The Washington Post

David Axelrod recklessly endangers American treasure

Here it is in full bloom. (Charles Dharapak/AP)

A mustache is a terrible thing to waste.

But Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod has threatened to shave his — on national television, no less — if Mitt Romney wins Minnesota, Michigan or Pennsylvania.

Not Virginia, though. His mustache is only on the line for the other three.

Clearly, he thinks the odds are good, but — what a reckless announcement.

As a supporter of the American Mustache as an institution, I am deeply distressed by this news.

Mustaches are a bipartisan cause. They should not be politicized like this, forcing Mustached American Romney supporters to choose between the political and the personal, and summoning Mustache Haters everywhere to spew their vitriol.

This is not what the election should be about.

After all, Axelrod’s mustache has never done anything to him. Why he would threaten to desert a loyal companion of 40 years over a little thing like the presidential election is beyond me. States turn blue again in time. But a mustache, once shaven, is never the same. And his has stuck stiffly to his upper lip when other, fair-weather friends turned tail and ran. When the polls flag, his mustache remains. Hope recedes. Change fizzles. But his mustache is there, constant, slightly creepy.

And it’s an American treasure. Since Alex Trebek’s perished, few other mustaches have attained such national prominence, and they tend towards the Bolton Walrus, not the “Man Who Lurks in the Background of Pornographic Films from the 1970s” that Axelrod has so lovingly preserved and curated, in all its vintage glory, for so many years.

Why he would threaten it now is beyond me. This ploy will not succeed. If anything, it will stimulate mustache-hatred as a voting motive, an unfortunate pocket to turn to in any election.

You would not threaten to shoot a baby grizzly if your candidate lost. You would not threaten the bald eagle. You would not threaten to stab a walrus if a state failed to swing your way. You would not dangle your first-born child over a precipice. A man who would wager on his mustache, or his child, does not deserve to have one. There is politics, and posturing, and then there is sheer irresponsibility. Yes, the polls seem safe. But is this really a risk we want to take, as a country?

Mr. Axelrod, put down this razor.

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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