In the process of coming up with this week's cover image, SFR staffers considered several possibilities. ---We knew we wanted to create a modern spinoff of George Lois' iconic May 1968 Esquire cover (see below), which featured Richard Nixon before an army of stylists (hat tip to the lovely and talented Enrique Limón, who first suggested the idea).
But the question of who would be today's Nixon was a thorny one. We considered New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, whose name came up frequently when Mitt Romney was still considering who would be his vice-presidential running mate. As the nation's first Latina governor, as well as one of the more popular state leaders, one could certainly make the case that she's being groomed for the world stage, much as Nixon was before his election.
But in many ways, Romney offered the better counterpart to the 1968 campaign trail's sweaty, often uncharismatic Nixon. Romney, too, has come across as wooden and unlovable—his campaign so fraught with gaffes (women in binders, the 47 percent) that his candidacy at times seems laughable. But that doesn't stop him from putting on a happy face to court voters with whom he has almost nothing in common; his alleged spray-tanned appearance on Univision is the perfect example.
Also, while Romney isn't a local political figure, putting him on the cover also gave us an opportunity to point out one of our favorite traits about New Mexicans: They see through the sound bites and attack ads. Although New Mexico was considered a swing state early on in the election, it's now characterized as solidly blue—evidence New Mexicans don't believe in frothy promises to cut taxes AND balance the budget, all in the same day.
And here's the George Lois masterpiece, for reference: