10/24/14

"Ugly As Sin" . . .

I read THIS the other night and about blew a gasket. "This" (for those who want the short and curlies) is a piece about a male Republican New Hampshire state representative went on a rant on his blog (who the heck blogs in the year 2014 anyway?) about a female Congresswoman (that is the group that meets in DC for the politically confused) up for re-election being . . . well . . . let me QUOTE the guy (and his dreadful sentence structure):

"Let's be honest. Does anyone not believe that Congresswoman Annie Kuster is as ugly as sin? And I hope I haven't offended sin."

Still not sure this guy is Douche of the Week? There's more . . .

"How ugly is Annie Kuster? Sad to say, but the drag queens in Montreal are more attractive than Annie Kuster . . . Annie Kuster looks more like a drag queen than most men in drag. Ouch!"

Right? This f*cking guy. What prompted the rant? How could he possibly justify such horrible speech? Well . . . nothing.  But his stupidity was spent on fact's tab. You see Rep. Vaillancourt's larger point was about the embattled  leader of NH's 2nd district (Kuster) who is likely to lose in a few weeks to Marlilinda Garcia and he was on to some horrifying truth that plagues politics.

You see Kuster, who is 58-years-old and opponent Garcia, 31, look nothing alike and there are plenty who believe that Garcia is far more fetching (Google her for yourself, you pervert.) and that is why she is getting support and making a real run at the first-term incumbent.

The truth? It is very, very possible. Polling data in New England has shown that the appearance of the younger upstart is relevant to voters. Sure, the challenger (Garcia) went on the record saying she was horrified by his remarks but that she realized she and her opponent had the unfortunate curse of being female politicians.

But is that fair? Is it about gender? Not exclusively . . . There is TONS of scholarship to suggest that we factor in general appearance of any politician (man vs. man, woman vs. woman, man vs. woman) when we choose candidates and cast votes.

FDR was rarely photographed or recorded in his wheelchair. It would make him look "weak", he feared.

What about JFK vs. Richard Nixon in 1960? Nixon, a far more seasoned politician, was ahead of JFK in many polls until the two men appeared on a TV debate where Nixon, white and clammy from a cold and an anxiety disorder was washed out in a grey suit and pale blue tie while JFK - my least favorite president of the modern era and one who's legacy is only buoyed by his premature and violent death - was tanned, relaxed, and fresh from banging half the women in the green room popped in a navy suit and red tie (it was black and white TV but grey scale still matters). The RADIO audience for the debate said Nixon won (ideas and words and delivery). The TV audience said JFK won (that dreamy muh-fukkah). The rest is history.

Want more history, more recent? Michael Dukakis out-polled his opponent, then-Vice President George H. W. Bush in 1988 with undecided women who used words like "nice looking" and "warm" and "friendly" to describe him while undecided men saw Bush's steely glare and nasally wisdom more compelling.

Want more? Fine. The ladies . . . Sarah. F*cking. Palin. I dare you to justify ANY other reason the McCain camp chose her other than all the good choices saying "No" followed by her gender (strategic - I'll allow it) and her appearance. I know, I know . . . she's got that "can do" spirit and folksy presence but come on . . . COME ON!

Even more recent? Let's talk about the Michelle Obama vs. Ann Romney pieces. They. Were. Not. Even. Running. Their. Husbands. Were.

We're all guilty of it . . . it is human nature, sadly. We trust, are more comfortable with, and want to see success for and from better-looking people. If we were not so base, Hollywood would have never actually succeeded and the world would know nothing of the Kardashian sisters.

I digress . . . I don't know which woman is better for New Hampshire (or for all of us - as Rep. Mike Pompeo drones on and one . . . he represents not just Kansans but all Americans (The. WORST.)) and I don't know what we do about this political spread.

We are losing really, truly great thinkers and leaders and strategists because they (or their family) don't want the spotlight. We are choosing and building candidates with image consultants and fashion advisers (I've noticed a candidate for Secretary of State here in Kansas is looking more Talbot's than Dress Barn lately) and we are missing the whole point that the wooden toothed (perhaps) Washington carried with him to Washington when he talked about how and why men (it was a different time, relax) should lead.

The voters of the Granite State will settle their race soon but this "relevance" of appearance in politics has always been here and likely will always be here.

The worst part of all this is that - for his part - Steve Vaillancourt (Google the troll, if you'd like to.) looks like the creepy uncle no one wants at family dinners and/or the substitute gym coach that wants to hug all the students . . . but he is on his way to another easy re-election because, well, life is not fair.