If anyone still doubted the fact that the Obama camp is embracing former President Bill Clinton and vice versa, last night’s convention put an end to it, not only because of what the former president said, very eloquently, but because of how the two men looked. I mean – this is like high school: they’re almost matching! It made for a useful impression of visual unity.
There were subtle differences – Clinton’s tie, which read red on-camera, has a blue stripe in the silk, and, thanks to being out of office he is free to abandon the politician’s ubiquitous mini flag pin – but the general impression is of two men who are either completely on the same page, or have picked up similar lessons from political history. Which, since 1976, has had the most successful convention candidates in red ties and dark suits. I looked it up.
Mitt Romney, of course, also learned this lesson, as we could all see last week. A reader told me it has to do with what everyone thinks looks good on TV. Interestingly, said reader also mentioned this conceit started with Ronald Reagan, whom I also associate with red ties, but actually, in his conventions, Mr Reagan wore very dark navy.
Now the question is what President Obama is going to put around his neck tonight? He wore a red tie during the 2008 convention for his speech, but you’d think (I’d think) it might be in his interest to go for blue, if merely to differentiate himself from the competition.
Plus, it is the Democrat’s colour, at least on the electoral map – though in the US, unlike the UK, where Nick Clegg is most often seen in LibDem gold, and Ed Miliband tends to Labour red, ties seem to have escaped the jingoistic party rhetoric.