Startling results in the race to claim the Democratic nomination - over the past two weeks the guys with the good hair grabbed the attention of caucus participants across the cold wintry state of Iowa. Kerry and Edwards claimed the first and second spots last night, and today blue dress shirts are flying off the shelves as ex-Gephardt campaign staffers scramble to jump on the bandwagon. Elsewhere in the Style section, Wesley Clark has been taking a lot of heat for picking up a grey argyle sweater in an attempt to soften his image. Then again, maybe he was just trying to stay warm while trying to fufill his New Year's Resolution: meet every Democrat in New Hampshire by January 27.
Unfortunately, Clark is now trying to spin out of the argyle sweater story (he's selling it on Ebay, with the proceeds to charity). The sweater has become something of a liability instead of simple prop. Clark's encouraged the media to cover of previous sweater purchases, likely thanks to the advice of Chris Lehane, one of his senior strategists. Normally, these tips for talking heads are just one part of the common-sense advice we PR pros give to all prospective spokespersons. Unless your candidate has already been well-identified as a charming but uptight former four-star general.
All this reminds me of a song from about ten years ago: "The Sweater":
Now if the sweater has, like, reindeer on it or is a funny color like yellow, I'm sorry but you can't get away with a sweater like that.
Look for brown or gray or blue
Anything other than that and you know you're dealing with someone who's different
And different is not what you're looking for
You're looking for those Alpine-ski chiseled features and that sort of blank look which passes for deep thought or at least the notion that someone's home
You're looking for the boy of your dreams who is the same boy in the dreams of all of your friends ...
You look at that sweater, carefully
And you realize that love made you temporarily blind
You've got a secret now, honey, and though you would never sink as low as him
you could blab it all over the school if you wanted
The label in that sweater said 100% Acrylic.