Cloth coat Republican

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I should say this— that Pat doesn't have a mink coat. But she does have a respectable Republican cloth coat. And I always tell her that she'd look good in anything.[1]

"Cloth coat Republican" is a phrase denoting Republicans of humbler means and lifestyle. The term originated with a 1952 speech by Richard Nixon in response to accusations of corruption, where he referred to his and his wife's modest lifestyle. It's basically the exact opposite of a Champagne socialist.

The "cloth coat" is intended to contrast with the "fur coat" worn by the privileged wives of political men. The "ideal" was Pat Nixon, the wife of Tricky Dick, a self-made man who was utterly paranoid in so many ways we will only address one here: he was from the "folk," not the select few who went to Ivy League colleges and lived lives of pre-ordained privilege. As such, he hated the people who had managed to climb the ladder of power with assistance from their relatives and backgrounds, and tried to emphasize his struggle to succeed in spite of all odds.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was also arguably a "cloth coat Republican" as he didn't have a family that propped him up in becoming General and later President. Although Abraham Lincoln beat him to the punch by a good century.

Another label was the Rotary Club "Rockefeller Republicans," named after Nelson Rockefeller despite their significant wealth (and who Nixon probably disliked for being so privileged); they failed to combat the New Right, and now we all have to pay for it.

See also[edit]