Bob Schwartz

The History of My Sweater Vests


A number of years ago, I wore buttoned sweater vests for a while. They were kind of colorful and designed, and I thought pretty cool. Not everybody liked them, not everybody who mattered liked them, but I did.

Then buttoned sweater vests disappeared. In their place were the equally traditional pullover sweater vests. So I swung that way, mostly solids in the core colors (grey, brown, blue), but a few with designs. It went like that for years, though I never gave up looking—mostly unsuccessfully—for the next generation of buttoned ones.

The low point was probably Rick Santorum attempting to “rock” his pullover sweater vests during his 2012 campaign for President. Every time I went out wearing mine, I was moderately embarrassed, as people affirmatively mentioned Santorum when they saw me. He and I share nothing, then or now, except our belief in sweater vests. This didn’t stop me from wearing them.

Buttoned sweater vests arrived again this past year. Actually, all kinds of vests arrived on the racks, along with three-piece suits. I was able for the first time in a while to have some new and attractive buttoned sweater vests to wear casually, or under a sport coat, or whatever. Awesome and attractive, to me at least. Others, as mentioned above, are not so sure. Or are vocal dissidents. Oh well.

The photo above shows an example of one of my new sweater vests. That is not me, just some model for Macy’s, but you get the idea. Honestly, I think I carry it off just as well. My watch isn’t that big or clunky, but I can cock my left eyebrow just as insouciantly. Of course, he got paid for wearing his, while I had to pay for mine. Totally worth it.

Two Kinds of Conservatives: The Reasonable and the Cowardly

There are two kinds of conservatives.

One says that we might take a pause, even a small step back, while we consider how to boldly move forward.

The other says that we should take a giant step back and stay there, because that is where the successful future lies. Boldly going back where others have gone before, with mixed results.

The first kind are rare, are not to the liking of some, and are not appropriate for all circumstances, especially ones that call for immediate forward thinking. Overall, though, it can be seen as a reasonable approach.

The second kind may be disguised to look bold, but are actually timid, even cowardly. If their way looks like retreat, that’s because it is. It is also the kind of conservatives that are dominating much of our national discussion these days.

So the next time you hear one of those conservatives promoting back to the future, think of them as defeatists, cowards rather than heroes. Because they want support for their plans to actually just surrender.