I was thinking, as I watched photo after photo come up on the screen, and then watched speech after speech, that Howard Dean looks like Jack Nicholson playing Johnny in Kubrik's The Shining. Especially when he smiles. Am I the only one who thinks so? Such an association inspires more fear than confidence in Dean's prospects as a president.
Then there's John Kerry. He looks a bit like a bassett hound. It's those droopy eyes and the long face. There's something reliable and friendly and maybe even a little sad in Kerry's appearance. While I haven't completely ruled him out as a possible Leader of the Free World, I have to say I wouldn't want a president that reminds me too much of Flash from The Dukes of Hazard.
Of the three front runners, I have to say John Edwards looks the most presidential in my mind. He's young and attractive, rather like Kennedy. And when I picture that page in my old World Book Encyclopedia, the one that had a little photo of each president so that I could learn them all (although I never did), I can't see Dean or Kerry fitting in. But I can picture Edwards in the lineup.
Of course I haven't even talked about Clark or Lieberman. They opted not to campaign for the Iowa caucuses. But I'll be watching them as they gear up for New Hampshire. I know it seems shallow to rate these potential presidents by their looks, but let's face it: it's rather like a Mr. Democrat contest. There's the talent portion, and the question-and-answer. . . but there are a few points awarded for appearance too. Not as much as in a traditional beauty pageant, certainly, but it's there. If it weren't, Clark wouldn't have gone to all the trouble to buy that nice new sweater.
Image isn't everything. But it's something. And while "image" can include a candidate's personal life--family man, ex-military, etc.--style also counts.