Paul Ryan: Walking Tall in Cowboy Boots on the Campaign Trail

Paul Ryan Cowboy Boots - H 2012
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Paul Ryan Cowboy Boots - H 2012

Mitt Romney's running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, is coming under a lot of style scrutiny now that he's hot on the campaign trail.

He's certainly not dealing with nearly as much attention as Sarah Palin got four years ago for her Naughty Monkey red heels, rimless eyeglasses, French manicures, bangs and updos. Her primary wardrobe was even reported to have cost the Republican party more than $150,000 to dress herself, her husband and kids.

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But on every campaign, someone has to get down and dirty and wear the footwear of the American people: cowboy boots. And since they aren't really up Mitt's upper-crusty Michigan alley, guess who gets to wear the boots on this ticket?

On Monday, Ryan put his brown scuffed cowboy boots on and spoke at the Iowa State Fair, wearing a red-and-white checked shirt and blue jeans.

He told the people yelling at him about his Medicare plans: “It’s funny because Iowans and Wisconsinites, we like to be respectful of one another, peaceful with one other. These ladies must not be from Iowa or Wisconsin."

Eventually he just gave up, ignored the hecklers and plowed through his stump speech. But the next day, he tried the cowboy boots on again at the Lakewood High School in Colorado, wearing a buttoned-up shirt and conservative khaki slacks, and received a much more polite reception.

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It's worth noting that cowboy boots are an established White House accessory and may even be key to winning elections. After all, Jimmy Carter wore them. So did Lyndon Johnson. Even Ronald Reagan had a few, and Bill Clinton owned more than a dozen pairs.

Some observers say it's downright fitting for politicians to wear the high heel boots, since they were designed for wading through horse manure, so prevalent in Washington, D.C.

George Bush loved his pair of black eel-skin boots with blue presidential seal on the shin. All these presidents wore boots made by one man: Rocky Carroll.

The Houston bootmaker also made boots for Tony Blair, Oprah Winfrey, Elizabeth Taylor, Russell Crowe, Prince Phillip and Queen Elizabeth II.

We have no idea who made Ryan's boots. But we expect to see a lot more of his s----kickers in the coming months, at least in the key southern and western states.

Our advice to Ryan: Get your dress shoes and conservative loafers spit polished before you get to Vermont and Massachusetts.