After 9/11, the President wore a blue tie for his State of the Union address until this year, when he returned to red
The blogosphere was abuzz with the SOTU address last night and early this morning. Some slept through it, others blogged LIVE, and while most bloggers were underwhelmed, polls suggested Americans in general felt pretty good about it. But even as thoughtful bloggers were parsing every phrase, an obvious indicator of the state of the union seemed to escape their notice: George W. was wearing a HOT RED necktie.
Roger Mudd of "Online NewsHour" may have been the first to write about "the blue tie phenomenon of the George W. Bush administration" last November. Then in December, Bob Dart of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution noticed that power red and Ivy League stripes were out, and bright blue, in shades from periwinkle to baby, were in on both sides of the aisle.
Why had bright blue overtaken red as the primary color of political power ties?
"Trust is the biggest issue out there today," said Leatrice Eiseman, director of the Pantone Color Institute. "The human mind connects blue with the elements of nature that are always there and never go away: the sky and sea. It's the color that invokes feelings of loyalty, steadfastness, constants. It's the believability factor."
"It's not that red isn't a power color anymore, but blue has overtaken it. Red has an exciting connotation but can also be connected with bloodshed and danger." In times of war and national anxiety, she said, "Blue is a much better choice."
Turkey gobbler shows his wattle and spreads his tail feathers.
So what might the reemergence of red last night portend? Is it just the crimson wattle of a turkey gobbler defending his turf during an election year, or is there something more? If times of national anxiety require blue, might the President's decision to go red suggest he sees an easing up of the terrorist threat? Daniel Drezner seemed to be onto something similar in his comments this morning:
My quick assessment was similar to Joyner's: "a fairly boring speech." Compared to Bush's last two SOTU speeches, however -- the 2001 Axis of Evil speech and the 2002 "sixteen little words" speech -- a little boring might be good.