Thursday, May 24, 2007


Unless he acts, John Edwards will never get past one moment in his life -- a moment that's brought up even when it's utterly irrelevant. From a news roundup that appeared last night on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360:

John Edwards could be up millions of dollars. Remember that half-billion worth of pirate booty found in a sunken ship last week? Turns out Edwards is an investor in the company that discovered the vessel. So, he will likely get a share of it. Arrr, that's a lot of haircuts.

"That's a lot of haircuts." The $400 haircut may literally be part of the first sentence of his obituary.

The prescribed method for overcoming a negative impression is the political world is well known. Recall Nancy Reagan's smash-hit act of pseudo-self-mockery at the '82 Gridiron Club dinner:


The press corps attended to Nancy Reagan Saturday night in the annual Gridiron musical show, lampooning her taste for designer gowns with a song entitled, "Second Hand Clothes." Sung to the tune of "Second Hand Rose," it included such lyrics as: "Calvin Klein, Adolfo, Ralph Lauren and Bill Blass/Ronald Reagan's Mama's going strictly first class."

Of course, some people thought she was dressed in a way that made her look as if she was mocking homeless people, at a time when the numbers of the homeless were increasing. (I certainly thought that.)

It didn't matter. The stunt worked. The subject of Nancy's taste for the finer things was dropped by the Beltway press corps.

Edwards has to do something similar. The best I can come up with is this: He goes on Leno. (Not Letterman or Jon Stewart -- this has to be cornball, not snarky.) Leno beings out someone who's identified as the worst student at a sorry-ass barber college somewhere in an unfashionable part of town -- the worst student or maybe even a barber-school dropout. (If you've ever seen Leno's recurrent "Jaywalking" bit, you know that he has a disturbing ability to make ordinary people feel comfortable about going on TV and demonstrating how slow on the uptake they are.) Edwards sits down and that D-student barber gives Edwards a really crappy haircut. Hilarity ensues.

Or, hey, how about a monkey? Maybe a monkey can give Edwards a haircut!

Naah -- not enough gravitas for a possible future Leader of the Free World. But only barely. The dim-bulb human barber would be perfectly OK. After all, this is America, and our presidents have to have the common touch.

Anyone have a better idea?

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