August 15, 2009

About those angry mobs at the townhall meetings...

They dress like hell.
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":


traditionalguy said...

If Bob Dylan showed up at a townhall meeting dressed in a suit, would he please these critics or just be called a phony? Authority must be conferred upon the authorities by something. In the unique American system that authority comes from the consent of the governed voters and therefore can be withheld as well by those voters. The belief that media spin control and money has already bought off enough of the voters that authority is already irreversably conferred has created a level of arrogance in DC that is only now being exposed. How fast the media psychologists can recreate their control over minds is the issue of the day. Watch for Ridicule by the dump truck load being wheeled in and dumped on the ignorant Mob and that Whack Job Palin all weekend. But it will not work this time.

Chase said...

Enough already about suits! Let's talk about what really makes a difference in matters of public authority:

Ann and Robin's hair in those 2 videos!

bearbee said...

Well we now know the priorities should be.

wv: efici=electronic shit

Jason (the commenter) said...

Althouse : This was a topic set up so squarely for Givhan that I'm forced to think that she actively avoided it. Why?

I would be interested to hear what she has to say. Perhaps she likes Obama and thinks the analysis or the event itself were unflattering to him.

I think the jacketlessness on the part of Obama and Biden were a desperate attempt to make the meeting seem cordial.

KCFleming said...

"but it will not work this time."

Of course it will. This bill may die, though I doubt it, but a health bill will be passed. Though it will look somewhat less horrible than the current bill, the effect will be the same: incremental socialism will progress.

It's a steamroller, baby, gonna roll on over you. That's what electing a Democratic President, House and Senate means.

VW "achess": What national health care access feels like.

former law student said...

The business or (as still known in the UK) lounge suit originated as leisure wear. Thus the Representatives are dressing comfortably for the town hall meetings.

Christy said...

Givhan has received the memo. If the unbelievers show up looking like regular citizens call them an angry mob, too stupid to make enough money for nice clothes. If they show up looking well dressed call them flaks for the RNC and evil corporations.

One of the toughest lessons I've had to learn is that some people are so intransigent in their prejudices that they will never, ever see anything decent in the others. We can waste a lot of our lives trying to change those minds.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Wait!!! According to Nancy Pelosi or some other twit on the Democrat side, these astroturf fake people are well dressed. You know, just like the 2000 Florida election that was stolen from them....waaaaahhh.

So clever to all dress like it is a come as you are party so it doesn't look like you are part of a well oiled orgainzed machine.

At least the protesters aren't all wearing the same ACORN or Union label shirts like the "real" protesters do.

/sarcasm off

wv = dhervent the act of venting in germany

Will said...

I note that the President has been doing his 'town hall' meetings wearing open-collared shirts with the sleeves rolled up. To me, that seems inappropriately casual.

Shanna said...

Wait!!! According to Nancy Pelosi or some other twit on the Democrat side, these astroturf fake people are well dressed.

Ha. In watching the actual townhall meetings I had almost forgotten this. Perhaps the casual dress is a purposeful attempt to say STFU to Pelosi and her ilk. You notice almost half the questioners telling their congressmen "I was not sent here by anybody, I am speaking for myself". You have to know that has contributed to the anger.

Also, it's summer. People don't dress up in summer unless they have a reason. I don't think most of these congresspeople deserve getting dressed up for anymore. Especially if they are going to take cell phone calls during a townhall.

HT said...

So many threads to pull apart here. First, I am not with those screaming people at the townhall meetings in the slightest. But that they are casual or too casual is nothing new. People go to the Capitol of the US and the White House in shorts and sneakers.

Second, Robin Ghivan has precious little of originality to say, evidenced by her repetitive line "the suit hides a multitude of sins." Right. Now, say something else! If she were any good, she would not be at the Post. That is


Finally, are you listening Meade? Wonder if HE ever wears shorts? Or is Ann more forgiving now?

Chennaul said...

You know their gal that faked being a Pediatric Primary Care Physician at Sheila Jackson Lee's Town Hall wore a little white business suit.....

She claims that she just lied at the last minute-but it sure looks like she planned ahead to dress up for her part.

And, she got a front row seat.

All an accident, natch.

Methadras said...

Oh, let's not discuss the content of the argument of revamping an entire system by which people rely on with their own sweat equity to have to take care of their health concerns by enveloping 300 million people trying to cater to 47 alleged uninsured instead. But rather let's discuss the dichotomy of their dress as a function of their middle to lower class anger as a contrast against the effete nature of the suit wearing all-knowing congressman or senator.

Anonymous said...

"The suit is the triumph of civilization"

No, no, no. She is absolutely wrong. It is the tuxedo. There is not a man in the world, beggar or President, who does not look stunning in a tuxedo.

Bissage said...

Thank you, Iapetus, but I have two heads, three arms and four legs so you would be wrong about that.

Oh, wait a minute! You said stunning, so yeah, I guess we’re still in the right ballpark.

wv = pecer. Maybe Harvey, but it's still a dirty word.

former law student said...

President has been doing his 'town hall' meetings wearing open-collared shirts with the sleeves rolled up. To me, that seems inappropriately casual.

I believe it's meant to signify that Obama's working really hard. You always "roll up your sleeves and get to work." When you work up a sweat, first you take off your jacket, and then your tie.

wv: typaile -- like carpal tunnel, an ailment induced by keyboarding.

Paco Wové said...

I wonder what Givhan would think of this guy. No-class trailer trash, no doubt. Stupid proles and their stupid opinions!

Paco Wové said...

...and he probably has a gun jammed down his pants, and his breath reeks of Cheetos and grits!

Revenant said...

When conservative and moderate protesters dress badly, they get a response like this. When they dress well, the press sneers "Brooks Brothers riot".

Yawn. This is yet another example of why most news media outlets are circling the drain.

Tiny Bunch said...

Would the politicians still wear suits if they had to stand in line for hours to get in?