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Politics and Sex Appeal Other articles by this author  

Politics and Sex Appeal
Nancy Morgan
June 26, 2007

Gee, doesn't Hillary look great these days? Fresh-faced, beaming, nary a frown line. No evidence of her famously pursed lips. And those scowl lines, earned by a lifetime of looking down on others with barely concealed contempt, have vanished. Magic. She almost looks normal.
 While no one (with the exception of, say, Eleanor Clift) would ever call her a 'babe,' Hillary's visage no longer brings forth an involuntary flinch. This 'transformation' was immediately apparent at the recent Democrat debate. Hill's camp vehemently denies any 'artifice.' Lighting and make-up can do wonders, they would have us believe. Those who believe pigs fly need read no further.
A more reasonable explanation is, you guessed it, botox. A few well-placed injections can make even Phyllis Diller look, well, acceptable. The only other explanation involves shades of Dorian Gray.
You have to hand it to Hill. She has proven that it is possible to fool most of the people some of the time. A recent Forbes poll found only one per cent thought she was 'personally attractive.' (Compare that to Obama's 33% ranking.) Hillary got the message.
And John Kerry. Amazing how his head of hair continues to thicken as the years march on. During his last campaign, I couldn't tell if his hair was real. One can usually tell by looking at the part. If you can see scalp and roots, it's usually natural. Lately though, Kerry has this little lick of hair conveniently laying over the side part, making me suspicious that he's wearing a rug. Ever since Kerry quit the botox, his huge head of hair just doesn't look natural framing a face full of wrinkles. I could be wrong.
Ever since the advent of television, physical appearance has played an integral part in the election process. The rules are unwritten but ironclad:
For men to be elected, a head of hair is deemed essential, supposedly to convey virility and youth. Even top-notch politicians like Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott have had to acknowledge this unwritten rule. (It's possible that Fred Thompson could be the exception that proves the rule)
For women to be elected, wrinkles are the culprit. It's okay to have a chicken neck, wattles and all, but the face must be relatively wrinkle-free. The rule here is 'too much is not enough,' as proved by Nancy Pelosi. Her facial skin is so tight as to be transluscent and she has barely enough skin left above her eyes to close them completely. No problemo..  enough voters perceive that wide-eyed look as alertness as opposed to bug eyes that I predict her political fortunes will remain intact.
More a suggestion than a rule, the hands, an excellent indicator of age, should be kept out of sight unless script calls for 'passion' or 'outrage' at which time, the hands can be waved. The wave should be quick, however, so as to obscure any liver spots. Those are  definite vote-losers for both men and women.
For men and black women, it's okay to be fat. (Think Cynthia Mckinney, Edward Kennedy, Jerry Nadler, etc.) However, if you're a Republican woman, excess fat is a no-no. Oh, and easy on the make-up or you'll suffer the fate of Katherine Harris.

When it comes to appointed positions, the rules change. Then it becomes okay for a woman to display her sexuality. This is usually done via silicon lips and breasts. Although, in the case of UN Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie, I have to say her 'bee stung' lips are extremely distracting. Silicon-enhanced lips are meant to convey sensuality. As in 'pout' or 'bruised,' purposely evocative of recent, uh, activity..To me, they merely look infected. Color me catty.
Sex appeal is the greatest sales tool of all time. For decades it has been used to form favorable associations with various products. Now politicians are realising this primal truth. Witness the recent 'I Have a Crush on Obama' video that is making the rounds on the net. A few teen-age girls in short shorts fawning over a cardboard cut-out of Obama. I predict a huge bump in the polls of the 'twenty something's' for Obama. Another demographic group locked up. 

Hillary is currently pursuing the same 'twenty something's' group. I predict she will re-release the famous photo of her and Bill dancing on a desert island. (I suspect a video of twenty-something's fawning over Hillary wouldn't work) Ouch...

In our increasingly visual world, more often than not, what you see is not what you get. Perception is now reality to many voters. (Thanks in large part to the liberals' focus on 'feelings' as opposed to facts.) An 'earnest' look by cute John Edwards holds more sway than his policy on Iraq; Romney gets points for 'looking' Presidential; and Fred Thompson's TV persona will definitely factor into his presidential chances.  If one hasn't mastered the art of the artificial, like say, Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul, there's a better than even chance they will never rise to the rank of contender. No matter how smart or qualified they are.
Thanks to technology, plastic surgeons, implants and botox, politicians can now fool us on one more level. Couple that with the rise of the MTV generation and I predict the old reliance on merit, character and actions will continue to decline, to be replaced with an over-reliance on superficiality, sound bites and botox.
True character will eventually out. But unfortunately, by then, the elections will be over and the candidate who has best mastered the game of misperception will be safely ensconced in whatever political office he or she won...with the added layer of incumbency to guard against the voters' second thoughts. 

Once in office, the elected official will have learned how successful one can be by relying on form over substance. Hence the endless series of feel-good, relatively empty but beautifully packaged legislation will continue. And we, the American people, won't have any right to complain. After all, we're getting exactly what we voted for.

Nancy Morgan is a conservative news editor and columnist living in South Carolina 


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