Focussing things that matter, Ctd

? NZ Herald

Phil Goff stated before the election that Labour was focussed on things that matter to Kiwi voters. David Shearer has said as much too…presumably he thinks voters are deeply concerned about men wearing matching sweater vests…certainly Trevor Mallard thinks so, as does Jacinda Ardern who were quick to tweet the important fashion disaster to their followers:

Clearly they are seeking some sort of?inspiration?from David Shearer’s chief of staff but are only brave enough to bare their arms just now.

I’m not too sure that Waitakere Man is a big fan of sleeveless sweater vests…perhaps they are channeling Republican politics where the sweater vest made a big play in the recent Republican primaries. Rick Santorum was even selling them…I wonder if the Labour boys all ordered theirs from Rick Santorum?

Let us pause to consider the sweater vest, that milquetoast item of men?s wear that is neither a sweater nor a vest but something soft and cuddly and in-between. Let us pause to consider the fact that it has become, bizarrely, a sartorial player in the current Republican primary contest. Has ever a piece of clothing seemed less likely to be a political tool?

Yet check in on Rick Santorum today as South Carolina goes to the polls and you can put money on the fact that he will be wearing a sweater vest during his last push for votes. It is his uniform, just as the V-neck sweater and jeans have become standard wear for Mitt Romney while Newt Gingrich has adopted shirtsleeves and a jacket. But while the latter two candidates have been somewhat dismissive of their dressing, refusing to let it become part of the conversation (Romney hasn?t even deigned to acknowledge the assorted jibes and questions about his luxuriant head of hair, though The New York Times saw fit to put the issue on its front page), Santorum has adopted a somewhat more proprietary approach to his vests.

His attitude seems to be: if you can?t beat ?em ? that is to say, if you can?t stop a media that makes image as much a part of public office as any platform ? then you should join ?em: that is to say, own what you wear, metaphorically as much as literally. To be specific: if you visit the Santorum website you can find, under ?donate?, a special limited edition offer. It?s so astonishing, I am going to quote it in full:

?For a limited time, donate $100 or more using the form below, and we will send you an official Rick Santorum For President sweater vest. Perfect for demonstrating solidarity with true conservatives, this vest is a great way to show your support for Rick. It?s 100 per cent cotton, made in the USA, comes in grey, and is yours for your contribution of $100 or more. Don?t let sleeves slow you down ? donate today!?

And so the sweater vest comes to NZ politics…who would?have?ever thought it would be the Labour party that introduced a Republican idea?

Shearer needs a sweater vest, Ctd

I blogged about Stephen Harper’s sweater vest and made the suggestion that David Shearer should get a sweater vest.More evidence has surfaced about the power of the sweater vest. David Shearer really should be looking for one on his tour of the bar, pubs and clubs this summer.

Rick Santorum came second to Mitt Romney in the Iowa caucus. Just a week ago he was counted out then he pulled on his sweater vest:

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum?s?sudden boost in the polls?is more obvious on?Twitter?than in traditional national news polls. Could the spike in positive sentiment be because of the V-neck sweater vests that Santorum routinely wears while on the campaign trail? Stranger things have happened.

While other GOP candidates make public appearances in suits, the former Pennsylvania senator has been donning sleeveless sweaters. This has inspired some parody social accounts including a?@FearRicksVest?Twitter account, Facebook?Page, Tumblr?blog?and?YouTube?music video.

On Monday, Santorum detailed the moment when his sweater vests caught fire online during an interview on?Laura Ingraham?s radio show. He said the meme began after a speech he gave at a Mike Huckabee event in Iowa in mid-December: ?If there was one event that really began the moment, it was that speech,? Santorum said. ?So all the sudden the sweater vest was like, ?Fear the vest.??

Shearer needs a sweater vest

If David Shearer is looking for some cut through as he tours the pubs and clubs this summer perhaps he might like to take a elaf out of Stephen Harper’s book and buy himself a sweater vest:

The 2008 Canadian Federal Election will probably be remembered most for the blue sweater that Prime Minister Stephen Harper wore in a series of commercials that Reason Partners created.

The campaign was created to address the political opposition and media portrayal of Mr. Harper being ?scary, cold and aloof? and at the same time attract more female votes.

The series of commercials worked right from the beginning, as the idea went massively viral.

It was mentioned in a pop song by the Barenaked Ladies, Billy Talent and K-OS. It was lampooned by comedians on and off the air. It was written about by fashion consultants. There were popular YouTube parodies. Not to mention, that it dwarfed all the other political parties ads combined on YouTube. It directly affected the sales of sweater vests in Canada. And it was the reference point for most media coverage during the election, including the NY Times and LA times.

Blue Sweater Campaign – Stand For Something from Reason Partners on Vimeo.

It was integrated everywhere and into everything, including the Prime Minister?s campaign jet, nick-named the ?Sweater Vest Jet? by the media.

Perhaps the most memorable line during the English language debate was when the NDP?s Jack Layton said, ?Where?s your platform Mr. Harper? Under the sweater?? Funny. But even funnier, as the CBC?s Rosemary Barton noted later in the campaign, ?Jack Layton is now wearing a blue sweater.? And that, ?Layton, pushing his bid to be Prime Minister this time round, is actually taking a page from the PM?s playbook. After a week away, one wonders if a sweater will ever just be a sweater again.? It was also noted that the Liberals, Stephane Dion and the Green Party?s Elizabeth May followed suit, err, sweater vest, as they both started wearing one in their respective party?s colour.

I might just work for David Shearer, he strikes me as a sweater vest type of guy.