GOP candidates’ wardrobes mirror campaign success

Disclaimer: I know nothing about politics. But I have been told that the United States political system is broken, probably beyond repair, and that Congress, neck-deep in schemers and scoundrels, is the entity contributing most to this corruption. Politicians are liars, I’ve heard, and are only in it for the fame or the money. All hope has been lost. The times of Reagan, or Kennedy, or Lincoln, or whomever, depending on whom you ask and with whom they choose to nostalgically associate those blissful, golden days in their lives, are over, and America has got a one-way ticket for the toilet. Or so they say. I’m aware that if Kennedy’s alleged affair with Marilyn Monroe had been publicized during his lifetime to the extent that Newt Gingrich’s affair(s) have been, thanks to the Internet, we would probably have a slightly less fond recollection of Kennedy’s presidency today. Luckily, I am not concerned with any of this.
As people who are bad at math often have to do, I struggle to make it known that I am an “English person” and am largely concerned with loftier pursuits than just memorizing formulas and crunching numbers. It is the burden of the humanities to dissect the human condition. As such, the recent Republican debates, and the nomination process in general, are probably a gifted psychoanalyst’s or political scientist’s treasure trove. But I find that it’s much easier to judge the potential Republican nominees in a passing glance, basing my opinion almost entirely on their outward appearance in addition to only their most visible and obvious public actions. Though to be honest, it’s mainly hair, suits, and accessories that shape my perception of the Republican candidates.
Unfortunately for this article, arguably the two most compelling candidates to my untrained eye have already dropped out of the race. No one in the entire country counted Bachmann, so neither will I. Herman Cain and Rick Perry were polarizing figures, from what I could tell. Both appealed to a relatively small nationwide demographic. Perry seemed to garner most of his support from his home state of Texas, but was pretty much universally opposed by those who strayed even slightly from the hyper-conservative ideals the “America” Perry seemed to represent. His hilarious “Strong” ad didn’t help.

The Cain Train, as it were, was definitely boarded by a disproportionate number of Atlantans, due to Cain’s local radio presence on 750 WSB. These people often looked past his lack of experience and instead praised his business acumen, which was honed during his stint as CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, which is apparently a big deal, though I had never heard of it, nor have I met anyone who has ever consumed a Godfather’s pizza. But, tragically, Herman’s campaign was cut short due to sexual abuse accusations, whose alleged details are about as comical as anything of that nature can be. Cain was also known for quoting the Pokémon series during his speeches. Truly bizarre.

Neither of these men dressed particularly well during his time in the spotlight, but Governor Perry was the clear winner over Mr. Cain. Though he seemed to wear a toupee, he approached dressing with a subtle Texan swagger that we could all appreciate. I never really got a good look at his footwear, but I’m sure he was wearing cowboy boots with his suits, probably along with a large and garish belt buckle. He wore mostly muted grays and navies and appeared to have a decent variety of ties at his disposal. French cuffs were common, and some of them revealed a tasteful monogram of his initials if he raised his arms. Nice, but he left you wanting more.

A quick Google Image search for Herman Cain can attest to the fact that he wore a yellow silk or satin tie about 99 percent of the time during his campaign. This is not something to be applauded. I wonder which of his advisers told him that this was a good look. His cue ball head neither adds to nor detracts from his look. It simply is. He probably wore the same boxy, navy suit for the majority of his run, creating a monotony that could not be broken by his occasional injection of peak lapels into the rotation.

Maybe these men would have been able to stay in the running if they had taken a few more risks out on the campaign trail, just to get our attention. Like maybe a tuxedo t-shirt at a debate. Just a little something to keep the American people on their collective toes.
But they didn’t, and they are both out—out of the running and out of the collective American consciousness, for the most part. I should probably mention John Huntsman at this time too. He legitimately slipped my mind earlier as I was listing those who had dropped out, and I think that speaks to the amount of appeal he had as a potential nominee. Which was virtually none.
Maybe the most obvious stylistic offender of the remaining candidates is Rick Santorum, if only for his flagrant abuse of the sweater vest earlier this month. During this time, he went around making the baffling claim that these vests were “giving him power” and wore one publicly for about two weeks straight. And he still wants to be taken as a legitimate candidate. I am not making this up. Usually paired with a billowing button-down and stonewashed denim, Rick gave up whatever shot he may have once had with this vest move. His debate attire is predictably lackluster, and his hair is that of your average Buckhead dad.
Ron Paul, the “outsider” of this campaign, coordinates his appearance and his policies well, both of which are decidedly off-kilter compared to the rest of the field. This is of course relative, as his attire is only slightly less bland than the others at its craziest and practically indiscernible much of the time. Maybe this is just due to his being an old man, but Congressman Paul has accompanied his stock navy suit with some kind of polka dot tie in the two or three debates I have watched. There must be some rube-politician agreement that these guys sign before going on air, because Paul just had to ruin his tie by knotting it awkwardly and too-largely around his neck. Just too bad.
Newt Gingrich could very well be the Republican nominee, but that doesn’t mean I have to acknowledge him.
Unfortunately, the nomination isn’t based exclusively on hair, or else Mitt Romney would have bagged it months ago. He really subscribes to the same blandness everyone else does: white shirt, dark suit, solid-colored or subtly patterned tie. But it’s his hair that elevates him above the rest of the field. It is impeccably neat and exquisitely styled, with every groove from the teeth of his comb visible. His old-school ‘do is the closest his party has been to Reagan since that wonderfully haired President left the White House in 1989. And it’s that hair that wins him my endorsement.
So there you have it, my ill-informed guide to the current political climate in the United States of America. Those of you who are of age, print it out, fold it up, take it with you to the polls. Or just don’t vote. Because if you don’t want to vote your guy into office, rest assured, someone else will.