Wednesday, June 6, 2007
So the 2008 race to the white house has begun. I’m not big on politics, but I do care who is ruining our country. I watch different candidates and get their views on different things. I entertain all points of view. I really feel that in order to be an informed voter you cannot only listen to one side of an argument. Actually to be informed, period, you cannot only look at one side of an issue. I find that the news media isn’t a help in this task. They feed to the general public what they want to hear *cough*foxnews*cough. One thing that has been bothering me lately as I flip through the channels and pick up newspapers is the media coverage of one of the top republican candidates. Mitt Romney, of Massachusetts has been the focus of a great deal of talk throughout the media. Is it because of his positions on the war? No. Is it because of the way he governed MA? No. Is it because of his religious beliefs? Somewhat, but that not what I’m writing about. I’m writing about what is being referred to in the media as the “presidential look”. This morning on the today show Matt Lauer referred to Romney as “looking like a president”. Other media outlets have joined this bandwagon. One said that his “presidential looks” are what is putting him ahead in the polls of the republican candidates. One outlet said that people like him because he “looks like a president”. These statements baffle me. What is the “look of a president”? There isn’t one. Our presidents could not be more different in looks. The one thing they have in common is that they are all older white men, that is it. All of them physically look different. Clinton, for example looked nothing like Lincoln and FDR looked nothing like George Washington. Presidents were tall ( Lincoln was 6’4”, which was very unusually tall for his time) and presidents were short (James Madison was 5’4”, the shortest of all presidents). Seven of our presidents were left handed, most were right handed. Five of our presidents have had beards, the rest have not. Many of our presidents wore glasses. One was in a wheelchair, unable to walk. Almost all of the first ten presidents wore wigs. The wig fad quickly faded. Presidents over the years could not have looked more different. Some had brown hair some had black hair and some had white hair. Except for the first ten presidents, that hair was real. So it bothers me when the media refers to Romney as “looking like a president”. What is the media inferring? Are they seriously trying to group the presidents as all looking the same? They were far from all looking the same. Thinking about this label, I realize that maybe the media is trying to subconsciously make us vote for Romney. The public will hear “looks presidential” and settle. Are we supposed to respond, “Well since he looks like a president, obviously he if qualified”. We are not that stupid. I don’t mean to attack Romney with this in any way. I’m sure he is a nice guy and is very qualified to be president, but to me he does not look like a president. Looking like a president would infer that he wore a wig of different colors, was both left and right handed, was both tall and short, wore glasses sometimes, had a mustache ( to appease the beard voters) and on every other Thursday rode in a wheelchair. Romney, nor any other candidate, could possibly fill all of the physical characteristics associated with the American president. There is no way anyone could “look like a president”.