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David Frum on Conservative Style

Election Day for the NH primaries has come and gone. There was little sleep, non-partisan gambling (Ron Paul paid very well) and plenty of laughs at this.

But still, we felt like tangling with one last topic after the election results speeches: conservative style. So we sent a dispatch to our New England correspondent and political gadfly Daniel McCarthy to see if he could shed any light on the topic.

As it turns out, he was in the middle of escorting CNN presence and former George W. Bush speechwriter “axis of evil” phrase-coiner David Frum to the local ABC affiliate station while having a discussion on this very topic a few hours before the polls closed.

Citizen: David Frum Supporting: n/a—he is a journalist, after all... Look: CNN contributor. Most presidential-looking: See below. His response when asked what kind of brands he was wearing: “Considering the discussion in this country about income inequality and the distribution of wealth, I should probably not answer that.” Our favorite piece: Reversible svelte down puffy vest (synthetics, so hot right now). Best accessories: Sleeveless MacBook Pro, an anthropologist’s book on the first 5,000 years of debt. “Soon to be the bible of Occupy.”

The Look of the President

“First of all, candidates don’t wear clothes. They wear costumes,” he said when asked if anyone in this race had the gentleman-y style like Clooney and Ryan Gosling in The Ides of March. “If George Clooney was hired to remake The Grapes of Wrath, then he would dress the part... dungarees or whatever. These guys are just like that, so I don’t even know what the real personal style of these guys are. It’s all for show.”

But that’s just the point, and he added that the real question you have to ask yourself now is: Has the political system finally closed itself off from the people, has it become so disconnected from actual people that people don’t even view politicians as being remotely in touch with the voters? “The answer is yes, which is why they have to publically dress like they are an ordinary part of the system... of the party and the people they’re trying to win.”

That may be so, but we still wanted to get a sense of the conservative style seen on the actual people on Tuesday, so we reached into our grab bag of interviews and photographs from a day out in the trenches along with the rest of the hungry media wolf packs swarming the schools, churches and event spaces serving Manchester’s voting public. A couple of observations on their looks:

Citizen: Jack Reppin Supporting: Ron Paul Look: Stylish student. Shoes: Leather loafers. Most presidential-looking: Rick Perry His views on his own style: “People tend to take you serious when you’re well dressed and care about your look.” Thoughts on Huntsman’s pink tie during the first GOP debate: “Seemed to miss the mark.”

Citizen: Philip Wallace Supporting: Mitt Romney Look: Financial planner running to Home Depot between projects at home. Boots: Comfortable horse-riding training. Jacket: “Original L.L.Bean field jacket, made famous by Scott Brown. Not John Kerry.” Most presidential-looking: Romney. “He’s got great ‘optics,’ as the strategists say. Beautiful wife, great family. It’s the epitome of what you want an American president to look like.” How he describes Harry Reid’s style: “Dingy.”

Citizen: Michael Cessario Supporting: Ron Paul Look: All business. Occupation: Car salesman. Shade of purple of his button-down: Deep. Gellin’ or not gellin’: Gellin’. His choice for most important piece to his look: “This giant Ron Paul sign. And gloves. It’s cold out.” Our choice: His goatee.