But Don't You Dare Call President Bush A Fashion Victim
The article in the Texas Statesman didn't seem that big a deal. An interesting, short comment piece about the changing styles of Bush's presidential dress, at home on his ranch in Crawford, Texas :
Bush has two distinct looks when he's in Texas: the ranch-hand man and the crisp appearance of a ranch owner. In recent months, with his sliding popularity, he's opted to look more like "Walker, Texas Ranger" than a sweaty, tough ranch hand.Critical, sure, but actually kind of helpful to the president. The writer appears to be trying to give President Bush some helpful fashion advice, and possibly having a bit of a laugh at the same time.
"As he loses popularity, his image is more and more critical," said Sara Canaday, an Austin-based communication and image consultant. "He's being advised wisely. He'd better step it up. He wants to have this sort of bravado image when he's on that ranch."
If that's the case, it's unlikely we'll see Bush with his 2002 Crawford photo-op accessories: aviator sunglasses, grungy, sweaty T-shirt, cowboy hat, light-colored jeans and Ford F-250.
The summer season at Crawford likely will mean Bush in sports jackets, slacks and the big belt buckle with the presidential seal he likes or the one from Rewards that he received as a gift. And of course, there likely will be those short-sleeved button-down shirts Bush favors.
Mr. President to line up work for life after the White House. Here's a thought: Follow the lead of Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet leader who is the new face of luxe brand Louis Vuitton.In his Western duds, Bush easily could model for Ralph Lauren. But if his popularity is still low through the end of his presidency, he could always try Wrangler
So no big deal, right?
Bush read the story, and he wasn't happy :
Last week, Marques Harper of the Austin American- Statesman wrote a short piece about the president's sartorial style on his Texas ranch, where Bush is spending a two-week vacation.As a fairly consistent Bush watcher, I can't recall any other news story in the past three years where word has got out that the president was so annoyed by what he read about himself he clearly gave permission for an aide to confront the journalist about what they had written, and perhaps more importantly, the conclusions they had reached.
Harper received a phone call....from White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino, who, Harper told friends, said the president read the article and was unhappy about the way he was portrayed.
"I was surprised," said the style writer, who declined to repeat the off-the-record conversation with Perino when we called.
"It was a piece that looked at his ranch wear at Crawford over the years," Harper told us yesterday. "It was a fun piece. Here in Austin, I got e-mails saying, 'That was the dumbest story I ever read.' "No laughing matter for the president, who apparently was offended that anyone would think he just dresses like a real rancher.
The New Hitler, war pig, dictator, ignorant fool, The Worst President In History, instigator of the worst foreign policy decision in five decades, appalling statesman, unfaithful husband. Bush has been called all of these things, and much worse, on radio, on cable TV and in countless newspaper columns, and he hasn't been riled.
But call him a Fashion Victim?
Well, clearly there is a line that no writer is allowed to cross.