Churchill Style vs. Obama/Romney Style on Election Day
by Barry Singer
Some fleeting final style thoughts on this Election Day.
Winston Churchill deeply mistrusted anyone who did not either smoke or drink. President Obama’s cigarette habit and occasional home-brewed beer would certainly have met with his approval. As for Mitt Romney’s Mormon-strictured abstinence; I am convinced, it would have filled Winston Churchill with dread.
Churchill wore bespoke everything but was, above all else, serenely comfortable in his clothes, which he chose (or designed himself) primarily for comfort. I bet he would have appreciated Barack Obama’s basketball sneakers and sweats; in fact, I suspect he would have coveted them. As for Mitt Romney’s enforced down-dressing on the campaign trail and his obvious discomfort in anything looser than a suit and tie, Churchill would have had no doubt as to the larger implications of this discomfiture.
Finally, there is the matter of austerity as a faux lifestyle. Winston Churchill had no appetite whatsoever for austerity style, even when he really needed to. Neither, in his own way (and where the country is concerned), does Barack Obama. Mitt Romney, however, has pursued austerity style throughout his adult life as a kind of cloak for the wealth that defines him. Whether driving a Chevy Caprice station wagon (according to the New York Times) or golfing with clubs from K-Mart (again, according to the Times), or bulk shopping (according to his wife Anne) at Costco, Mr. Romney has long embraced a surface austerity, while amassing a variety of lavish vacation homes, paying a fraction of his earned income taxes, and pouring more than $52 million into his own political campaigns. It is a style of austerity that only cuts to the bone when others far less fortunate than Mitt Romney are the target.
“On questions of economic law,” Winston Churchill said in 1929, “it does not matter at all what the electors think or vote or say. The economic laws proceed.”
“Nothing would be easier for me than to make any number of promises and get the immediate response of cheap cheers and glowing leading articles,” Churchill went on to say, in the teeth of the war in 1943.” I am not in any need to go about making promises in order to win political support,” he concluded, “or to be allowed to continue in office.”