I have a confession to make--a confession about a dark secret that has marred my soul for over 7 years now. It was the 2008 presidential election, Obama vs. McCain, and being one of the "Undecided's," I was following the campaign pretty closely. When McCain chose Sarah Palin as his V.P., I knew nothing of her political views, her experience or her qualifications for the job. My initial reaction was "I'd do her." It swung my vote to the republican ticket. Even a few weeks later when it became apparent that the vice presidential candidate might be batspit crazy, I still voted for her/them, rationalizing it with any number of thin political reasons, but the truth was that I wanted somebody I like to look at in the white house. Somehow, I don't think I'm alone.
We Don't Elect Ugly Presidents
Can you remember the last time we had a truly, undeniably ugly president? Sure, you could argue that G.W. Bush had a distinctly simian look or that Bill Clinton, from the right angle, looked a bit like Harpo Marx, but really, we haven't had a truly ugly president in recent memory. Even Ronald Reagan, who was ancient when he took the job and rocked the "Bob's Big Boy Haircut," still had a fair portion of his movie star good looks. My point is that this isn't a coincidence--most of us allow our vote to be influenced to some extent by how good looking the candidate is.
Of course, the absurdity of it all is that unless we're a movie star or a white house intern, we're not likely to be having sex with the president or vice president any time soon. Why then, does it matter how much we'd like to share a bed (or a couch,or a closet) with them? A wise man once told me that in the modern U.S. government, the president holds surprisingly little real power. Between the Senate, the Courts, the special interest groups and political parties themselves exerting their influence, the president is little more than an elected spokesman these days. With that in mind, why not pick a spokesman you won't mind looking at for four (or eight) years?
We Need Some More Bush In The Whitehouse
Of course, men are kind of getting the short end of the stick with hot presidents and presidential candidates. Basically, in the last few decades, we're looking at Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro. That leaves us with the First Lady. I remember a local talk radio host talking about the Bush/Gore election saying at the time "I think we need Laura Bush in the white house--I mean when was the last time you actually wanted to do the first lady?" He had a point. Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush...Hillary was alright when Bill was first elected, I suppose, and Michelle Obama is okay in a "Mean PTO mom" sort of way, but to be honest, we're still waiting for that president with the swimsuit model arm candy that has us tuning in to every speech and political gathering. Guess what? So far in this election, I'm still not seeing it.