When you're president, everything you do makes a statement - how you dress, where you vacation, what you eat.
It's impossible to stay neutral - or, as a publicist friend of mine put it, "beige."
Which brings us to the Obama Oval Office redo.
The message is clear: Yes, we … tan?
Whatever the intended message, the feel is too laid-back for these dire economic times - are those pull-out couches? A sectional would be more presidential.
The sofa's fabric is fine, a cotton-rayon. They stayed away from muslin (for obvious reasons).
But the color is called "fawn." Maybe it was chosen for nostalgic reasons - Ah, remember when the press fawned over everything I said?
"Fawn" is just too gentle when what we need is strength.
Mr. President, you're the captain of this ship. Man that color wheel. Steer a bolder course to … "bronze" or "burgundy" or "raw umber."
"Fawn"? You might as well just go with "bisque."
Bordering that vast expanse of oatmeal known as a "carpet" are quotes from Lincoln, F.D.R. and Martin Luther King, which do say something.
But they aren't really noticeable … as they border a vast expanse of oatmeal.
Is the carpet even necessary? It's not like the downstairs neighbors are going to complain about noise. Show us more of your hardwood flooring!
The wallpaper has some zip, and I'm glad you're keeping the traditional desk, a gift from Queen Victoria to Rutherford B. Hayes.
Even so, your Oval Office is way too square - not just muted, but mute.
I want the White House to project triumph, dare I say hope, even when things aren't so triumphant. So that by some mysterious force things get better. Come on, Mr. President, didn't Oprah tell you about the Secret?
Look, all the accents are pitch perfect. I love the bowl of fruit: the last thing we need is an outbreak of scurvy.
But this is an Oval office that tries too hard to say … nothing.