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August 20, 2007

Fred Thompson’s Guccis and the Iowans Who Love Them


Apparently, Fred Thompson had lapses of judgment during his trip to Iowa last week. No, he didn’t suggest he would bomb Pakistan. He didn’t state that he was going to “take” anybody’s earned profits, nor did he make any similar political faux-pas. That was someone else. He did, however, wear Gucci loafers and ride around in a golf cart.


That’s right. According to Fox News, Thompson’s Iowa travels involved mistakes such as “wearing Gucci loafers at a country fair.”


Really? That’s the mistake? Before we even get to the merits of wearing Gucci loafers (which in the video look a lot more like Ferragamo loafers, but I digress), it would be captivating to examine what that statement is saying about the people of Iowa.


Are all Iowans really so poor, backwards and unfashionable as to be offended by Gucci loafers? Apparently, to Fox News (and certainly much of the remaining media), Iowa is not too far above a Third World country, and wearing Gucci loafers to one of their country fairs is equivalent to driving your Ferrari through an impoverished Sri Lankan village while gnawing on a filet mignon. In both cases, it just might cause those sandal-wearing commoners a collective seizure.


By suggesting that a candidate might actually hurt his image among Iowans by wearing decent shoes and using a golf cart, the media is essentially treating Iowans much like the movie “Borat” treated southerners. What are presidential candidates supposed to wear when they go to Iowa anyway? Boots and overalls? Perhaps come in riding in one of Howard Dean’s pick-up trucks with a confederate flag on the back. Why don’t we throw in a pitchfork, too? And knock out a couple of teeth, just to complete the image.


There is simply no reason for Americans to care what these candidates are wearing. After all, altering one’s wardrobe solely for political advantage reflects a character worse than the one being avoided in the first place. It is a much lesser sin to dress and act in a manner permitted by your riches than to mislead others about your lifestyle of choice.


And so what if presidential candidates are rich? With the exception of John “Heinz” Kerry, they have earned the money they now have every right to spend as they wish. If dropping a few hundred dollars on a pair of shoes can satisfy a potential president and clear his mind even a tiny bit, then we should all be in full support of it. If he has become accustomed to a life of comfort that involves moving around in a golf cart, well, that just sounds like a much more efficient use of a valuable person’s time.


By that logic, would it be a double-standard to disapprove of presidential candidate John Edwards’s $400 haircut? Well, not necessarily.


We shouldn’t mock John Edwards for being a people’s politician who spent $400 on his hair. We should mock him for being a human male who spent $400 on his hair. The idea here is that it is acceptable for politicians to take with them publicly what they are comfortable with in normal, private life. And while it is customary for the average Joe, or the average comfortable Joe, to wear Gucci shoes, little justifies that much money spent on a hair cut. What did that stylist do, trim each hair individually?


Well, also, the thought of John Edwards going on his poverty tour with a haircut that could buy someone an old car is fairly amusing as well.


But again, it shouldn’t matter what he does with himself. In fact, we should encourage (legitimate) behavior that makes politicians more comfortable. For one, it encourages more qualified rich individuals to enter the political scene. Further, it decreases politicians’ stress levels, puts them in a better mood and gives them a more comfortable environment in which to brainstorm. And of course, it allows us to have a better view of who they really are.


Maybe in that new environment, Edwards can realize that when he forces up the minimum wage and raises taxes on the rich, including his favorite salon owner, that owner is going to have to fire many of his hair-sweepers and cut back on hiring more stylists – which would just be so blasphemous.


Leave them alone. Let the politicians wear their Gucci loafers and get their magical haircuts. Let them get Gucci haircuts, whatever those are, for all we care. There are far more important things to worry about. Apparently some of the people running want to take our profits and bomb Pakistan with them.


© 2007 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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