Inside the Capitol

Friday, April 22, 2005


Mon, 5-2-05

SANTA FE � Considering how badly John Bolton, President Bush�s nominee for ambassador to the United Nations, was treated by the media, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson had better watch himself closely.
No, it has nothing to do with past intemperate statements of our governor. This problem is all about the fashion police. After Bolton made his confirmation appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, political writers gave him a thorough drubbing for his past belittling of the organization he wants to join. But the most vicious critique of all was written by a staff writer for the Washington Post. She didn�t argue with anything Bolton said or even how he said it. Her problem was Bolton�s appearance.
Givhan especially didn�t like Bolton�s haircut. �Tidy the curling, unruly locks at the nape of his neck,� she said. �Tame the volume at the crown, reel in the wings flapping above his ears and broker a compromise between his sand-colored mop and his snow-colored moustache.�
When Richardson served on President Bill Clinton�s cabinet the fashionarias went after him for his weight and the way his lumpy frame fit, or didn�t fit, into a suit. We haven�t heard much of that yet, as Richardson inches his way back onto the national scene, most recently as chairman of the national Democratic Governors Association. But there are signs it may be coming.
Don Imus, on his national radio and television show, loves to tease our governor about coming back out to his ranch so he can strap on a feed bag again. Richardson tries to watch his weight, but he eats with the same enthusiasm that he approaches every other activity.
Then there was the Saturday Night Live skit in which Richardson was parodied. He was played by an overweight actor with bad hair. Watch out, Bill. I can see it coming.
The Washington Post commentary on Bolton said he should spiff up his appearance because he appeared as though he did not have enough respect for the proceedings to bother looking decent. Also criticized was Bolton�s tie. She didn�t like the color and said it looked as though it had been knotted in the dark and had put his neck in a chokehold.
Possibly Bolton�s real problem is that he is an outspoken arch-conservative. Most of the Washington Post newsroom doesn�t care for the type. That may mean Richardson is in for a little better treatment. But he shouldn�t get too confident. His friend Don Imus likes to point out Richardson�s girth and Saturday Night Live, although it will go after anyone, is notoriously liberal.
Givhan suggested that Bolton�s walrus moustache appeared as though it went with a fake nose and a pair of geek glasses. She wanted it trimmed and dyed the color of his hair. As it is, he looks like Wilfred Brimley, she says. And, she added, his hair was so poorly cut, it bordered on rude.
What do you suppose this lady would have had to say if President Bush had nominated Bill Gates for a post? His haircut hasn�t changed much from the one in the famous group picture taken just before he moved Microsoft from Albuquerque to Seattle.
Richardson wasn�t our first governor to be accused of having bad hair. His immediate predecessor, Gary Johnson admitted to it. But he had a great excuse, he said. He was an athlete. Johnson�s hair no longer is unruly on top. It is again very long as it was in college. �I know when people see it, they are just sure I have gone back on drugs,� he says. But Johnson is still the straight-arrow athlete he has been the last 25 years.
Another New Mexico notable, who no longer has to worry about bad hair, is Dianne Anderson. The former KOAT-TV evening anchor with the lovely locks, no longer has to worry now that she has switched to radio.

Here's my first transmittal from Hawaii.  Hope it works.


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