Wednesday, December 19, 2007


In my post yesterday about the aging Hillary picture published by Rupert Murdoch's Australian, I didn't mention Rush Limbaugh's monologue (also available here), even though it got most of the negative attention, simply because, well, he seemed to be pulling his punches. He wasn't truly nasty, or at least the nastiness was below the surface. Even as he calculatedly kept the negative story alive by talking about it, he almost seemed ... sorry for Hillary.

Or for someone:

...The number of people in public life who appear on television or on the big screen, who are content to be who they are, you can probably count on one hand.  Everybody's trying to make themselves look different -- and in that situation, in that case, they think they're making themselves look better....
When you see people who are, "Boy, they're just really great," but they can't get anywhere because they just, for some reason, television doesn't complement them. They don't look well on it, they don't handle it well, and it has an effect, regardless how smart they are, how brilliant their policy.  This is one of the things that many people lament with the coming of television.  You go back and look at presidents that we elected prior to TV, and presidents we elected after TV, and you will notice a huge difference. Do you think a bloated president could win? We had plenty of fat-guy presidents.  Do you think one could get elected today?  There's not a prayer!  There isn't a prayer....

Hmmm ... this was said by Rush Limbaugh, who lasted only a few unsuccessful, unmemorable years on TV, back when he was, er, fatter than he was after some subsequent weight loss? Interesting.

And now we have Maureen Dowd, in today's New York Times:

One of my male colleagues was explaining why men age better than women.

"It's evolutionary," he said. "As we wear out our wives, who are running around taking care of the kids, we know we're going to have to get another younger wife, so we stay good-looking."

He was kidding. (I think.) We were discussing Hillary’s latest hurdle: the Old Hag routine.

Oh, right. You were discussing Hillary. Because, if that picture hadn't been published, the subject would never have come up, because you never think about such things otherwise.

Of course, trading in the old ball-'n'-chain for a model half her age isn't actually routine in this society -- some older married men would like to do it but can't find a willing young thing, while others (I know this will come as a shock to you, Maureen) are simply content (or even, heaven help us, happy) with their same-age wives. But that's not the way things go in Dowd's all-alpha world, and any long-time Dowd reader knows she blames this trend for her unmarried status -- so she sees it as universal.

But Dowd does think this is really unfair to Hillary, darn it:

When men want to put down a powerful woman in a sexist way, they will say she's a hag or a nag or a witch or angry or hysterical.

Yes -- Dowd would never use words like that. She prefers "Hillzilla" and "dominatrix."

And Hillary isn't a victim of Dowd's obsession with surface -- that obsession is America's!'s true that looks matter in politics, even though Abe Lincoln still ranks as our favorite president. J.F.K.'s tan and Nixon's 5-o'clock shadow helped turn that 1960 debate in Kennedy's favor, just as Gore's waxy orange makeup and condescending mien hurt him in a debate with W.

...Mitt Romney, Barack Obama and John Edwards almost always look good, and pretty much the same, in dark suits or casual wear. Fred Thompson always looks crepuscular and droopy.

Er, Mo, Gore won the popular vote. And this year the two leaders in the GOP race are a guy who looks like the love child of Lon Chaney and Fredo Corleone and a guy who's a dead ringer for Gomer Pyle. Maybe the public is doing just fine overlooking how the candidates look. Maybe the problem is limited to your exquisitely groomed acquaintances -- and you.

No comments: