Sunday, January 24, 2010

Killer Candidates: Looks and Electability in Politics

Of course good looks matter. It's more than innate intuition. Even social-psychology tells physical attraction is biologically-driven. But I'll tell you, I haven't thought about looks and politics quite the way Neo-Neocon has. See, "Politics and Good Looks: Scott Brown and His Predecessors":

Scott Brown is not just good-looking; he may just be the best-looking male politician ever to come down the pike on the national level. I would say the same for Sarah Palin on the distaff side.

In Palin’s case, I believe her beauty both helped and hurt her, since it attracted some but gave special ammunition to those inclined to call her a bimbo. As for Scott Brown, although a few on the left tried to use the fact that he had once posed revealingly (although not nude, as some tried to say) for Cosmo against him, that charge gained no traction. On the whole, I think Brown’s looks were a tremendous asset, if only to get people’s attention long enough for them to listen to him speak and display his other stellar attributes.

It’s interesting that in the last two years we’ve seen two of the most physically attractive people ever to come onto the political scene on the national level, and that both are straight-shooting Republicans of a populist nature. Before that, Romney was considered handsome, but too perfect and almost Ken-doll-like. As Joy Behar notes in the above video, John Edwards (who never rang my chimes) was considered too pretty-boy, a category into which Dan Quayle also fell so long ago, a fact that caused people to treat him as much dumber than he was.

When I think back on the presidents in my lifetime, it strikes me that a great many of them were relatively good-looking. JFK certainly was, although he was hardly in the Scott Brown class in that respect (but then, who is? Brown is one of those people for whom Hollywood would be challenged to find an actor handsome enough to play him in the biopic). LBJ, who followed JFK, was a strange hybrid, because people considered him an impressively good-looking man in person but he came across as a big-eared bumpkin on TV.
There's more at the link (plus the video cited at Neo's post).

Also, a decent background piece at the Los Angeles Times, "
What Makes Scott Brown Run?"

RELATED: "Brown's Win Shows GOP How to Seize Obama's Old Senate Seat" (via Memeorandum).


kreiz1 said...

No doubt, looks matter. Obama's telegenic looks and deep voice contrasted favorably with the aging McCain. Alas, Abe Lincoln, with his craggy face, lanky frame, and high-pitched voice, would've been doomed in the television age. That's entertainment.