Tuesday, May 01, 2007

More Haircuts

Eric Boehlert has a good post up on the media's interest in John Edwards' expensive haircut. He points out, among other things, that it is only the Democrats' haircut prices that are criticized, and that getting cheap haircuts, even if your house costs millions, is a sign of being connected to your blue-collar roots, whether imaginary or real.

The haircut test is an odd one for the media to use. But its point is a subtle and wingnutty one: An expensive haircut is supposed to disqualify a Democrat from being concerned about the poor. As the conservatives are explicitly not concerned about the poor it is quite acceptable for them to have expensive haircuts. So acceptable that we never find out how much those haircuts cost. But someone who speaks about poverty, such as John Edwards, is viewed as a hypocrite if he is rich himself. The same arguments were used about John Kerry and wind-surfing and the money his wife has.

There is a Catch-22 in all this. A poor person doesn't have the money to run for the presidency. If only poor people are genuine advocates for the poor, this means that no president could ever advocate for the poor without being seen as two-faced. Not at least until we change the way elections are financed. Which will be right after we get a new Zamboni for the ice-rink in hell.