Vindication! OK, in the past I've moaned about how people may decry an obsession with something as "unimportant" as hairdos when, in fact, follicular arrangement can enhance or damage a career (ask John Edwards, the Spears girl, Nick Nolte). And so it is, too, with footwear issues. Ben Bernanke and Paul Wolfowitz, for instance, found out that even socks can be a headache, and Jim Webb's boots received much favorable coverage on the campaign trail in 2006 and became a powerful, perhaps even campaign-winning, symbol of his run. And do I really need to remind Pony Pals™ of Condi's signature gaffe, her "I'd rather be shopping" trip to Ferragamo during the Katrina crisis?
And so I greatly enjoyed Kevin Merida's peculiar article in this morning's Washington Post about Mitt Romney's speech to employees of Timberland yesterday in New Hampshire. Mitt gave a fine talk, by all accounts, but then committed a grave error by not following up and purchasing a pair of the awful foot uglifiers at the company's heavily-discounted store.
Unfortunately, Merida doesn't really take his subject seriously, nor does he understand Timberland's place in the footwear food chain (they're NOT hip or stylish; that's the whole point; that's why they're banned at clubs) and he basically hands the rest of the article over to Timberland CEO Jeff Swartz ("When I put on Timberlands, I feel unstoppable."), who nevertheless does understand the bigger issues brought on by the subject, even if the Post reporter is unwilling to critically analyze them.
The real issue here is elitists vs. populists, and Romney's failure to purchase a pair of the woefully ubiquitous Tims puts him squarely in the former category, unwilling to mix with the hoi polloi and unfazed by an unneeded bargain. Huckabee probably bought 500 pairs and sent them to the troops or something.
Gross. You wouldn't catch me dead in a pair of Tims. But then again, I gleefully admit to being an elitist. And I'm not running for office.