Self-absorbed New York Times columnist David Brooks is famous for his insipid belief that Barack Obama's pant crease meant that he'd be "a very good president," now it looks as though the Washington Post has decided to join him in sartorial absurdity by dispatching reporter Katherine Boyle to write a 700-word piece pondering the meaning of Paul Ryan's suit size.
Is this the beginning of a desperate attempt to Palinize the new GOP vice presidential nominee? It's too soon to tell but whatever the case, it is truly amazing to see Boyle ponder the larger significance of the suit that Ryan wore when GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney introduced him to voters last Saturday.
Boyle clearly spent a lot of time on this, interviewing several different people on the very important question of "How could a fitness buff with 6 to 8 percent body fat wear a suit that looked two sizes too big?"
But Ryan (Wis.) appeared rumpled, slightly sloppy for a vice-presidential candidate. As if he’d flown in hours before and mistakenly picked up someone else’s suitcase. His pants sagged at his ankles. His starched, white shirt bunched at his stomach. His dark jacket drooped, better suited for a man of the cloth than a man on a presidential ticket.
Ryan, a high-ranking House Republican, known as a stickler for numbers and a devotee of hard-core workouts, seemed oddly unconcerned about the clothes he wore during the most important announcement of his political career. How could a fitness buff with 6 to 8 percent body fat wear a suit that looked two sizes too big?
“Paul Ryan looked like what he is: a rumpled, think-tank policy wonk sort of guy,” said Christine K. Jahnke, president of Positive Communications, a Washington-based media and image-consultant company (her hundreds of clients have included The Washington Post). “I don’t think that will change as the campaign goes on. If he clicks it up too much, both he and Romney will have the distant CEO-Wall Street look.”
Perhaps his raw, slightly unkempt suit balances out Romney’s snazzier, controlled appearance. Ryan’s Midwestern sensibilities and baggy pants may appeal to swing voters who think cuff links are wasteful expenditures. The man believes in trimming budgets, not pant legs.
There's even more to Boyle's critical investigation, including an obligatory Palin mention:
In Ryan’s case, styling himself as a baggy-suited newcomer aligned with the party’s conservatives may be a wise strategy for the campaign. And it may steer Ryan away from the disaster that accompanied Sarah Palin’s 2008 wardrobe scandal, when financial disclosure records revealed that the Republican National Committee spent more than $150,000 on her clothing — which occurred after Lisa A. Kline was hired to handle Palin’s campaign makeover.
Perhaps that's true. Or maybe a suit is just a suit.