President’s Day is tomorrow (the 18th of February)! Which brings to mind… hair. Yes. Hair. Why? Because good hair is an essential part of everyone’s image, and as we know, since television began to rule the election cycles, you can’t become President of the United States if you’re one of two things: too good looking, or too unattractive. If you’re too good looking, you’re perceived as inaccessible and threatening to folks of the same gender, and if you’re not good looking enough… well that’s obviously a problem, since your face will be beamed into millions of homes in high definition.
Indeed the first televised presidential debate, between Kennedy and Nixon in 1960, marked the end of one era (that of radio) and the beginning of another. The consensus among those who heard the debate on the radio was that Nixon won. Those who watched on television believed Kennedy had won.
According to Museum.tv:
Those television viewers focused on what they saw, not what they heard. Studies of the audience indicated that, among television viewers, Kennedy was perceived the winner of the first debate by a very large margin.
And so began the era of good looking presidents. For better or worse, it’s hard to imagine awkward-looking Lincoln being elected today…
Take a gander at five of our favorite presidential dos:
#5 George Washington
The grand-daddy of them all. Not only did he lead the Continental Army to victory against the tyranny of taxation without representation, he was well coiffed as he did it.
#4 Benjamin Franklin
Okay, yes, B.F. was never a president, but he was AWESOME. An entrepreneur, musician, inventor, writer, publisher, ambassador, and seeker of myriad delights, Franklin more than any American of his generation came to define the spirit of the young country. Bald up front never looked so good.
#3 Teddy Roosevelt
Yes, facial hair counts! Teddy Roosevelt was a powerhouse, first a major New York political figure, then President of the United States. In the above he’s rockin’ what looks like a late 90’s, feathered do. Just imagine blond highlights. And of course the stache is oh so contemporary.
Now this is hair I can trust. Gosh darn it, he’s a good American. And it’s morning in America. Oh, we miss the eighties… No decade was as good to hair. There was even a genre of music named after it. Hair rock!
The first president whose hair helped win him a debate. #1, no contest. Kennedy changed the look and feel of the presidency, and it’s a great shame he wasn’t able to complete it and continue to serve as an elder statesman.