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Apr 25, 2007

The NYT's Edwards Clip Job


Adam Nagourney took two separate cuts with basically the same material. 

Last Friday, there was "In the Beverly Hills Style: Candidate’s $400 Coiffure" and this Monday, it came repackaged as "The Birth of the ‘Breck Girl.’  Maureen Dowd took her shot on Sunday.  ("Running With Scissors" is posted on the Edwards blog -- preceded by a campaign rebuttal.)  And not be left out, Howard Kurtz added his own lather yesterday with "Bad Hair Day?"

So, after a brief sympathy break, the NYT John Edwards vendetta is back -- and it's more virulent than ever.  What I thought was especially cheap, however, was how the Times worked this photo of Chris Dodd into Monday's hit piece, affixing a deceptive caption that seems to actually enlist Dodd in the hate-mongering.

The NYT caption reads:

Senator Christopher Dodd, a Democratic presidential hopeful, joked with barber Francis "Spike" Smith on Friday at Dude’s Barber Shop in Manchester, N.H. The haircut cost Mr. Dodd $12.

Lacking other context -- except the slanderous article -- the suggestion is that Chris and Spike are having a good laugh over what (or who) else?  Must be Edwards, right?

Well, the caption, accompanying the shot on YahooNews, explains that Dodd and barber Francis 'Spike' Smith of Dude's Barber Shop in Manchester, N.H. are mixing it up about baseball.  Spike is a Yankees fan and Dodd likes the Red Sox.
On Looking Further (12:05 pm EST):

The initial comments, such as Johanna's at the top of the thread, reveal a much deeper assault here.

In juxtaposing the Edwards haircut story with this picture (at "Dude's," no less!)  -- one loaded with "cut and dry" 1950-ish stereotypes about what a manly man's barber shop experience is like -- I wonder what makes this editorial comparison by The Times any different -- in visual terms --from Ann Coulter calling Edwards a faggot?

(image: Jim Cole/AP. Manchester, N.H. April 20, 2007. via YahooNews)


The picture is about Edwards' supposed effeminacy, but it doesn't need the suggestion that they are laughing at him to do that. This picture shows how a real man presumably has his hair cut -- by another man, (and with a manly name, Spike) and bonding over male subjects. I'm dumbfounded by the homophobic innuendo swirling around this candidacy. How can this be happening?

It's clear that the campaign against Edwards will be on two tracks-the first being he is not manly enough (too pretty) and the second that he out of touch with common people. Both elements are present in the $400.00 haircut-implying excessive vanity and expenses. The haircut may eventually be explained away due to the pressures of time and security, but much momentum will be lost in the process. Even more serious than the haircut and harder to explain is the purchase of a 26,000 square foot house. This is making the rounds of the media and will resurface over and over. How do these campaigns make these stumbles? I like Edwards, but these are the issues that come to the forefront and distract from the message they are trying to get across. A haircut lasts for a few weeks, bu the house will be there throughout the campaign.

I agree that the nature of the haircut angle is ludicrous and that it's going to be a long silly season. However, the new flavor of corporate campaign journalism was made plain in 2000 and 2004, and if John Edwards didn't think twice about the media/image ramifications of having his hair cut for a couple of hundred bucks--at a place called the Pink Sapphire, for chrissakes--then I seriously question his freaking judgement.

They said Bill Clinton's haircut cost too much also--a couple of hundred dollars. It didn't cost Clinton the election. Let them yap and shriek. If this is all they've got then who cares (shrugs).

The house is a liability, but what are they supposed to do now, sell it? You can't please the Rush and O'Reilly zombies so why bother trying.

Whoa... hate-mongering? you describe the reaction of the breck-gurls hair fettish as hate? lets be more reality based. it's an honest appraisal. i appreciated this info. the you-tube 'i feel pretty' video of john edwards last month. shocking! it reinforced a gut feeling i had about edwards. the last revelations confirmed. he will never be taken seriously again. the truth about character always bubbles to the top.

Which leading presidential condenter has a "personal character" that you feel good about?

myself - i like Chuck Hagel in the character department. what do you think Tina?

We can't have a good-looking, well-liked, personable man who enjoys being well tailored and well coifed as president. Heavens, the world might start to like us again.

Besides, who would go down a beer with Edwards?

Yet nobody bats an eye when a candidate writes a million-dollar check to put his image on voters' TV screens. Seems a $400 investment in your appearance is a drop in the bucket.

yeah, God forbid. Donna's right. Oh, those girly men politicians. I shake my fist at them. We all know that real he-men are what this country needs, you know, who clear brush and wear flight suits with codpieces when they give their speeches on aircraft carriers.....

Bush, as we know, has never managed his appearance...never ever. Nor spent any money on himself. He buys off the rack at J.C. Penney's, surely.

The liberal narrative generated in the 60s will conclude with the election of a female or a person of color as President of the USA, and the words, "and they all lived happily ever after."

However, it remains necessary for the warriors on this hero's journey to overcome challenges presented by attractive, effective, progressive white men. These men are threats might prevent the hero from fulfilling her/his quest. The preferred weapon is ridicule. Jimmy "lust in his heart" Carter got the treatment first. Al Gore got stiffed in 2000, John Kerry got the elite, effete treatment in 2004, and now we see the sights turned on John Edwards. What I find interesting is that, to denigrate these attractive, effective white males,--and this is from the left!!!--they must be emasculated. They are know..., heh, gay. They care about their appearance, those girlie men!!! It gives me an appreciation of the depth of homophobia. It also puts Bill's overt sexy philandering in a different perspective.

So now we see Chris Dodds getting a haircut. This reminds me, I don't know why, of Saddam's">">Saddam's dental check-up. Rather than this being a pot shot at John Edwards, I view this as another strike in the on-going liberal neutering of white, male, progressives.

Maybe this is all about leveling the playing field, but I wish the media would criticize based on meaningful qualifications to do the job of POTUS--experience, effectiveness, potential to do the job, policies and vision for America--rather than making it into some high school prom hair and popularity thing. Meanwhile, their yang to our yin, the right worships hyper-masculinity and stands by their manly man, and that, god knows, has only justified the liberal narrative: You see what whte men (hiss!) are!!!

I cut my hair by laying my head on a flat rock, and hitting it with a sharp rock. Dunno what's up with the rest of you fags. Maybe Adam Nagourney will let me cut his hair for him?

Dude named dude, that was awesome.

This is all about branding. Richard Branson of Virgin says the first thing he reads every morning are the previous days "news clippings" which mention Virgin. He looks for negative articles so that he can address them as quickly as possible. Branson says it is crucial to "protect [Virgin's] reputation with vigilance." Political attacks on a candidate that are lies or half-truths are the same kind of "reputation killing" threats that must be dealt with quickly and effectively or the candidate will suffer the consequences.

Edwards' only sin is that he is rich, handsome, and a gentleman. Those blokes from New Yawk never get it. Southern men are just plain sexy because they are as sensual as their slow drawl. (Slower is better..instead of the New York minute....ahem.)The MoDo should be so lucky as to have a Southern male lover...she might not have to write columns for the NYT...she might do something useful for society. Edwards has nothing to apologize for. He's clean, uncorrupted, successful, altruistic...and too damn good for the cynics who are afraid he might win the nomination. My dream ticket? Edwards and Obama.

This is an interesting picture of a haircut. Or at least the person underneath it....

Dude named dude, you rock. I needed a laugh today and got it. Thanks.

That was a good one dude. His head between a rock and a hard place. Line 'em up for your service.

Did MoDo'd dad, the Head of Capital Hill Security get a shave with his haircut for those two bits? I got a girl with

Anybody else notice how Dowd magnifies the status of daddy with each telling over the years? NYC Policeman, NYC Detective, Washington DC Policeman, Head of Capital Security and Protector of the Leaders of the Free World. No wonder she's 50+ and unmarried. Nobody mortal man can fill Dear Old's gumshoes.

The picture itself is not very flattering to Chris Dodd. It looks like he's in the makeup chair getting a big chin like Eddie Murphy getting fat to play the nutty professor. It's a good thing the photographer didn't take that shot from below, like the "monster" shot of Nancy Pelosi.

And if it weren't for the John Edwards controversy, it would be just like any candidate having breakfast in a New Hampshire diner - everyone would know it was just a campaign stop and photo op.

But it is pretty slimy that they changed the caption to eliminate any mention of the baseball team rivalry.

As for Edwards, I do think paying $400 for a haircut is stupid. To me, paying a lot for a big house is different, because presumably the house is worth that much. But what haircut (actually a trim, because it's not like he lets his hair gets long and then cuts it short) could be worth $400? Yeah, the guy had to sit in LA traffic, blah, blah, blah.

Having makeup done doesn't seem to be a big deal to me either, because men have been getting made up to go on TV for years. And we wouldn't want him having the problem Nixon had in his debate with Kennedy, with everyone seeing him sweating like a pig because he didn't wear makeup. But I guess if he brought in the most expensive makeup artist he could find, and paid many times more than the going rate, that would seem stupid to me, too.

Not that I would choose a President based on this, but to be fair, I still ridicule George Bush Sr. for going to a supermarket and being fascinated by the bar code reader, showing that he was completely out of touch with the lives of regular people.

According to Nagourney's “I'm Sorry But Not Really” piece, Dodd invited a photographer in to document his $12 haircut with Spike. If that's the case, perhaps he is laughing at Edwards. I'm looking forward to the next step in the vanity wars. I propose that each candidate invite a photographer in to their bathroom so we can analyze their character based on their shaving choices: straight edge or electric?

Did you see the youtube post (
Men of substance, depth, and character do not preen like that.
If Edwards truly had cajones, he would have voted against this damned fools war when he had the chance.
He's sunk.

What a laugh riot. Men of substance do not preen like that? You must be joking. Of course, it's a circular definition and a trap, since any man I bring up who did pay particular attention to his grooming, can be assailed as "not a man of substance", since the phrase doesn't mean anything concrete.

For example, I'd bet 100 bucks that Bush had botox shots before the debates with Kerry. He buys really expensive custom made suits. His haircuts cost at least 100 bucks each, guaranteed, if he got them in a salon, which he doesn't. But we all know Bush isn't a 'man of substance'.

I suppose Clinton wasn't a man of substance either, since he was briefly famous for stopping traffic at LAX for a haircut, even though it never happened.

And Ronald Reagan. Who was more perfectly turned out than RWR? Not to mention the Grecian Formula use. But he was just a "face", wasn't he? Not really substantial.

Pretty much every executive here in Silicon Valley gets expensive haircuts: Steve Jobs, Carly Fiorina (though she's gone now), Larry Ellison, and so on. They don't talk about it, but you can tell just from the way it looks, and that's why they do it. And they wear these really, REALLY white shirts too. They are so white they seem radioactive, I swear. But who's more of a girly man than a tech geek, they aren't REAL men, are they. (apologies to Carly, who doesn't want to be a REAL man, I'm thinking)

Oh, and what do you want to bet that The Governator gets expensive haircuts? But he's just a cartoon figure, right? Not a REAL, substantial man.

Actually, I smell a concern troll. Someone from a rival campaign or a Republican. Throw mud early and often, that's what's winning these days, eh?

And the NYT, along with Dodd is definitely "piling on". Well, Edwards has to be able to take a punch if he's gonna be a good president. I still like him. But then I'm notorious for my lack of substance.

Did you see the video?
If you want to play semantics, let me amend my earlier statement: Men of substance do not get CAUGHT preening like that on camera.

From now on Edwards should have his wife cut his hair, while he smokes a cigar.

So Edwards paid $400 for a haircut. So what? So he has a mansion. So what? He made his money fighting for individuals who had been wronged by big rich corporations.

It is a wrong and hypocritical act, in the minds of Republicans to campaign for poor people unless you are poor yourself. What the Republicans want is for anyone with any money and political clout to shut up about poor people. Edwards is the voice of poor people. Republicans don't want poor people to have a voice.

Common Dreams reported in 2002: "Close to half the incoming members of Congress are millionaires and many will face votes that could affect their financial holdings." Now, there's a scandal. The scandal isn't that a rich man is speaking up for poor people. The scandal is that so many rich men represent us in Congress.

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