kind of presidential candidate gang sign. Plainly, presidential candidates are required by some unwritten rule to suit up (i.e., when wearing business attire, not when wearing their studied casual garbed) in the colors of the American flag: white shirt, and either blue or red tie. And since it would be a disaster for our political system for opposing candidates to wear the same color tie, it seems as though one chooses blue and the other red. I suppose it's a detail hammered out by the candidates' advance people early on in the campaign.

I don't quite get why they have to stick to one color and what it means. A dogged consistency, perhaps? "I will not admit the war in Iraq was a major policy failure as long as I wear my blue tie" or "I will wear this tie until the fire of freedom burns in Iraq rather than the fire of terrorist bombs"?

I have an unconfirmed hunch that the habit of Presidential candidates tying themselves to one color tie is perhaps the greatest (or at least, the least offensive) legacy of the late, beloved Ronald Reagan. I recall him wearning a red tie all the time. Before Reagan it was the 70s, and who knows what color ties Jimmy Carter wore -- earth tones and avocado, I'm guessing. And gong back much before that, it was all black and white.

I don't mean to suggest that Bush has only one blue tie. Let's be real -- this is the man who, in his first term, nearly choked to death on a pretzel. The man undoubtedly gets food stains on his tie. So like those movie scenes showing the closet of the super-rich anal bachelor, who has a solid row of identical white shirts and black suits, I imagine Bush has a neat hanging row of, like, 50 silver-blue ties.

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