That Presidential Look: The Bad, the Beautiful, and Voting-Booth Realities

While there was more than one reason why John McCain was a long shot to win the 2008 general election, a big one was something almost no one talked seriously about: appearance. That is to say, when was the last time an old-looking, white-haired, half-bald man won the presidency? If you think this piece will be satire or fluff, think again.  It rather will be very serious commentary about a very silly -- but painfully real -- phenomenon. When people do discuss looks' impact on presidential fortunes, they usually treat the matter as a joke; we may hear, for instance, how a candidate must have "great hair" to enjoy rarefied commander-in-chief air.  But if professional pundits and politics wonks think it's beneath them to wax anything but comedic on this issue, the joke is on them.  After all, this is the age of American Idol. To answer my earlier question, the last time Americans elected a bald president was 1956, when Dwight Eisenhower defeated similarly hair...(Read Full Article)