December 17, 2007 in Opinion

Guiliani could lose by a hair

Jim Shea Hartford Courant
 

So far, we have been asking these questions:

Is America ready for a woman president?

Is America ready for a Mormon president?

Is America ready for a black president?

But the question we have not been asking: Is America ready for a bald president?

Never mind his personal life, his revisionist record, his prickly personality. The biggest obstacle facing Republican front-runner Rudy Giuliani is not what’s between his ears, it’s what’s above them.

This should be worrisome for Republicans, because this country has not elected a bald person president since Dwight Eisenhower in 1956.

The hairy record:

In 1960, John Kennedy’s hair beat Richard Nixon’s hair by a hair, and in 1964 Lyndon Johnson’s slicked-back follicles beat the Brylcreem out of Barry Goldwater’s.

In the 1968 and 1972 presidential elections, Nixon came back against two opponents – Hubert Humphrey and George McGovern – who both were obviously well on their way to chrome dome-ification.

In 1976, Jimmy Carter whipped wispy Gerald Ford, whose head, if you were to believe comedian Chevy Chase, was one large bump looking for its next accident.

Ronald Reagan may or may not have been a great president, but there is no denying he had the best right-wing hair of all time, which is why he opened a can of whup on Carter and Fritz Mondale in 1980 and 1984.

Michael Dukakis probably had superior hair to George H.W. Bush’s in 1988, but then Dukakis did that ridiculous photo op from the tank, and the helmet he was wearing and his hair became confused in voters’ eyes.

In 1992 and 1996, Bill Clinton’s “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” hair made Bush’s and Bob Dole’s “On the Road to Mandalay” hair look old-fashioned and out of step.

In 2000, Al Gore looked like he had better hair than George W. Bush, but from the right angle you could see he was soon going to be spray painting a burgeoning bald spot. This reality is probably why the Supreme Court awarded the election to Bush.

In 2004, John Kerry and John Edwards boasted the best all-time hair by a pair of running mates, a distinction that proved to be to their disadvantage because while you cannot be too rich or too thin, you can be too coiffured.

Which brings us to 2008, where the Republicans are in big trouble.

Right now, three of the top four GOP candidates – Giuliani, John McCain and Fred Thompson – haven’t got enough hair among them to produce a halfway decent comb-over.

Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has a lot of hair, but it is Mr. Perfect hair, and not a style voters trust.

The Republican hair situation is so dire that, in desperation, Republicans are beginning to migrate toward Mike Huckabee hair.

On the Democratic side, Edwards has, in effect, shot himself in the hair with his $400 haircuts, while Barack Obama wears his hair so short as to take it out of play.

Hillary Clinton, who has never been comfortable in her own hair, is currently going with a style her hair people describe as an “inevitability bob.”

Arguably, the most presidential hair in either party belongs to Chris Dodd, but, unfortunately, his silvery locks have yet to catch fire.


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