We pretend to select our president after carefully considering his politics, policies, promises, and history, but in most cases we just vote for the best looking one. If they're not great looking, great style will do. A candidate's Social Security plan isn't nearly as important as his haircut, his tax policy doesn't matter as much as the cut of his suit and his voting history is trivial compared to his walk. If Harrison Ford ran for president he would be elected by a landslide even if his only campaign promise was to start every day by clubbing a baby seal to death on the White House lawn.
The Sunday morning talking heads, the editorial pages in the newspapers and web pages like this let us pretend we're really making a serious and thoughtful selection. Some of us are, but not enough to make a difference, so the best way to predict the next president is by comparing the candidate's looks, demeanor, and style. I may occasionally, out of habit, slip into mentioning their politics in this article, and for this I apologize.
Donald Trump always looks exhausted, as if he just spent the weekend having sex with a gold-digging bimbo. He has. He's not bad looking, and has bucket loads of style, but it's a style that includes putting his name on everything in huge letters, as if he's afraid someone will steal his giant toys. We like to ignore the fact that most of our presidents are filthy rich, but The Donald has spent his life to reminding us of his wealth at every opportunity. Also, voters want a first lady, not a first playmate. He'll make a good placeholder in the Reform party, but has no chance of getting elected.
Pat Buchanan, (shown here with his horns removed,) is an ugly little man who loves his country and hates everyone who lives in it. His ugliness isn't just on the surface; it's deep within his bones. Blind people know he's ugly. Even if he weren't, in order to vote for him we'd have to admit how short sighted and mean spirited we are, so he's out.
Bill Bradley looks somewhat presidential, although in a lot of photographs he looks like someone squeezed his head in a vice and stopped just before his eyeballs popped. He looks more like a sports announcer than a president, and that, combined with his sports background, might get him elected, if it weren't for the fact that the Democrats will be foolish enough to nominate The Algore.
Al Gore would look very presidential if movies or video had never been invented. His photos look great. But when he moves he still looks like a photograph. He walks like he's balancing a book on his head. The title of the book is "How I Came This Close to Being President, And Lost."
Gary Bauer is short. We don't elect short presidents.
Orrin Hatch is the most presidential looking Republican candidate. He's professional without being stiff, smooth when answering questions, his suits look expensive but not too expensive, he's religious without being sanctimonious about it and he has more experience in politics than all the other candidates put together. He's got the looks. He's got the style. He doesn't have the money. "Next!"
John McCain looks too professional, more like a Fortune 500 CEO than a US president. We like our presidents to have a little "aw shucks" quality so we can pretend they're like us. And even though he's not responsible for it, we're already sick of POW references, and shudder at the thought of hearing them for another four years.
Steve Forbes, whose current job title is "CEO of Daddy's Money," is the ugliest of the candidates. Sometimes he looks like someone just stole his lunch money. Sometimes he looks like someone just snuck a live eel in his shorts and he's trying to pretend nothing's wrong. Sometimes he looks like he just got a whiff of something that smells really bad. None of those looks are very presidential.
Alan Keyes looks and acts like a Southern Baptist preacher. That's fine in a church, but (with the exception of a few Bible-thumping goobers) that's not what we want in the White House.
I first saw Keyes when I accidentally channel-surfed to one of the early debates. All the candidates were summing up, and he was the last in line. His first statement impressed me. (I don't have a transcript, so this wording is not going to be exact.) He pointed around the stage and said "You all have it wrong. You're telling people you'll do this for them and you'll do that for them, but that's not what government is all about. Government should stay out of people's way, and only step in to do the few things people can't do on their own." I thought "Wow! Finally, a candidate who thinks the way I do!" But he kept talking, and dispelled that notion. "We must end the government's excessive interference with our private lives. We must start by forcing every pregnant woman to give birth. We must create respect for life by telling her what she'll have to do with hers for the next twenty years. We can make this country great by filling it with unwanted children." I'm paraphrasing here, just a bit.
George Bush has successfully smothered that annoying smirk of his, but not completely. The result is a kind of puppy-dog look, the same look my black lab, Jenny, displays when she's begging at the dinner table. The tilt of her head and the look in her eyes says "please, please, toss me just a little of that, and I'll be happy." George has mastered the same look. "Please, please, just toss me the presidency, and I'll be happy."
We love dogs, so as long as George keeps displaying and perfecting that look, he'll win the presidential election. That's unfortunate because I know Jenny would do a much better job.
Just for fun, try typing www.bushsucks.com or www.bushblows.com in your browser to see where they lead you. (It also works with a .org or .net estension.) Hint: They won't lead you here.
© 2000 Dave Hitt
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