NOTE: BagNewsNotes is now located at Please update your bookmarks.

You will be automatically redirected in a few seconds...

« Russia Resurgent: One Side Of The Same Coin | Main | Setting The Table For Denver, LA Times Plays "The Celebrity Card" »

Aug 19, 2008

Looking Into A Man's Sole





Isabel Wilkinson's entry at Huffington Post back on July 30th had all the built-in footwork to reveal McCain, with his pricey Ferragamos, as the real elitist in the presidential race.  Still, many readers questioned whether concentrating on $520 loafers was sinking too far below the belt.

Coming from the candidate who called for a high-minded campaign, then almost immediately kicked off a shallow and continuous string of character attacks, however, McCain has specifically determined that privilege and elitism would become central themes in this election fight.

Given that context, this private jet provides the best background I could think of for McCain's elite footwear.  Taken in April '07, this image from the primary season highlights a point -- about a month after McCain stopped using Cindy's Cessna Citation virtually free of charge -- when the media started giving him some heat for it.

Just like Cheney wearing those beat up loafers on a diplomatic trip to the Middle East, the focus here is not fashion, however -- it's character.  And with that in mind, the immediate and best comparison to McCain is not Adlai Stevenson, but his projective target, Barack Obama.

This shot of Obama might be speaking to frugality or inordinate attachment or simply priorities placed elsewhere, but unlike his well-heeled opponent, celebrity style and ostentatious wealth is not what immediately comes to mind.

(h/t: Sara)

(image 1:  Stephan Savoia/AP.  White Plains, N.Y.  April 23, 2007.  image 2: Callie Shell/TIME.  March 1, 2008.  Providence, Rhode Island via


Adlai Stevenson also liked to show the holes in this soles. And he lost the election. Beware Obama...

the focus here is not fashion, however -- it's character

Until such time as the media decides that McCain's best interests (and theirs) is best served by fashion. Undoubtedly, Obama's thin soles are good for McCain (whom I think has no soul at all).


If I'm not mistaken, Obama's footwear shows "half-soles", a method of re-soling shoes to extend their life. It's these half-soles that are now worn through. Most people just buy new shoes when their old ones wear out. Obama (or an aide) apparently makes a trip to the shoe repair shop. I thought I was the only one left who still takes such frugal steps, no pun intended. Elitist, he ain't.

When discussing elitism, please use the senior senator from Arizona's full name, John Sidney McCain III.

If McCain is intentionally taking the "elitism" tack, ascribe it to a diehard faith in the Rovian tactic of preemptively tagging your opponent with your own Achilles' heel. There is no way on God's earth that a clear-thinking mind could look at McCain and Obama and see the latter as the "elitist" candidate. It can only stick through the powers of the Republican/conventional-media rhetorical reiteration machine. The way that trick worked for Bush Jr. will surely be a case study in university poli-sci programs for future generations. (Kerry was the elitist! Kerry was the military failure! etc.) I would like to say that it can't work this time -- the right-wing base just doesn't have that foundational trust in McCain that it takes to make this con work (it requires that basic human tendency to want to see things in the best possible light for those we believe in). Time alone will tell. I do think Obama's spin machine is much, much smarter. THey don't have the media machinery in place, the corporate media may never shift away from Bush's politics the way the mainstream public have. It will continue to be interesting to watch this play out.

"Ferragamo" now is that an American brand of shoes I'm not familiar with? But I'm sure he bought them from an American or perhaps he has them flown in so they are fresh. Ferragamo, does it make belts also? Let's have a substantive discussion about fashion. Say haircuts. Is it more elitist to wear $500 shoes or get a $400 haircut [Clinton, Edwards] use their prior bs to generate new bs buzz. Clinton's and Edwards's haircuts were "made" in America after all.

Let's not forget when Cheney went to the 60th anniversary of Auschwitz, he was bundled up in a parka and a gimme pullover cap, w/ heavy boots; while the others were in formal, respectful black. All that bastard needed was his shotgun to shoot somebody.

By golly, those ARE half-soled. Where the hell did he find a shoe repairman?

I immediately recalled the Stevenson photo from the 50's. As I remember it, the press just kept at it, how disgraceful it was. But really, underneath all that hoopla, was the fact that Stevenson was just too effin' smart for amuraka. The common man just couldn't trust them college educated folks. Certainly not for president. Thus, no President Stevenson.

I admit I did have the thought that Obama might have done this as a set up. One wonders if he is even aware of old Adlai. But then, aren't they both from Illinois politics? I dunno, those shoes look very, very well worn, so my guess is they are very, very comfortable. And in March he was so busy that shoes were probably the last thing on his mind.

But there is that intelligence thing.

BTW, for a blast from the past, check out this site for the Adlai photo. Scroll all the way to the bottom.

Cactus, I believe I've read that one of the things the Obamas like about their neighborhood in Hyde Park is that they CAN find tailors and shoe repair shops to handle these life-extending issues. Well, extending the use of some inanimate items, anyway!

BTW, the Adlai E Stevenson II home near Libertyville just had a marvelous opening event in its new role as the Stevenson Center on Democracy. A stellar panel of previous presidential candidates spoke before a capacity crowd under a tent on the back lawn on August 10. Attendees were able to tour the home, which was renovated recently with state funding. They have formed a non-profit organization, and welcome new members.

Even though Obama's feet are up on the table, he's not kicking back; he's engrossed with paper and phone, working. Add the holes in the shoes, and this says "hardworking" to me. He's putting in the legwork. No doubt the $500 loafers are comfortable too, but McCain doesn't appear to be doing much legwork, more like fly-overs. And fumbling for his next step.

I would welcome more thrift-consciousness in US culture. Luckily, I can think of at least three shops that specialize in shoe repair in my area. Makes me wonder if the Depression-era adults (retirement age and older) would get any positive message from looking at Obama's well-worn shoes. Perhaps: He's one of us-doesn't just throw away perfectly good things... shoes, people...

mousepads, shoe leather & hope!!!

Marie.....good point, but depression era adults would be in their 80's now. But older adults, like me, remember the war years and the early 50's, when things were not as "disposable" as they are today. One had TV sets repaired, not thrown out. And that repairman came to the house! No one would have thought of throwing out a pair of shoes, especially men's shoes, just because the sole was getting thin. Anyone who remembers Stevenson would know all this. I just wonder if this was a very clever pose by Obama to just "accidentally" let older white voters see those shoes.

I thought of this article when I saw this NYTimes article on the Pakistan Bombing and the accompanying picture.

Can you really identify someone by the soles of their shoes?

"Diamonds on the soles of her shoes..."

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

My Other Accounts

Blog powered by TypePad
Member since 07/2003