"If we put up McCain, who is currently 71 years old and who has spent the better part of 3 decades in Washington, against Barack Obama, who is 46 years old, should he win the Democrat nomination you can bet your sweet bippy that it's going to be U-G-L-Y in November. And it's not just McCain's age. You can call him a maverick if you like but McCain is not a good public speaker and an even worse debater." — Henry "Economist" Gómez, "Landslide," Babalú, February 4, 2008
Has it really come down to this at long last? Henry Gómez is urging Babalú's readers not to vote for McCain because he is "U-G-L-Y" and cannot possibly beat Obama in a debate on account of it? Should beauty be the standard used to pick presidents? Poor Abe Lincoln, who called himself the ugliest man who ever lived, was lucky, I suppose, because there was no television in his day, or, perhaps, because the American people then were not as shallow and superficial as Henry supposes them to be now or as he himself is. It has long been the received wisdom that Richard Nixon lost the first televised debate to JFK because Kennedy was more photogenic. Polls at the time showed that that those who watched the debate on television gave JFK the edge while those who heard it on radio favored Nixon. If that was indeed the criteria which Americans used to judge between them then they really got what they deserved. And they will surely get even worse if Obama's relative youth and inexperience trump McCain's white hairs and 50 years of service to this country.
Henry's man, Mitt Romney, is certainly very conscious of the age factor and has done everything that a heterosexual male can do to maximize his appearance, giving new life to the expression "gilding the lily." Harper's Magazine reported, in November 2007, in a cover story entitled "How to Fabricate a Conservative," that "Romney had spent several hundred dollars of campaign funds for the ministrations of Hidden Beauty, a California company that describes itself as 'a mobile beauty team for hair, makeup and men's grooming and spa services' ... Stacy Andrews, who owns Hidden Beauty, said [Romney] barely needed makeup. 'He's already tan,' she told reporters. 'We basically put a drop of foundation on him... and we powdered him a little bit."
Now, that's a man Henry can get behind.