Useful critique or pointless nitpicking?
January 28, 2005 12:08 PM   Subscribe

Dick Cheney, Dressing Down I can't decide if this is interesting cultural criticism or ridiculous nitpicking about something that isn't very important. Maybe it's both. Side note: It's a nice change to read about a male politician's appearance and wardrobe for once.
posted by scratch (115 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I figured someone was going to post this. I can't decide. The whole idea that he should be cold and suffer because of the solemnity of the event is really stupid. On the other hand, he looks ridiculous in the picture I saw. So, yea, I can't decide.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:12 PM on January 28, 2005 [1 favorite]


I dispise Cheney. But who cares how he dresses. To shift focus upon spectators dress is to move away from the piles of hair, the pulled teeth, the soap from human beings, the gas chambers, the experiments done by "doctors" upon living being, etc etc
posted by Postroad at 12:15 PM on January 28, 2005


I hate Cheney too but jeez, at least he went.
posted by Lady Penelope at 12:16 PM on January 28, 2005


I really don't like Cheney, but this seems kind of petty. I suspect that this may have something to do with his ill-health; considering his heart problems I wonder if his doctors told him to dress more warmly.
posted by unreason at 12:17 PM on January 28, 2005


The fact that this is published news finally made me realize -- there is no such thing as a slow news day on the internet.

it used to be that pieces like this only got ran when there was nothing else to report, cause there's only so many column inches in a newspaper, or minutes in a broadcast.

But now, it's all the news, all the time. I don't know if that's good.
posted by o2b at 12:17 PM on January 28, 2005


I don't know, I thought he looked like an asshole (more so than usual) in his clothes.

One can dress warmly and still dress appropriately for the event.
posted by fenriq at 12:19 PM on January 28, 2005


unreason : You don't think it's maybe possible for somebody to find the Vice President Of the USA a black parka? And maybe a decent hat? All the other world leaders seemed to have made the effort, and I'm sure some of them would also have been concerned with keeping warm ...
posted by kaemaril at 12:19 PM on January 28, 2005


Doesn't he have at least one person on his staff who is charged with making sure he doesn't make any gaffs like this?

It should be noted that he wore a dark overcoat and appropriately formal clothes to his inauguration in pretty much the same weather.

Sure, you might think this is all petty, but he's the Vice President, not just some tourist. He's supposed to set an example.
posted by bshort at 12:22 PM on January 28, 2005


There was a reason he was all bundled up.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:24 PM on January 28, 2005


There looks to be a military crest on his parka as well, but its pretty hard to make it out.

Cheney is from Wyoming, how is the cold weather supposed to be an excuse? I'm just disappointed nobody wears fedoras anymore, they look so cool.
posted by tweak at 12:24 PM on January 28, 2005


This isn't his Uncle Harry's funeral or a sleigh ride in the park.

This is a formal diplomatic mission. To Auschwitz.

Auschwitz.

The arena of diplomacy is not like the rest of the world. In that world, little things matter a lot, like wearing something that makes it look like you'd really rather be off tobogganing than observing a service at arguably the most solemn and austere place on the planet.

It's Auschwitz. He's officially the second-in-command for the Current Ruling Empire of the Planet.

They make long coats in black that are plenty warm enough. It wouldn't kill him to have worn one, on this of all days, at this of all places.
posted by chicobangs at 12:26 PM on January 28, 2005


It's a cheap shot, but you do have to wonder why he looked fine at the inauguration last week in the same weather.

Something tells me there's some backstory about lost luggage, shopping at 3am in Poland's Wal-Mart, and a fired staffer, instead of "Teh Cheney hates jews!" that some people may read into it.
posted by mathowie at 12:27 PM on January 28, 2005


The executive branch is probably the most closely monitored and carefully nuanced institution on the planet. The notion that this was anything other than an intentional sartorial choice is absurd.

What were they trying to convey? I'm guessing it's the logical extension of Paul Bremer's "manly" boots under a business suit. You know, it says that we 'merkins don't stand on privilege or ceremony.

But in this case, Big Dick comes off looking like...well...
posted by felix betachat at 12:27 PM on January 28, 2005


Ok, I got a bit of a laugh out of this:

Dick Cheney wore a green parka, embroidered with his name, with a bright fur-lined hood and a knit ski cap with the words "Staff 2001" on it. At least it didn't say "FCUK."
posted by psmealey at 12:29 PM on January 28, 2005


Matt, I don't think he hates jews or even had any intention to defame the ceremony.

I think he simply doesn't care one way or the other. Yeah, whatever, he'll go, someone should, yeah, fine. But don't make him pack an extra coat. He'd have to leave something else behind.

If "That's My Bush!" was still in production, this would be a great episode. But -- well.
posted by chicobangs at 12:32 PM on January 28, 2005


You go to the Auschwitz ceremony with the Vice-President you have, not the Vice-President you want.
/rumsfeld

[Disclosure: Even I dress better than that, and I'm poor.]
posted by mullingitover at 12:33 PM on January 28, 2005


KevinSkomsvold, that link cheered me up a lot.

Postroad, you put nicely what was simmering in my brain.

Tweak, yeah-what-you-said about his being from Wyoming, etc. Plus, there were plenty of dignitaries there from places where it gets really damn cold, and they managed to find warm dark overcoats.
posted by scratch at 12:36 PM on January 28, 2005


I'm with Wonkette on this one. He is an old man with a bad heart.
posted by box elder at 12:38 PM on January 28, 2005


I think he simply doesn't care one way or the other.

Exactly. He made damn sure he looked spiffy for his own meaningless re-coronation. But this outfit broadcasts his attitude: "If it's Thursday, this must be Auschwitz."
posted by soyjoy at 12:39 PM on January 28, 2005


Doesn't he have at least one person on his staff who is charged with making sure he doesn't make any gaffs like this?

It's "gaffe," dude. You gaffer, you.
posted by jonmc at 12:41 PM on January 28, 2005


I'm with Wonkette on this one. He is an old man with a bad heart.

Bleh. Try a more specific adjective. Maybe "thoughtless" or even "wicked."
posted by felix betachat at 12:41 PM on January 28, 2005


I'm with Felix -- Cheney & Co. are people who plan everything. Even the blood-soaked occupation of Iraq, I believe, is (contrary to popular belief) the product of a great deal of thought and planning.

WTF?
posted by Cassford at 12:42 PM on January 28, 2005


Given the weight of the ceremony and Bush just recently saying he wants to smooth the relationships with other world leaders, it would have been nice if George represented the US.

Dick needs to be on Queer Eye on the Straight VP.
posted by birdherder at 12:43 PM on January 28, 2005


Lost luggage? I think he flies on Air Force One, right?
posted by tizzie at 12:43 PM on January 28, 2005


As long as he wasn't wearing a red armband, it's ok. Sounds like he was dressed up to watch a football game though, you'd think with a 2 trillion budget, the white house could splurge on some new digs.
posted by Arch Stanton at 12:45 PM on January 28, 2005


Air Force Two
posted by Cassford at 12:46 PM on January 28, 2005


One, two, whatever. I still don't think he's waiting for his luggage to pop up onto the suitcase-go-round.

His actions say, "I couldn't be bothered." And that's just the wrong message to give.
posted by tizzie at 12:49 PM on January 28, 2005


it used to be that pieces like this only got ran when there was nothing else to report, cause there's only so many column inches in a newspaper, or minutes in a broadcast.

Except this did run on page C01 in the real newspaper. Probably the front-page of the style section.
posted by smackfu at 12:50 PM on January 28, 2005


I guess the man dosn't watch 'What Not to Wear'. You know how much Stacy and Clinton dislike the 'comfortable' word.

Anyhow, never confuse incompetence with malice, there's probably more Homer Simpson in this than anything.
posted by scheptech at 12:51 PM on January 28, 2005


Yeah, it was a faux pas. But even if this were a backyard barbeque, I think an article in the Style section is appropriate -- I mean, come on, he looks like a doofus.

Doofus. I haven't said that word since grade school. Thank you, Dick Cheney, for rescuing a piece of my childhood.
posted by NickDouglas at 12:51 PM on January 28, 2005


I agree with Chicobangs.
posted by mlis at 12:52 PM on January 28, 2005


He's the only one in the administration that gets mentioned for his wardrobe. Remember the last time he had a costume malfunction?
posted by caddis at 12:52 PM on January 28, 2005


He is an old man with a bad heart

Strong enough to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency but not strong enough to wear occasion-appropriate clothing on a cold day. Colour me not impressed.

And for the "backstory about missing luggage": I've shlepped bags for Ministers and a Prime Minister and trust me they do not get lost. Ever. Well, maybe Joe Clark's but that's it.
posted by smcniven at 12:52 PM on January 28, 2005


I'm with Felix as well.

This was purposeful.

I guess we're only 1 more Republican administration away from having stickers put into the history textbooks that say "The Holocaust is a theory, not a fact."
posted by Ynoxas at 12:52 PM on January 28, 2005


anyhow, never confuse incompetence with malice, there's probably more homer simpson in this than anything.

Would that it were true.
posted by scratch at 12:53 PM on January 28, 2005


If someone showed up to a memorial for my family dressed like that, I would be offended. Long-johns and nice hat will keep you warm enough. It isn't like he's from Florida, nor was he kept waiting (or laboring) for hours or years in cheap flannel.

This is a state occasion, and he is representing his country. He looks like an asshole. That about sums up this administration.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 12:56 PM on January 28, 2005


He looked okay to me.
/

Seriously, though, get on Getty Images, go to News, search for "cheney" within the last 24 hours, and you'll see he dressed properly the next day. Maybe someone told him.
posted by brownpau at 12:57 PM on January 28, 2005


The people who think this was just an accidental goof are deluding themselves. Cheney has handlers who are supposed to keep this kind of crap from happening.

This was a subtle but clear "Fuck You" from Bush/Cheney to everyone involved. First by Bush sending his boss second and then by Cheney dressing like he's going to a bonfire in the sticks instead of the commemoration of one of the most horrid parts of human history.
posted by fenriq at 12:58 PM on January 28, 2005


I am with Wonkette-- he's an old man with a bad heart.

Yeah, an old man with a bad, evil, stone-cold heart.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 1:00 PM on January 28, 2005


This was a subtle but clear "Fuck You" from Bush/Cheney to everyone involved.

I seriously doubt that. It was poor judgement, but noting earth-shattering. The Bush administration is stupid, but they're not stupid enough to do this deliberately, especially when there's nothing to be gained by fuck-you-ing, and plenty to lose.
posted by jonmc at 1:02 PM on January 28, 2005


While I suppose it could be viewed as petty to point out that Dick didn't dress properly for an international gathering, it seems to me yes ... his outfit was tacky, and he should have dressed at least as well as he did for his inauguration.

In my life, I have found that people who under-dress, or just dress inappropriately, for a social event (including funerals, weddings, etc) generally fall into one of these categories: they don't know better, they don't care how they look, or they think they are better than everyone else and can do what they want. So which one does Dick fall into?

There's also a category for those who can't afford to dress better, but I am certain that doesn't apply in this case at all.

And if his heart is so damn bad that a few hours out in the cold is going to do him in, what the hell is he doing second in line to the throne?
posted by Orb at 1:02 PM on January 28, 2005


Maybe he's just covering up a bullet proof vest.
posted by oh posey at 1:03 PM on January 28, 2005


I seriously doubt that. It was poor judgement, but noting earth-shattering. The Bush administration is stupid, but they're not stupid enough to do this deliberately, especially when there's nothing to be gained by fuck-you-ing, and plenty to lose.

johnmc, what do they have to lose? Honestly?

If anything, this tells the Poles that the US government doesn't take the Holocaust so seriously. And that, my friend, is good post-Cold War diplomacy.
posted by felix betachat at 1:06 PM on January 28, 2005


Honestly, I just think that there are so many other things to loathe about Cheney that this is inconsequential, and the Washington Post (and others) are making themselves look petty over it.

I have to wonder if he's done something (else) really horrible that's about to surface quietly in the "liberal media" and he did this to blow a smoke screen over it. Kind of like I feel about the Secretary of Education and that PBS program denunciation--she's avoiding the real issue of underfunded public schools and undereducated kids, while trying to make herself look decisive by beating up on some sugar-making moms. Woo.
posted by dlugoczaj at 1:08 PM on January 28, 2005


Maybe Cheney was thinking about this guy.
posted by zorro astor at 1:10 PM on January 28, 2005


Dick Cheney wore a green coat because he pates Poles. Got it. I'll be forging documents for CBS if you need me.
posted by angry modem at 1:13 PM on January 28, 2005


johnmc, what do they have to lose? Honestly?

Politics is a game of inches-no, millimeters, felix betachat. Offending millions of Jewish people is not a wise political move. Even if Bush won't be able to run for re-election, it would soil the Republicans by association if this was some kind of deliberate slight. And whatever else they are, the GOP are canny politicians, so I don't feature them commiting political suicide that blithely.

Like I said, I don't like these guys either, but this is like complaining about him wearing ugly shoes, it's not worth the aggravation and it makes us look petty. In the Book Of This To Loathe Dick Cheney For, this would be on like page 475, right near the back cover.
posted by jonmc at 1:13 PM on January 28, 2005


"In my life, I have found that people who under-dress, or just dress inappropriately, for a social event (including funerals, weddings, etc) generally fall into one of these categories: they don't know better, they don't care how they look, or they think they are better than everyone else and can do what they want."

Yes. I find two of these oddly charming, and the third...well pretty damn appalling.

There's also I know it may sound up-tight, but when I went to Auschwitz I felt a responsibility to behave respectfully. I didn't wear shorts, I didn't laugh, I didn't get my picture taken in a gas chamber. Many Americans would like to show their respect to Poland and Europe for the terrible events they witnessed.

Being asked to attend on behalf of your countrymen is an honor, not something you take on lightly. He's a spoiled, greedy little man with a huge sense of entitlement.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 1:15 PM on January 28, 2005


I thought he looked like a character from Metal Gear.
posted by orange clock at 1:16 PM on January 28, 2005


That was garbled. At Auschwitz I felt a sense of responsibility to my countrymen to behave respectfully.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 1:17 PM on January 28, 2005


This is petty.

If you really want to be pissed at Dick Cheney, then have a good reason. Like when he voted against a resolution that called for U.S. recognition of the African National Congress in South Africa, freedom for the organization's then-imprisoned leader Nelson Mandela and negotiations with the black majority.

He defends that vote to this very day.

That alone is enough of a reason for me not to like him very much. What he wears to Auschwitz is kinda chump change when you consider his lifelong career history of being totally wrong and highly immoral.
posted by Freen at 1:21 PM on January 28, 2005


The guy couldn't dress smart for a ceremony to remember Auschwitz, wow. That's a level of arrogance and insensitivity that I am almost impressed with.

Compare and contrast
posted by fullerine at 1:22 PM on January 28, 2005


Mathowie: The parka had his name embroidered on it. It most certainly didn't come from poland. The hat sad "Staff 2001".

I'm sure there are plenty of tailors in Poland who would make the VP a fantastic jacket at the drop of a hat. Certainly after the President chastized us all not to forget Poland.
posted by Freen at 1:25 PM on January 28, 2005


Offending millions of Jewish people is not a wise political move.

Right. But he's sitting right next to Moshe Katsav, who doesn't seem to care one way or the other. I think those battle lines are pretty well drawn. Most rightwing Jews and Israelis don't give a shit about what Cheney wears as long as we keep beating Arabs. And the lefties will hate Cheney no matter what. So there's no big loss here, I think.

But Poles to this day are sore about how they've been demonized over the Holocaust. To visit Auschwitz as a tourist is to get a heavy dose of Polish auto-exoneration. So I think that there is a palpable, albeit incremental gain to be had by seeming to treat this event with less than complete gravity. The Bush administration is actively courting Poland as a counterweight to W. Europe and Russia.

Those pictures were not for us. Our reaction to them is irrelevant to them. The real question is how the pictures played on Polish television.
posted by felix betachat at 1:28 PM on January 28, 2005


Keep in mind that the writer of this article, Robin Givhan, is the fashion editor for the Post. It's not like this was an A1 story by one of the White House reporters. Besides, Cheney did look ridiculous.

At least he didn't wave a giant foam #1 finger.
posted by jefbla at 1:32 PM on January 28, 2005


I think felix betachat is absolutely right. People in politics know everything that they do, from the watch they wear (Timex Ironman) to the right smile, to the pat on the back, to the fake Texas accent.

It's a symbol, Cheney's way of saying it's just more Old Europe bullshit.
posted by orange clock at 1:34 PM on January 28, 2005


Most rightwing Jews and Israelis don't give a shit about what Cheney wears as long as we keep beating Arabs.


Yeah, goddamn them for wanting to survive without getting blown up on the way to work! Those selfish pricks! Why oh why won't they notice his coat!!!
posted by TetrisKid at 1:35 PM on January 28, 2005


there's nothing to be gained by fuck-you-ing

That's where you're wrong. This entire administration, from its first questionable step into the White House, has made "fuck-you-ing" its signature strategy. And it's paid off incredibly well for them. This is completely and utterly in character.

Mathowie's explanation is certainly plausable.

What, the "lost luggage, shopping at 3am in Poland's Wal-Mart, and a fired staffer"? I was hoping that was a joke. At least I laughed. The vice president, as others have pointed out, doesn't travel via USAir.
posted by soyjoy at 1:36 PM on January 28, 2005


One could further argue that it was the usa's crass disrespect for hitler's 1000 year reich that lead to the liberation of europe.

No, I don't think one could.
posted by scratch at 1:40 PM on January 28, 2005


jefbla, it would have been a giant foam middle finger, I'd think.
posted by fenriq at 1:41 PM on January 28, 2005


soyjoy, I buy them being stupid enough to offend by accident here, but not on purpose. People have their limits. Again, I'm more offended by the war than any tempest in a teapot like this, if you see what I'm saying.
posted by jonmc at 1:44 PM on January 28, 2005


Even in that picture, brownpau, he still looks like he is bored and uncaring.

I'm with chicobangs on this.

He looks like he dressed for the Army/Navy football game, and he should be ashamed of himself. I don't think this was an intentional snub, or that he hates jews or anyone else. But a ski hat that advertises a ski resort? That's classless.

I think anyone who attends a funeral, memorial or the like needs to ask themselves one question: "Would I wear this to my mother/wife/sister/grandfather/etc's funeral?" If the answer is no, change your clothes.

In the meantime, Mr. Cheney can go .....
posted by terrapin at 1:44 PM on January 28, 2005


Mathowie's explanation is certainly plausable.

During Reagan's inauguration, one of his friends left his tuxedo jacket in the hotel. A helicopter brought it out to the party in Maryland...

When you're talking about an international event that will be seen by millions (perhaps billions) of people, and where all the other Western world leaders will be, everything is planned in advance. The VP's staff will know what the other world leaders will (approximately) be wearing, and will have the appropriate clothes available. Even if all the luggage was lost, they would have clothes in Cheney's exact size flown in in a matter of hours if necessary.

My guess is that Cheney stepped outside his hotel (or had a staff member tell him the temp with wind chill), realized it was freakin' freezing, and decided to opt for the parka.

What was important to him was his personal comfort, not the vague message it sends. This man is concerned with himself first, and everyone else second. You can see this repeated 1,000,000 times in his career.
posted by chaz at 1:49 PM on January 28, 2005


you'll see he dressed properly the next day. Maybe someone told him.

I think he simply doesn't care one way or the other.


"The next day, Dick Cheney did wear a black overcoat when he privately toured the camp, his first visit to Auschwitz since 1975"
posted by thomcatspike at 1:50 PM on January 28, 2005


It does seem odd dressing for the world in your finest threads when the place is known for the inhumane sacrifices forced onto the Jews.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:55 PM on January 28, 2005


This is seriously inappropriate. And to those of you who site his age or his health, the proof is in the inaugauration.

Now, I don't think that this is a bad on the level of killing thousands in an invasion in another country, but I also don't think that it's absurd to have a discussion about it.

Part of me is interested in it as an aside (i.e. seperate from my disdain for the Bush Administration). It's like the election-season comparison's of the Bush and Kerry logos. It's visual communication. It's rhetoric strategy.

The question is not "What the hell was Cheney wearing?!" but "What is Cheney telling us?"
posted by rafter at 1:57 PM on January 28, 2005


At least he wasn't eating a hot dog and drinking a beer.
posted by Dr. Boom at 2:05 PM on January 28, 2005


Our reaction to them is irrelevant to them. The real question is how the pictures played on Polish television.

Can you say with a straight face that you think Dick Cheney gives a tinker's cuss how he looks on Polish television?


At least he wasn't eating a hot dog and drinking a beer.

I'm glad we're setting the bar so incredibly low for someone with more than enough experience in politics, diplomacy and the world stage to know better.
posted by chicobangs at 2:17 PM on January 28, 2005


Oh, like the V.P. has never found himself with his head up his ass before. Don't make me count the ways!
posted by snsranch at 2:27 PM on January 28, 2005


It does seem odd dressing for the world in your finest threads when the place is known for the inhumane sacrifices forced onto the Jews.

I don't think the point is only that he was dressed poorly per se. If everybody was dressed poorly, he would have fit right in. The point is that when you're at an event as solemn as this, you're supposed to dress appropriately so that you don't become the focus of attention. Cheney clearly valued his comfort over all else, so he stuck out like a sore thumb.
posted by jnthnjng at 2:41 PM on January 28, 2005


briefly considers caring about this even remotely

decides against it

resumes regular activities
posted by kyrademon at 2:46 PM on January 28, 2005


Anybody else but the current occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, i'd say a REALLY insensitive faux-pas...
But Dr. Strangelove?
What do expect from the #1, eh, #2 member of an administration that is continuously so amazingly self-absorbed and self-aggrandizing?
correct me if i'm wrong, but i can't remember any spontaneous, public act by these guys that shows any sense of humility or general sensitivity to anything that doesn't occupy their universe.
(unless of course it provides a wholesome campaign photo op)
why should this be different?
posted by threehundredandsixty at 2:50 PM on January 28, 2005


Forget who's in charge of his wardrobe, what about his wife sitting next to him? Did he just ignore the "you're NOT wearing THAT to Auschwitz, are you??"
or did he say:
"Dressing up is put on us by the man. I ain't gonna let the man tell me what to...oh wait, I am the man..."

I'm glad we're setting the bar so incredibly low for someone with more than enough experience in politics, diplomacy and the world stage to know better.

Setting the bar low is exactly why this administration has gotten away with everything, so far.
Just wait, I'm sure there will be a flip little joke somewhere in the future dismissing this, and red america will think it charmin
posted by hellbient at 2:59 PM on January 28, 2005


g.
posted by hellbient at 3:00 PM on January 28, 2005


This is not petty. This is plain weird.

They (say they) are trying to mend fences with Europe, and Cheney shows up like that? Every other world leader was appropriately dressed. Cheney himself is normally far more formal than his boss. He wore the right coat at the Inauguration and it was freezing that day. He wore the right coat the day after, so he had one with him. Why the hell did he show up in such tacky, casual wear to one of the most solemn commemorations in years? I have to think it was deliberate, even though that seems insane. This is a guy who wears suits at Bush's ranch.

"you're NOT wearing THAT to Auschwitz, are you??"
bahahah
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:15 PM on January 28, 2005


hellbient, oooh, how precisely right you are. Really.

If bush can't even recognize his own fallen soldiers, why should we expect the V.P. to respect what he might percieve to be some weird foreigners who died so long ago?
posted by snsranch at 3:15 PM on January 28, 2005


I am not a big fan of cutting the guy slack, but Occam's Razor suggests to me that the most obvious explanation for this is just that he was cold and didn't really think the situation through. In the pre-Internet world, this would never have gotten that much attention and that, I believe, is the world that he lives in.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:44 PM on January 28, 2005


At least he wasn't eating a hot dog and drinking a beer.

I'm glad we're setting the bar so incredibly low for someone with more than enough experience in politics, diplomacy and the world stage to know better.


I'm glad we understand sarcasm. Or not.
posted by Dr. Boom at 3:52 PM on January 28, 2005


Oh, also, can we call this parkagate?
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:57 PM on January 28, 2005


I'm with CunningLinguist. Ridiculing a presidential candidate for looking dorky in a wetsuit is petty. This, however, is just bizarre. It's the sort of care given to diplomatic propriety I expect from the Bush twins, whose inborn sense of entitlement (or something) allows them to not consider changing out of torn jeans & flip-flops when arriving at official state visits with their mother.

I can't really think of a possible explanation for this that makes sense to me. Which is more likely true:

a) He has no idea how idiotic he looks, which implies no one told him, either.
b) He knows he looks like an idiot, which implies he's purposefully dressed like a 9-year-old.
c) He doesn't really look like an idiot, the ski cap is a perfectly appropriate choice.

I can't help but imagine there was some slapstick involved, of the "you told me this was a costume party!" variety, perhaps also involving a Polish parka and embroidery shop.
posted by obloquy at 4:01 PM on January 28, 2005


It was clearly a Fuck You to all of us--and if there's justice in this world or the next he'll get his.
The fact that he wore a somber overcoat the next day shows that he was sending a message--this administration doesn't do this stuff thoughtlessly--it's always for the cameras. He should go fuck himself. And don't ever forget James Baker.

This is perfect, from the rudepundit link above: He said a thankful prayer that the Holocaust had happened because no matter how much murder and death the Bush administration might inflict on the Middle East, any comparison to this would make his crimes pale. Indeed, for men such as Cheney, the Holocaust always offers a respite: they may be bad, but they're not Nazi-bad.
A strange, but not unexpected stirring occurred in his pants. Cheney smirked. As Lynne knows, nothing gets Cheney up quite like images of torture and death.


And did you hear who was in the Official US Delegation with Cheney? "An official U.S. delegation sent to Ukraine's presidential inauguration last weekend included a Ukrainian-American who has accused Jews of manipulating the Holocaust for their gain and playing an 'inordinate role' in the rise of Soviet communism."
Myron Kuropas was selected by the White House to fly to Ukraine with then-Secretary of State Colin Powell as part of the American delegation. Mr. Kuropas wrote in 2000, "Big money drives the Holocaust industry. To survive, the Holocaust industry is always searching for its next mark. Ukraine's turn is just around the corner." He has argued elsewhere that Jews played a driving role behind Soviet leader Josef Stalin's murderous policies in Ukraine. Mr. Kuropas' has demonstrated his hostility towards Jews for some time; Michael Kotzin, executive vice president of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, explained to the Chicago Tribune, "This is not new stuff. ...If you go back over the decades, he's taken these kinds of positions highly antagonistic to the Jewish people and Jewish interests and causes."

The Knight Ridder news service confirmed that "three State Department officials said the delegation was assembled by the White House."


Again--they should go fuck themselves.
posted by amberglow at 4:15 PM on January 28, 2005


Look, the article said he looked dressed for camp.

I'm going to hell now, aren't I?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:16 PM on January 28, 2005


Five bucks says he's dressed better attending the SuperBowl or a Series game at some point.
posted by trondant at 4:19 PM on January 28, 2005


I still want to know what that military crest on his jacket is, but I can't find one like it anywhere.
posted by tweak at 4:33 PM on January 28, 2005


Wow. I've read this entire thread and I still can't figure out why a) I care or b) the Vice President of the United States of Fucking America owns a hat that says "STAFF 2001" - staff of WHAT? Wasn't he VP at that point?

My question, and I want answers, whose hat did he steal?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:35 PM on January 28, 2005


Amberglow, I agree that they should fuck themselves. But really, we're the ones getting fucked. We've got a lot longer on this earth than that old cyborg.

When you are representing the richest nation on Earth, you can send out for a damn dark coat. Poles are extremely hospitable, I am sure they would have taken care of him if he had asked. Particularly if he'd said, "I am representing my country and I don't want to look like an ass"

Auschwitz is a very sore point for Poles, because they feel the world has over-looked the huge number of Catholic Poles who were murdered alongside Jews. From the standpoint of a Slav, Cheney looked like an idiot lout-- legs spread, slouching and looking bored. Poles are very pro-American (at least as the rest of the world goes), but he looks like an uncultured brut.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 4:39 PM on January 28, 2005


Honestly, I just think that there are so many other things to loathe about Cheney that this is inconsequential, and the Washington Post (and others) are making themselves look petty over it

briefly considers caring about this even remotely
decides against it


We are given so few overt cues as to what Bush & Co are really thinking, that every symbol, every slip-up is precious.

1. He knew what everyone else was wearing.
2. He could have gone formal as per the inauguration.
3. It was a very solemn international event with billions of interested viewers.
4. Cheney was making some sort of statement with his clothes.

So we just have to figure out what the statement was. I'm going with "the superiority of the USA." As in "We are King, we decide what is appropriate for our attire."
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:59 PM on January 28, 2005


I still want to know what that military crest on his jacket is, but I can't find one like it anywhere.

are you talking about the thing near the zipper? it looks like a fucking ski pass to me. did he just get off the slopes?
posted by mrgrimm at 5:00 PM on January 28, 2005


BTW, for those complaining that the Post has nothing better to write about, the author is the regular fashion reporter. Here in DC, sometimes fashion collides with politics.

(And I vote for "callous but unintentional cluelessness", brought on by thinking you're Lord of the World and no one will say "boo" to you.)
posted by JoanArkham at 5:07 PM on January 28, 2005


I think this story might have legs.

Britain's Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph newspapers also both noted that Cheney had opted for casual attire.

I can't wait to see The Daily Show's take on this.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:14 PM on January 28, 2005


Wait. The White House sent a fucking Holocaust denier (Holocaust DENIER!) as part of the Ukraine delegation and Asshole-Cheney-in-his-ski-suit is what the fucking "liberal media" runs with? Holy mother of fuck.
posted by scody at 5:20 PM on January 28, 2005


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posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:25 PM on January 28, 2005


I think it *does* say a lot about the Admin that they'd let him show up looking like that.
I keep thinking of the article I read shortly before the election, in which someone who'd known Cheney for years said they'd never met anyone who seemed to have less empathy for other people.
That was quite a chilling statement, because that's an aspect of a sociopathic personality. (Actually, both W. and Cheney have a few of those characteristics.)
posted by NorthernLite at 5:29 PM on January 28, 2005


I absolutely cannot believe that Cheney did this on purpose to insult anyone. If there are two groups of people (outside Bush's core base) that I don't see them insulting, it's Jews, and Poles.

I absolutely cannot believe that Cheney accidentally dressed inappropriately. He is a professional politician, he has a personal staff, and protocol for these events is well understood.

To summarize, my brain is imploding.
posted by jlub at 5:30 PM on January 28, 2005


I can't help but think that in 2057, there will be a book published that reveals that the bush administration was actually controlled by a group of script kiddies.
posted by Kwantsar at 5:37 PM on January 28, 2005


grapefruitmoon, the hat was schwag given out at the Carlyle group's 9/11 pre-op shindig don'tchaknow?
posted by HyperBlue at 5:41 PM on January 28, 2005


I still want to know what that military crest on his jacket is, but I can't find one like it anywhere.

If you were looking around in .mil, no wonder you couldn't find it.

It's the crest of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders (motto: 'Semper Lie')
posted by trondant at 5:41 PM on January 28, 2005


My mom would harass me to know end if I dressed like that to a family reunion. Cheney deserves the scaled-relative equivalent.
posted by destro at 5:56 PM on January 28, 2005


I still want to know what that military crest on his jacket is, but I can't find one like it anywhere.

Here.
posted by techgnollogic at 6:29 PM on January 28, 2005


The hat and parka probably belonged to some staffers' who slapped 'em on Cheney the last second.
posted by hobbes at 6:43 PM on January 28, 2005


I have to just say that picture gets funnier everytime I look at it. Not only does he look like a 10 year-old, he's holding that homework-speech with his trademark "let's get this over with" look, waiting to hear his name called.
And did Lynne speak as well? Or is she holding his back up copy?

But yes, I know, it's not funny...
posted by hellbient at 6:49 PM on January 28, 2005


Maybe his clothing got lost or something. Why would he do this on purpose? It serves no purpose.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:50 PM on January 28, 2005


He's dressed for Fargo.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:53 PM on January 28, 2005


PP, we're talking about Mr. "Undisclosed Location." You think his duffel bag got left on a park bench, or what?

But, okay, let's say there was a wormhole thing somewhere and when it was time to get dressed to go to the memorial service at Auschwitz, where more than a million people were murdered, it was suddenly revealed that the veep's tasteful, respectful, and carefully chosen outfit had been replaced with some Fargo extra's wardrobe.

You're telling me that Dick Cheney wouldn't think of bothering the staff traveling with him, or the enveloping swarm of Polish state officials, or any of the super-duper-triple-security-cleared CIA agents sure to be within reach, to get him some decent clothes. No, they're all busy people and who is he to make a fuss, so he'd just put on those duds and make the best of it.

It makes no sense. Yet, as you point out, it also makes no sense that he'd do this deliberately. I now refer you to the Cheney Recursive. Nowhere near as entertaining as the Hasselhoff Recursive, and that's saying something.

On preview: I typed in my Fargo reference before you mentioned the damned movie! Town! Whatever!

And, of course, this is what it's all about -- scoring points for pop culture references.
posted by vetiver at 7:38 PM on January 28, 2005


dick cheney before he dicks you!
posted by ericb at 8:32 PM on January 28, 2005


I buy them being stupid enough to offend by accident here, but not on purpose.

Like hell. Remember his little three-word speech to Sen. Leahy on the Senate floor? That wasn't accidental, either.


Incidentally, I'm wondering here -- how many countries sent their heads of state to this vs. sending their #2?
posted by Vidiot at 10:25 PM on January 28, 2005


At least he wasn't eating a hot dog and drinking a beer.

Someone has soooo gotta do that Photoshop.

Come on!


dick cheney before he dicks you!

HAW!... Is that newly minted, or have I just been talking to the wrong people all this time?
posted by soyjoy at 10:27 PM on January 28, 2005


OK, folks, I haven't lived in the Great White North for a while, but doesn't anyone remember the old "dress in layers" rule? One could stuff a whole bunch of sweaters, turtlenecks, etc. underneath an appropriate black jacket and be plenty warm. If one must wear a ski hat, I believe you could at least find a black one.

I don't believe Cheney does anything without calculating the effect. However, it probably wasn't "I'm going to dress casually deliberately"--it was probably "I don't give a flying f*ck about this bogus ceremony."

I'll be looking for those "the holocaust was a theory, not a fact" stickers in textbooks any day now.

Vidiot--we did send our #1.
posted by MiHail at 10:51 PM on January 28, 2005


Wasn't it the Bush Administration that was making loud noises about the Clinton Administration's lack of respect and decorum in the White House? That they were being too casual in not wearing suits?

Sheesh. At least FDR was a real war president. And he hired a haberdasher to be his VP.
posted by Vidiot at 1:36 AM on January 29, 2005


He could have avoided a fashion faux pas if only he'd consulted with Prince Harry first.

--from a comment at Americablog on this
posted by amberglow at 6:52 AM on January 29, 2005


Another trenchant comment from amber's link, a connection I hadn't made:

the ski cap had "Staff" printed on it -- which is a really offensive thing to wear to a death camp
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:57 AM on January 29, 2005


From the way most of you are talking, I'm guessing you don't live in really cold climates. He's wearing a military parka, so why couldn't he have just requested a black P-Coat, while not as warm as a parka, they are still very warm. To make up any difference in temp, he could have worn long underwear.
posted by drezdn at 9:09 AM on January 29, 2005


If I were in Poland, I think I would have taken time to buy one of those really warm looking impressive fur hats, like everyone else is wearing. And an Eastern European overcoat - I wouldn't be suprised if they are much better for very cold weather than most American or British.
posted by jb at 10:00 AM on January 29, 2005


He has the proper clothes--he wore them the next day. This was deliberate.
posted by amberglow at 10:02 AM on January 29, 2005


Has the worst dressed VP responded to why he was dressed like that? As, I'm really intrigued to actually know his reasoning here. Guess it is the people watcher in me, and I bet I could figure it out regardless his answer(s), truth or lie. Yet I need to hear his thoughts on the matter to unravel his puzzled wears.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:17 AM on January 29, 2005


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