Before the Platform Committee

Ideological differences, if any, aside, HuffPo’s Fashion Whip says there’s one reason to prefer Sarah Palin over Michele Bachmann: better shoes.

Michele Bachman announcing her candidacy for PresidentOkay, that’s technically two reasons, or at least two at a time. Chunky sandals in this context, declares the Whip, are just so last century:

Women’s shoes still speak volumes in the political arena, whether or not we like to admit it. In 2005, then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice conveyed U.S. power in knee high boots at a time when America was facing a global PR crisis. More recently, Sarah Palin traipsed from Wasilla to Washington punditry on glamorous stiletto heels, while Michelle Obama encouraged women to feel dressed-up in a pair of pointy flats. The perpetually stylish Jill Biden show how to elongate one’s legs with her daring, nude stiletto heels.

One wonders whether Bachmann’s schlubby shoes are merely her latest political calculation — a two-and-a-half-inch signifier of the everyday mom turned national candidate. Perhaps Bachmann’s jumbled look conveys the aura of a person who can dress for success after more than a decade in elected office, yet is not so pointy-toed as to have stepped beyond her Minnesota roots.

Political calculation is not, of course, impossible, but I don’t think that’s the issue: I’m going out on a limb here and guessing that the same malevolent force that gives Bachmann her migraines might also cause her massive pain at any heel height deemed fashionable.

(Tweeted in my general direction by Michael Bates; a tip of her choice of headgear to Tabitha Hale.)


  1. fillyjonk »

    26 August 2011 · 8:03 am

    I say we start looking at the male candidate’s shoes, then, and comparing THEM.

    If you dress up TOO much, you’re an airhead who knows nothing; if you’re too dowdy you’re a frump and not with-it.

    We really haven’t come such a long way, baby.

  2. CGHill »

    26 August 2011 · 8:12 am

    Go up a little.

    Then consider this:

    “I remember distinctly an image of — we were sitting on his couches, and I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant,” [David] Brooks says, “and I’m thinking, a) he’s going to be president and b) he’ll be a very good president.”

    Equal-opportunity superficiality.

  3. fillyjonk »

    26 August 2011 · 8:37 am

    And people wonder why we wind up with the politicians that we do.

  4. Lynn »

    26 August 2011 · 8:40 am

    If I ever run for public office I’m wearing my brown t-strap Earth shoes and I hope they’re all over the news.

  5. Andrea Harris »

    26 August 2011 · 10:13 am

    “Women’s shoes still speak volumes in the political arena, whether or not we like to admit it.”

    No they don’t. Though I did like Rice’s boots.

  6. Francis W. Porretto »

    26 August 2011 · 2:14 pm

    Anyone else remember Marcia Clark, the “street fighter in high heels?”

    Like it or not, women’s fashion choices and overall appearances matter. More, they appear to matter just as much to other women as to men. Insist on “being yourself” at your own peril.

    (Duyen, where are you when I need you?)

  7. Classical Values » These are the times that try women’s soles »

    28 August 2011 · 1:32 pm

    […] national issue had the inimitable Charles G. Hill not spotted it in an amusing post titled “Before the Platform Committee.” He thinks a malevolent force may underlie Bachmann’s shoe choices: I’m going out on […]

RSS feed for comments on this post