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May 13, 2010

Your Turn: Rand Paul Dressed for Success

<span style="font-size: x-small;">Melina Mara/Washington Post. May 5, 2010.</span>
Melina Mara/Washington Post. May 5, 2010.

Having taken out a sitting Senator last week, the Tea Party approaches the mid-terms with a new, more ambitious agenda: governing.  As the son of the (maybe) godfather of the rebellion, the angry Rand is currently leading in the Kentucky Senate primary against Mitch McConnell’s man.

I’m interested in your read on this photo of Dr. Rand, and what it says about the political mood.  Rand had just run from his son’s soccer game to appear on a Fox News show in Bowling Green.

WAPO slide show/Article.

  • Mark

    Good dad.

  • Malika

    Definitely reflects the schism in the GOP….(couldn’t resist). But it’s a neat photo for reflecting the problem the GOP has as the tax revolters/Tea Partiers take on the entrenched power structure.

    Maybe McConnell, et al., will take it in the shorts?

  • mileslarboy

    Nice legs.

  • Ralph

    Didn’t Mom teach him to dress for the job he’s applying for? If I were his interviewer I’d be insulted and leave him alone with the only thing that matters to him – the TV camera. I’m sure his son already figured that out.

    • Malika

      not that I’m in the business of defending GOP’ers, but I don’t think it’s that unusual that interviewees show up dressed for success above the waist only. There’s probably even a below-the-waist couture for talking heads and politicians….

  • Robin Moore

    No excuse for not wearing a flag pin.

  • matt

    nice grab, michael shaw. there’s quite a lot here:

    * i’d bet many would be surprised to learn just how many on-air personalities dress like this – formal above the waist only. what’s interesting here is that there’s no desk to hide the shorts, legs, and sneakers. a well-managed campaign would have known he needed full dress for this interview. this suggests a less experienced, rag-tag, fly by the seat of your pants operation. (sorry for the pun.) a main contradiction of the tea party movement is captured here: they try to show their “everyday, common people, we don’t need fancy p.r. consultants” attitude by eschewing the rituals of media-aware campagins, but the most successful among their ranks (read: sarah palin, michelle bachman) are glossed up, pretty faces.

    * his facial expression is priceless – “do i have to do another one of these?” he’s already tired and the campaign’s just beginning. or maybe he’s coming to realize the game that he must play… as he sits among the plastic plants in the tv studio.

    * in shorts, he looks like the political fraternity “legacy” that he is. didn’t we just try this for eight years?

    * is 13 lucky or unlucky?

    * is channel 13’s slogan “what you need to know” or “what you want to know” or “what you should know” or “what you don’t know”? what we, the viewers, know is obstructed in this photo.

  • cmac

    Isn’t his last name Paul, as in Dr. Paul, not Dr. Rand? Or does he name himself in the Chinese tradition, with his surname first?

  • Michael Shaw

    What stands out to me is how the WAPO’s top DC photographer and political portrait maker, Melina Mara, as well as the editors at WAPO, choose to expose or strip Rand, especially if the convention is for news show guests to wear whatever they want from the waist down.

    I abhor these reactionaries also, but this “below-the-belt” photo is as illustrative of the threat the “inside-the-beltway” club is feeling about the Tea Party as it is about the the volatile Dr. Paul Rand himself.

  • Michael Shaw

    Love the “the little meteor” coming at him from the left, btw.

  • panquake

    Two things, because the Tea Party is all about optics and nothing about results:

    – In order to enter the MSM, he has to halfway emerge into their level of the mediasphere.

    – It exposes the game that politicians are playing with the Tea Partiers: only take on the appropriate appearance as much as you need to in order to get their votes. (Goes with all politicians, of course, but since the Tea Party demands purity, it’s especially galling.)

  • quincyscott

    What is this guy, twelve? Who does this? Some folks have remarked how many talking heads may be formal above the waist only. But come on! Bermuda shorts? Casual means a pair of jeans. Long pants, people. It’s a mark of adulthood.

    I have nothing to add about the optics of this. Several of the commenters before me have made some excellent points. I really just had to express how apalled I am at the juvenile behavior of these “leaders” of this “movement.” They have such a hard time understanding why none of us will take them seriously.

    I teach school. This is very, very familiar to me.

    • ExurbanMom

      Who does this? Most of the on-air personalities I’ve worked with have done it at one time or another–they are just hidden by desks. This is very normal for TV.

    • Duckrabbit Digital

      Eeee gads, I hate to not take the bait and tear this picture to shreds. But, I, unfortunately, agree with ExurbanMom. I’m sure that this is really common with TV personalities. And, politics has, at least in recent years, been about a veneer, not about genuine personalities. Does it really surprise, or offend, anyone that he didn’t wear suit pants?

      I think the photographer probably took this photo to show his vulnerability, his tireless devotion to both family and politics. She was trying to catch the Obama wave. I’m just hoping that ‘trying’ remains the operative word.

  • Wayne Dickson

    This isn’t unusual, regardless of one’s political leanings. For example, Rachel Maddow wears a business-professional suit for what the camera can see. But she wears casual pants and sneakers from the waist down.

    To me, that it’s a common practice makes it more interesting rather than less. I have mixed feelings about it. Which is the “real” person? Why do they hide the way they dress? Uniforms add authority? The public won’t trust a “pundit” who doesn’t look tight-sphinctered?

  • DennisQ

    The candidate is very confident that he won’t be photographed wearing a suit jacket and tie over Bermuda shorts. That says something about the trust between politicians and media, doesn’t it?

    When I first glanced at this photograph I thought it was something out of Monty Python. In a sense it is somewhat comical. I don’t think members of the press should be quietly smirking at us – but to put one over on us like this, they’d have to be.

  • TV Anchor

    Folks, get a grip.

    This is standard practice for on camera segments that show up as above the waist only. He’s probably doing multiple satellite remote interviews (and he is relaxing in-between one in this photo) which do not require any other on-set guests or hosts.

    If this is what many will utilize to shape their opinion of a candidate, then our country is already lost.

  • robert e

    Evokes the young and privileged Wall Street/Hamptons crowd for me.

    Knowing that this is typical of how TV talent dresses may dilute the image’s validity as commentary on Paul, but at the same time bolsters the image’s insight into the illusory stagecraft of both “news” television and electoral politics, as well as their symbiotic collusion.

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