The Washington Post

Before the Florida Tea Party debate, a GOP 2012 hair preview

Whenever I think my life is going well, I suddenly remember that my hair will never look as good as that of the 2012 Republican candidates (except Thad McCotter, which is a note that could go on anything written about 2012). (Kevork Djansezian/GETTY IMAGES)

Here, let me hand you my Serious Person With Legitimate Thoughts Card, which someone issued to me in error a few months ago after mistaking me for Meghan McCain (long story).

You see, I was going to write a Very Serious Piece about the GOP field and Things to Look For in Tonight's Debate. I hear that Michele Bachmann is going on the offensive, and that the Obama jobs plan may well come under discussion.

But first: How good does all the candidates’ hair look? Fantastically good, that’s how!

Frankly, it’s the elephant in the room. If you were to see photographs of all these people, out of context, your first thought would not be, “Ah, no doubt these are rivals for the leadership of the country.”

No, you would think, “Hey, it’s a convention of people with unreasonably good hair.”

I bet Huntsman spends the better part of his life saying things like, ”Please, my face is down here.”

Their hair looks so good it’s frankly distracting. Sometimes I watch Rick Perry speak and I swear I can see his hair evolving into a sentient life-form. You have the sense that it soon will be capable of human speech and is gearing up to provide a rejoinder.

What do they put in it? How do they get it to do that?

Back in my day, the only way to get your hair to look like this was to sell your soul to the devil. But I digress.

GOP Hair withstands waves and tides and hurricanes and earthquakes and acts of God. “In this life nothing is sure,” they say, “except death, taxes, and the fact that Jon Huntsman will always look as though he's just dismounted from a 1920s roadster with just the perfect amount of wind-swept volume.”

Mitt Romney's hair has looked bad only once, and it was at the last debate, because Mitt was doing a credible impression of Richard Nixon in an effort to lure Rick Perry into a non-false sense of security.

Even Ron Paul has good hair, silver as a dime. Herman Cain has a higher forehead-to-hair ratio than most of the candidates, but he makes it work, with the added bonus of a mustache.

If I ever see Michele Bachmann in the flesh, I will grasp her firmly by the wrist and demand to know the name of her stylist. She will have me arrested for detaining her. But can you blame me? Her hair always looks both good and the same, which is the opposite of what my hair does. And it is sometimes glossy.

Rick Perry has the classic live-groundhog-squatting-on-the-forehead look favored by governors, people playing presidents in made-for-TV movies, and union leaders. But it works for him, as it didn’t work for Donald Trump, whose groundhog looked as though it had long since passed.

And Huntsman has silvery, impeccable bouffantish waves that make you want to stand up and applaud, if that's how you show appreciation for good hair, or just say, “Hey, Jon, looking good there.”

Even Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum (the two weakest links in the hair chain) have respectable Statesman Hair, in white and brown, respectively. It sort of sits there and doesn’t move or sway or have personality like Romney's and Huntsman's, but it's not receding, and it doesn’t look greasy.

These debates will not live up to their potential until the moderator pauses and gazes at the field with a look of joy and wonder and murmurs, "You know, I just want to state on behalf of America, your hair looks fabulous."

I apologize for fixating on this, but what else is there to worry about?

They have just discovered 50 new planets. One might contain water. In the grand scheme of things, this is more important than the debate. Most things are.

So let’s focus on what unites us rather than what divides us.

It’s reassuring. It’s beautiful. The GOP 2012 candidates’ hair ought to be placed on some sort of historic registry so that future generations can come marvel at it. It defies logic and gravity and the laws of science. Some might say this is a trait it shares with the members of the field.

No matter what the candidates say about the issues, no matter how loudly they disagree or how fervently they debate, no matter what surprises are in store, I know one thing about them: Their hair will look great while they do it. It restores a measure of order to our chaotic world.

(I now return you to your regularly scheduled serious commentary.)

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences".


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