Here is what passes for informed commentary in the 2008 presidential campaign as of today.
Maureen Dowd on John Edwards’s sartorial choices.
John Edwards has reminded us that even — or especially — in the age of appearances, you must not appear to care too much about appearances.
When you spend more on a couple of haircuts than Burundi’s per capita G.D.P. , it looks so vain it makes Paul Wolfowitz’s ablutions spitting on his comb look like rugged individualism.
Following his star turn primping his hair for two minutes on a YouTube video to the tune of “I Feel Pretty,” Mr. Edwards this week had to pay back the $800 charged to his campaign for two shearings at Torrenueva Hair Designs in Beverly Hills. He seems intent on proving that he is a Breck Girl — and a Material Boy.
He did not pony up for the pricey bills from Designworks Salon in Dubuque, Iowa, or the Pink Sapphire spa in Manchester, which offers services for men that include the “Touch of Youth” facial, as well as trips “into the intriguing world of makeup.” The Edwards campaign calls makeup a legitimate expense.
The cost of grooming hair is peanuts compared with the cost of grooming an image. Hillary is paying a fortune to try to buy the secrets of likability. Her financial reports for the first three months of 2007 show debts to consulting firms of $447,000.
John McCain, who’s supposed to be giving it to us straight, has a jaw-dropping herd of consultants to tell him how to do that. Dubbed “the 2007 Full Employment Act for Campaign Consultants,” the McCain crew spent $645,000 on fund-raising consultants in the first quarter and $400,000 on political consultants in key states (four in South Carolina alone). His top political adviser, John Weaver, got more than $60,000 in just three months.
Obviously, there’s a lot of waste in political campaigns. But you don’t have to be as flinty as Mitt Romney — who has made his staff triple up at cheap hotels — to know there’s something special about throwing away money on vanity.
All the haircuts in the world may not save John Edwards from a blowout.
NTodd responds to Ms. Dowd:
Allow me to do a little “analysis” for you. You’re an old maid who’s feeling life ebb away. You’ve got a cushy gig, so you don’t feel compelled to get off your fat, spotty behind to find a real story, and thus prefer to contemplate the deep secrets of haircuts, fabric choices and whether the carpet matches the drapes. This also makes you feel better about your wasted life, toiling away in your efficiency apartment wearing a bathrobe…
No, wait, that’s me and Vinny. Still. The point stands, you ignorant, gossiping harpy. Your “like to have a beer with the guy” style over substance bullshit is directly responsible for electing the worst fucking president in the history of this nation who allowed the worst attack ever on our soil to kill 3,000 people, and made the worst foreign policy and strategic military blunder since Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.
And his wife wears the worst pantsuits ever made.
Frankly, I hope that this is the last post I have to put up about candidates’ style choices. We’re talking about the future of America, not American Idol. But I don’t hold out a lot of hope.