Even Suzanne Shaw, who the other week professed ignorance of the existence of both Clinton and Obama, would be able to tell which one is the Democrat and which one the Republican just from looking at photos of the two men, and this has nothing to do with race or age. Look at McCain, striding around in his boxy blue suits, single button always done up to cover the paunch, ties always just that little bit too wide. This man could not look more establishment if he went around doing secret handshakes and butt-slapping Karl Rove.
Then we come to Obama. Watch him stride in that slim-cut suit that suggests more than an element of style consciousness that somehow, in itself, suggests, not vanity, but rather new-age sensitivity. Here is a man who, rather remarkably, did not worry that appearing on a magazine with Vogue in the title (Men's Vogue, to be precise) would compromise his masculinity. Whereas McCain, almost liberal by Republican standards, would far rather be photographed hanging with the boys in Iraq. Debate the merits of these opposing photo opportunities all you like but the fact is, both were staged and therefore equally artificial and equally meaningless. Obama is always happy to take off his suit jacket: an easy way to emphasise his friendly informality, which also, by convenient coincidence, lets him show off the fact that he still clearly goes to the gym every morning despite running for president, while the rest of us use the excuse of having to pick up the dry cleaning as a reason to skip that day's session.