Barbara Bush’s pro-choice inclinations, consistent with the relentless practicality displayed by her heel height and sensible hairdo, was taken to be a much more significant indicator of her husband’s true position on abortion than anything he might have said to pro-life voters.Okay, obviously, the subject and the verb don't agree. You'd have thought The New Yorker, with all its pretensions about writing style, would never let a mistake like that through.
But let's move on.
What's practical -- let alone "relentlessly practical" -- about the big, teased, rigidly-in-place, bubble hairstyle? I see relentlessly practical hairstyles on women every day. Long, parted, naturally straight hair is relentlessly practical. Very short, Beatle-cut, thin hair is relentlessly practical. All-one-length, naturally curly hair is relentlessly practical. A slicked-back ponytail is relentlessly practical. You try getting your hair into a Barbara Bush/Ann Richards teased bubble without professional help!
I can't address the subject of Barbara Bush's shoes, as I have no mental picture to draw from, but what exactly is it about sensible shoes and hair that is supposed to suggest a pro-choice position on abortion? If the article weren't so hostile to George W. Bush overall, I would suspect the writer of having the old-fashioned sort of anti-feminist attitude that relied on the argument that feminists are feminists because they can't attract men or don't want to! So what's the point? An idle slam against Barbara Bush?
But the larger point here is that a Republican President who must say things to please his anti-abortion constituents does well to have a wife who signals to abortion rights supporters that they really don't need to worry that he'll take their rights away. The husband and wife conjoin into a mystical entity that works some political magic.