They are wearing T-shirts, baseball caps, promotional polo shirts and sundresses with bra straps sliding down their arm. They wear fuchsia bandannas and American-flag hankies wrapped around their skulls like sweatbands. A lot of them look as though they could be attending a sporting event and, as it turns out, the congressman is the opposing player they have decided to heckle. If not for the prohibition on signs and banners inside these meetings, one could well expect to see some of these volatile worker bees wearing face paint and foam fingers, albeit the highlighted digit would be one expressing foul displeasure rather than competitive rank or skill level....Robin Givhan's contempt for reform opponents oozes from the first half of her column, which probably entertains many of her readers, but keep reading. The most interesting thing is the contrast between these people and the member of Congress who shows up in a suit. Why don't these opponents wear suits and thereby project authority?
Would they garner more respect? Would they compel more lawmakers to rethink their positions rather than merely repeat, again and again -- in a voice that has the tone of an impatient kindergarten teacher -- the same core points?On the other hand, why doesn't the member of Congress dress down?
Washington's power brokers have suited up to underscore their authority and the seriousness of the subject matter. And bully for them. But their attire also says: I am the boss of you.All those howling citizens -- in their T-shirts and ball caps and baggy shorts -- are saying: No, you're not.The closed-minded confrontational quality of these meetings was understood and fixed in place as the various participants got dressed in the morning.
Now, speaking of suits, Robin Givhan did not do a column on Obama's beer summit with Henry Louis Gates Jr. and James Crowley (and Joe Biden).What's with wearing suits to drink beer at a picnic table, and what did it mean that Obama and Biden had taken their jackets off and Gates and Crowley were left to swelter in the summer heat? This was a topic set up so squarely for Givhan that I'm forced to think that she actively avoided it. Why?
Givhan is especially interested in men's suits. I've done 2 Bloggingheads diavlogs with her, and both times — 2 years ago and 1 year ago — she rhapsodized about the man's suit — "The suit is the triumph of civilization":