Thursday, September 4, 2008

Political Faces

arren Harding swept to the 1920 Republican nomination largely because an Ohio promoter thought "He looked like a President." He won by an unprecedented landslide, 60% of the popular vote.

Are we still voting by appearances? Anything worth chattering about?

On the Democratic presidential ticket the first Black First Lady in-waiting, Michelle Obama (44) has guts and glamour, indisputable professional credentials, and is incredibly smart. There's an unflattering high school photo in her past and she chemically straightens her hair. And they put her in flats so her 5'11" frame doesn't tower over Jill Biden (57). But that's about it.

Dr. Biden, also a very handsome woman, appears to be aging without any knifestyling. Her skin is weathered from outdoor running and she dyes her hair. But that's about it. Yawn.

If they both weren't such fabulous examples of vibrant womanhood, it'd be almost boring.

Obama (47) himself is remarkable for being within the 35% of adult Americans who are at a healthy weight. His ears stick out and he has a gleaming smile. Cartoonists and dentists across the land are celebrating.

Now Joe Biden (64) is a different matter.

Back when the West was won, hair transplants looked like they were accomplished with a pop riveter - the so-called 'doll's hair' look. Until the late 1980s, the best method of hair transplantation involved 'plugs' that each contained 15 to 30 hairs.

Sen. Biden's early career foray into arms and hair control has become a little less obvious over time, thanks to revision with updated transplant techniques and greying hair. Nor was he alone: plugged-in along with him were the late senators William Proxmire and Strom Thurmond.

The right-leaning blogosphere is roundly condemning the Vice Presidential candidate's "poor judgment" for undergoing "expensive cosmetic surgery" and deems it indicative of a character flaw, akin to dishonesty (which already plagues Biden): "a blatant sign of vanity above substance."

Would they feel the same way if it came out that Obama's white sparklers were veneers? After all, the ivories are all capped in Hollywood. (And tinsel town has it's share of balding beaus battling back, too. Rob Schneider, Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, Brendan Fraser, and Tom Hanks have all been rumored to have had hair transplants.)

But now for the Republican half of the ticket. Ladies first.

Cindy McCain (54) has had a little thing for stolen prescription opioids, but is more widely criticized for being "plastic." You'll never find a photo of her with crowsfeet or wrinkled brow. But is it deeper than too much bleach and Botox? Her ears show no obvious signs of a traditional cut-and-pull facelift, but her face is tight, the neck is remarkably taut, and her jaw is free of jowling....something you just don't find in nature. Her face work is as carefully done as Hillary Clinton's. This photo shows those pearls are real.

Pro-life, pro-gun, pro-drilling, abstinence-only creationist, the undeniably beautiful Sarah Palin (44) has received a lot of attention for producing her fifth child virtually undetected. Scott Sloan appears to have the only footage from February showing the Alaskan governor just 8 weeks before she delivered a 6 lbs, 2 oz baby.

Here is her daughter attending the RNC this week in St. Paul, at 5 months pregnant. The photo-op was deliberate, as both John McCain and Sarah Palin greeted the couple-to-be at the MSP airport.

Medically, the timing is curious. Bristol Palin (17) conceived as a 16-year-old junior. Was it in defiance of her parents' prior decision to yank her from her boyfriend's high school midyear and take her home for some eight months? Or was it to finish something she started? There is one menstrual cycle gap between the two pregnancies.

The real significance of this for the Elephant and the presidential contest is thoughtfully discussed here. I predict conservative Christian voters will love this fertile family fable, for the same reasons they voted to sit down and have a beer with recovering alcoholic GWB.

"First Dude" Todd Palin is a good 'ol boy with nothing knifestyle-worthy. At most, his elopement with the someday VP candidate coincided with the conception of his first born, Track (can't tell for sure since the Bristol and Track's birthdates have been scrubbed.)

Presidential nominee John McCain's (72) war injuries and torture have left him with limited range of motion in his arms. (According to fellow POW cellmate Colonel Bud Day, McCain had 3 fractures in his right arm, a fractured right knee, dislocated left arm, bayoneted left leg– before his captors starved him and hung him by his arms). That and a loose zipper seem to be his main contribution to today's subject.

To hear more, tune in to hear Anne explore it all with Kevyn Burger on FM107.1 at 10am Thursday.


Anonymous said...

Anne - If you're interested in some photos of Governor Palin during her pregnancy, check out

It's from Dec 17, 2007 at the Governor's Open House - she would have been 5 months pregnant then.

ANNE said...

She says the baby came 4 weeks prematurely, so she's only 4 months pregnant in those December pictures (when most can still hide it). The Scott Sloan video link posted in the blog is a full 2 months later, when she's 6 months along. She looks full around the waist, but her hands never come to rest on her belly. Can you find any picture after her announcement at 7 months (when her staff couldn't tell) but before delivery at 8 months? Any image unequivocally pregnant? It's probably all true, but strange that the campaign hasn't planted such a picture somewhere!

I'm more interested in the Texas forum she was attending when her labor started. It turns out to have been a closed-door affair hosting 9 Republican governors and corporate energy VIPs from Peabody Energy Corp., Shell Oil, BP America, Covanta Enegy Corp.,AGL Resources....shades of Dick Cheney.

Anonymous said...

Anne, here's what the Canadians think:

"You should sell those earrings and get another house"

Cindy McCain appeared at the GOP convention in St. Paul on Tuesday night in a mustard-colour Oscar de la Renta dress. This got Vanity Fair thinking about her husband painting Barack Obama as elitist and out of touch, so the mag decided to price her outfit. The total they came up with, based largely on estimates of what her earrings were worth, is in the neighbourhood of $300,000. Now that's a lot of change.

Cindy McCain
Oscar de la Renta dress: $3,000
Chanel J12 White Ceramic Watch: $4,500
Three-carat diamond earrings: $280,000
Four-strand pearl necklace: $11,000–$25,000
Shoes, designer unknown: $600
Total: Between $299,100 and $313,100

ANNE said...

The woman has great taste in jewelry. Now she just needs some help with her makeup - that base is really mismatched. Maybe she should take a page out of Hillary Clinton's playbook and hire freelance artist Kriss Soterion:,1,5356831.story

Anonymous said...

And of course the excellent nose job Obama had...

ANNE said...

I know the rumor is out there, but I don't see it. The photos in the link you provide are excellent frontal views and confirm for me that he hasn't had anything done. Perhaps what gives the illusion of an altered nose is due to the following. In the earlier, informal shot Obama is grinning widely, which flattens his nose and pulls his cheeks laterally, thus making his nose appear broader. In the second, professionally lit promo shot the shadows are minimized and his mouth and cheeks are relaxed. The position of his nostrils relative to his other facial features is the same in both shots.

Anonymous said...

Here is one of him smiling

To me, the central part of his nose looks much narrower, although maybe the older picture makes him look more bulbous because of a little baby fat(?).