July 23, 2007

Haircut Wars

When he was governor here, some of us used to call Romney “Governor Haircut.” Those of us who just couldn’t believe Romney got elected here were pretty frustrated with the guy, especially since he spent so much of his time out of state promoting himself. It seemed like we either had a choice between him being an absent state official or, when he was around, he tried to tell a bunch of Massachusetts residents that he didn’t think their constitutionally-allowed marriages should count because… well, I guess because he thinks he knows what’s better for them.

In any case, Romney’s grooming has been in the news. But it doesn’t eclipse another candidate’s hair coverage. An outrageous expensive haircut is certainly humorous, but I object when somehow it’s considered hypocrisy. I object even more loudly when it is considered a recurring and valid news story.

Hypocrisy is when you say you’re a compassionate conservative but your policies boil down to “the rich get richer, the faster, the better.” It is not when you promote policies to help struggling Americans and when you yourself are living well.

I guess I can understand an aversion to richy-rich candidates on a gut level. But you have to buy into some odd logic to believe that someone’s a phony when they say they want to help the poor when they themselves are not poor. It’s the kind of logic that makes sense if you yourself are comfortable and you object to efforts to help struggling Americans.

Posted by James at July 23, 2007 10:46 PM
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I thought posing with the "Obama - Osama - Chelsea's Mama" sign was a lot worse than any haircut, as was his explanation that he doesn't read all the signs he gets photographed with.

Posted by: Julie at July 24, 2007 7:11 AM

Well, it's like the whole family values thing. How many divorces are there amongst the Republican candidates? And how many for the Dems? Yet the Repubs have the market cornered on family values. Apparently adultery and divorce are family values.

Posted by: briwei at July 24, 2007 10:39 AM

By the way, not to double post, but there are actually people out here in So Cal who don't believe that Romney has changed stances out of political expedience. He's principled and has integrity. Now I doubt he could carry California, but he appears to be playing well in SoCal with people I would otherwise have thought were intelligent.

Posted by: briwei at July 24, 2007 10:40 AM

Perhaps Romney is principled and has integrity when dealing with people who have money. When it came to the economically depressed parts of MA, he not only let them fester, he actively turned down multiple small opportunities to improve them. (Little things like letting the New England School of Law merge with UMD.)

But I hear the flyover in Sagamore is just swell. Good to know.

Posted by: Julie at July 24, 2007 10:52 AM

I highly recommend the book by George Lakoff, Don't think of an elephant: know your values and frame the debate, for anybody who is amazed that a Republican like Romney can be perceived well by "otherwise intelligent" people. What Lakoff emphasizes is that it's not about the facts.

Posted by: Maggie at July 24, 2007 10:59 AM

"Family values" Republicans are running on a never-defined feeling tied to a made-up phrase. It's a code term.

So when it turns out that they have a high divorce rate, it's natural to ask "what, then, are family values? Is divorce a family value?"

That situation is similar in that we're not really talking about hypocrisy. We're talking about cynically pulling the wool over the public's eyes with clever rhetoric. You can dodge the hypocrisy charge when you're not forced to define family values.

On the other hand, it is different than the subject of this post because nobody is running on a platform of haircut prices. Nobody is trying to tell you how much you should pay for a haircut, or for other goods and services.

In the case of "family values" the issue itself if fabricated. In this case, it's the controversy which is fabricated.

Posted by: James at July 24, 2007 11:50 AM

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