Andy Card, Shhh
The militant triviality of Washington personalities is enough to make me break character and go outside of my national-security lane. Andy Card, chief of staff to George W. Bush, is whining that Barack Obama doesn’t wear a jacket in the Oval Office.
“The Oval Office symbolizes…the Constitution, the hopes and dreams, and I’m going to say democracy. And when you have a dress code in the Supreme Court and a dress code on the floor of the Senate, floor of the House, I think it’s appropriate to have an expectation that there will be a dress code that respects the office of the President.”
Yeah! Everyone knows wearing a suit in the White House will prevent you from letting the global economy collapse; a major American city from drowning; and not one but two wars from going disastrously down the toilet. Suit jackets symbolize the Constitution. You can eavesdrop on anyone you like while wearing a suit jacket. It’s like a sartorial warrant!
The idea that a key enabler of the most disastrous presidency since — to be charitable — Lyndon Johnson would dare reproach the sartorial habits of the Obama White House is absurdly self-parodic. What’s even more inexplicable is that the opinions of these men and women will continue to be solicited, out of some foolish social ritual about showing respect to the former inhabitants of the White House no matter how little respect they showed the country. The comparison Andy Card sets up from this frivolous little outburst writes itself: Bush was form; Obama is substance.