The latest from Ashley’s uncle: On Tuesday, we mentioned the grooming of the next generation—Ashley Parker.
The fatuous scribe had started a piece by detailing Mitt Romney’s clothes. As we cited Parker’s work, we should have cited her uncle too.
Good lord. One Sunday earlier, Ashley Parker's Uncle David had started his column like this:
IGNATIUS (10/30/11): Public figures in camouflageReally? They “make a point” of wearing open-neck shirts? How does Ignatius know that?
The art of modern politics involves creating the illusion of intimacy with our leaders. But two new biographies remind me that even the most famous personalities remain elusive and, in some ways, unknowable.
This combination of closeness and distance will be on display in the 2012 presidential election, in which, I’m guessing, the candidates will be Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. These two politicians have worked overtime to seem relaxed and accessible; they make a point of wearing open-neck shirts and casual clothes, to appear like ordinary folks. Each has written a book that explains his life story in fastidious detail.
This is of course a highly standardized novel. It was composed during the summer and fall of 1999, when it was relentlessly used to savage Candidate Gore. Candidates had been wearing casual clothes for decades, but now the practice was put to work against a disfavored candidate. Fatuous royals from Ingatius' set frisked every part of the candidate’s clothing. This included his boots, his suits, his blue jeans and khakis, the number of buttons he wore on his suits. And yes, it included his open-necked shirts! Eventually, this discussion occurred between the Welch-owned man-on-the-make, Brian Williams, and Newsweek’s own Bill Turque:
WILLIAMS (2/9/00): He has become the first vice president to campaign in kind of three-button sweaters [sic] and polo shirts, though we're seeing him in a rare moment in a suit on the screen right now. What in his personality, when an adviser came to him and said, "Ditch the suits," what aspect of his personality said, "You know what? You're right. They're gone! Here I go."Candidates had been campaigning in polo shirts roughly forever. Gore had campaigned in such clothes in the last three White House elections! But Williams pretended that this was all new. And when Gore wore a polo shirt this time, it meant that he had “a willingness to do whatever it took to survive!”
TURQUE: I think the aspect was a willingness to do whatever it took to survive. And that has been a thread throughout his career, his willingness to reinvent, if you will, himself and to take on whatever coloration he needed to, tactically and strategically, to survive.
What makes these life-forms say such things? Whatever it is, the penchant was back on display in Ignatius' recent column. In this case, Ignatius was semi-disturbed by the fake phony way Romney and Obama wear those open-necked shirts! And good lord! This is where the inanity led, just two Sundays ago:
IGNATIUS (continuing directly from above): And yet, for all this seeming self-revelation, Obama and Romney remain two supremely mysterious people. I find that the more the packagers try to show the inner man, the less I understand what makes him tick. The politicians remain camouflaged, even as their surface features become ever more recognizable.Really? Ignatius can’t understand who these two people are? Let us help him:
Romney is the greatest chameleon ever let loose on the presidential stage, by a very large factor. In recent campaigns, the “press corps” has pretended to be upset by flip-flopping—by the alleged flip-flopping of Candidate Kerry, for instance. They were so eager to be upset by Kerry, they pretended that he had flip-flopped on funding the troops, although he hadn’t done so.
No one in either party has ever come close to flipping as much as Romney has. He is in a class by himself, by a very wide margin. How difficult is it to say such a thing? For Ignatius, it’s tres difficile! Instead of noting this obvious point, he talks about open-necked shirts.
What kind of person is Obama? Among other things, he’s a person who lacked a clear social/political vision when he entered the White House. He inherited a very bad situation, but his lack of a clear worldview has shown. Instead of discussing those open-necked shirts, why not simply say so?
Ignatius wrote an amazingly foolish “Who is Gore” column during Campaign 2000 (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/26/99). Today, he still opens columns with daft musings about those open-necked shirts.
In fatuous players like Parker, these life-forms are grooming the next generation. When we mentioned Parker’s latest, we should have cited this too.