Your morning jolt: An advancing hairline in the race for governor

Given the importance of TV, looking good is essential in politics. The problem is that it’s risky to be seen trying.

Discussing a candidate’s appearance is equally dicey. On one hand, political discourse is shallow enough. Yet when the bedrock foundation of a candidate’s relationship with voters is the 30-second TV spot, what candidates choose to display becomes a topic worth noting.

Women are judged more harshly. Look at Nikki Haley, the new Republican nominee for governor in South Carolina.

Sarah Palin recently had to beat off breast enhancement rumors. We all chuckle at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Bambi-in-the-headlights stare, wondering what work she’s had done.

And remember that, four years ago, former state School Superintendent Linda Schrenko, once a GOP favorite to become governor of Georgia, was convicted of using federal tax dollars to finance, among other things, a face lift.

Men have it slightly easier. Glasses are often ditched for contacts. Once they reached Congress, U.S. Reps. Phil Gingrey and Tom Price, one after another, shaved their moustaches – presumably to improve their Q ratings.

We know of one prominent Georgia Republican – a male — whose Rolodex at one point included the name of a Beverly Hills surgeon.

The most reliable sign of kindling ambition in a male politician is weight loss. Former Gov. Roy Barnes says he’s dropped 30 pounds, and has more to go.

Thurbert Baker as a new state lawmaker

Thurbert Baker as a new state lawmaker

Before he qualified as a candidate, House Democratic Leader DuBose Porter of Dublin lost his combover.

All of this is by way of mentioning the small admission contained in a 30-second TV ad released Monday by Attorney General Thurbert Baker, the Democratic candidate for governor.

For two brief seconds, the biographical spot shows a photograph of Baker as a new state lawmaker in the 1990s.

The picture is that of a man with a hairline in retreat, far different from the ruler-straight line of follicles now seen on the candidate. See for yourself:

There have been some rumblings that Barnes exhibits more hair in his TV spots than in person. But his campaign denies any artificial liberties with the former governor’s unruly mop. And hair spray can work wonders.

On a more substantive topic, Georgia Public Broadcasting reports that Thurbert Baker has weighed in on the Gulf oil spill:

Attorneys general of 11 Atlantic coast states, including Georgia, are putting BP on notice to pay legitimate claims, if oil shows up on Atlantic shores….

In [a letter], they ask BP for assurances that legitimate claims would be paid by the company. The prosecutors also want BP to keep all documents relating to the spill and response.

Larry Sanders with Emory University’s Turner Enviromental Law Clinic says the letter from the attorneys general could be seen as a public relations move, but maybe something else.

“It could be that the attorneys general have some legitimate interest in getting in line, or at least putting BP on notice that the $20 billion may not be the end of their liabilities.”

My AJC colleague Bob Keefe in Washington reports that the link between the nation’s airliners and Georgia peanuts will remain intact – a victory for U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Albany):

The U.S. Department of Transportation is backing off from a proposed rule that could have banned peanuts on airplanes, after realizing it didn’t have the legal authority to do so.

The DOT on Tuesday issued a clarification stating that it was wrong when it issued an official notice of proposed rulemaking earlier this month. Such a peanut ban would have violated a 2000 appropriations act that funds the DOT, the agency acknowledged.

The DOT’s original peanut ban proposal on June 8 drew cheers from peanut allergy sufferers but scorn from Georgia’s peanut growers and the politicians who represent them. Georgia is the country’s biggest peanut producer.

And Shannon McCaffrey of the Associated Press today takes a look at whether Karen Handel will be forced to pay a price next month for her refusal to appear on the stage with GOP rival Ray McBerry:

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Karen Handel sought to grab the ethical high ground in April when she said she would no longer share the stage with Ray McBerry following allegations that he carried on an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old girl.

But now, as the primary campaign races into its final weeks, Handel’s stance is putting her in a bind and could force the former secretary of state to sit out several high-profile debates that would guarantee her candidacy free exposure leading up to the July 20 primary.

“You don’t want to pass up a chance for air time and that’s what she could be doing,” said Kerwin Swint, political science professor at Kennesaw State University.

At last week’s Georgia Press Association debate, Handel was on the sidelines while her opponents sparred over issues from immigration to taxes. And McBerry, a longshot states’ rights candidate for his party’s nomination, has plans to attend televised debates sponsored by WSB-TV and the Atlanta Press Club in July.

McBerry has denied any wrongdoing and no criminal charges were ever filed.
Handel is sticking to her guns, insisting the issue shows her willingness to make the tough decisions no matter the political consequences.

“Giving him (McBerry) a microphone and a platform, particularly as candidate for governor, is like saying that his reprehensible behavior is OK,” she said in an interview.

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23 comments Add your comment

No Ox, Noo Raw Deal Nooo Linger Longer Johnson Noooo King Roy

June 23rd, 2010
11:18 am

Eric Johnson has changed his hairstyle so many times, even he doesn’t know what he really looks like.

well then

June 23rd, 2010
11:35 am

Attorney General candidate Ken Hodges (D) put out a press release similar to Bakers a couple weeks ago on the need to protect GA’s coastline, making sure BP pays for any damage.

Some environmental experts are saying with the amount of the spill it is very possible that oil is going to creep around the Florida coast and hit GA and SC.

Mr. KnowitAll

June 23rd, 2010
11:36 am

Thurbert Baker looks like he has an over sized Brillo pad on his head. NO WAY that’s his natural hair.


June 23rd, 2010
11:37 am

Barnes looks crazy without make-up – has anyone seen it? SCARY


June 23rd, 2010
11:37 am

You call this operation a newspaper and this is what you’re writing about? This newspaper does nothing but disrespect anybody who is not there favorite (meaning anybody but Roy Barnes).


June 23rd, 2010
11:38 am

SO which is worse Baker’s brillo pad or Barnes with no makeup?


June 23rd, 2010
11:39 am

Eric Johnson does not have much hair so combing 3 hairs one way or another is not noticeable.


June 23rd, 2010
11:41 am

I think Erik Erikson of Peach Pundit needs to become a special guest commentator on Political Insider to balance it out!

Albany Peanut Lover

June 23rd, 2010
11:48 am

Thank you Sanford Bishop!!!!!

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

June 23rd, 2010
11:54 am

“Flee from vanity,” the Bible says. Does Georgia need incomplete fakers rather than whole persons as our elect?


June 23rd, 2010
12:55 pm

Nice to see Handel stand up for her principles. She has done it all throughout her career. The others in her race remain silent, or pass the buck, by saying it’s up to the organizers to determine who attends a debate. They have no problem standing tall with a person who had a restraining order issued against them, and had their teaching certificate suspended, because of an inappropriate relationship with a 16 year old child.

They also sought and received the endorsement of an organization that calls women of couples who are unable to conceive desperate, emotional and barren.

Georgia doesn’t need a career politician as Governor.

We also don’t need a Governor with the ethical baggage that Deal, Johnson, McBerry and Oxendine all have. Public service isn’t about making yourself or your company richer, or seeing who can give you the best tickets to the Oscars.

Dave Dawg

June 23rd, 2010
1:13 pm

Just because this paper covers the idiot antics of political candidates doesn’t mean that it is biased in favor of the few candidates who stay clear of idiot antics.

No Teabagging

June 23rd, 2010
2:44 pm

“…it is one thing to polish your craft, it is quite another to wax your ass.”
from Truck: A Love Story, Michael Perry

T Knight

June 23rd, 2010
3:08 pm

My vote will be for Karen Handel. Mrs. Handel has shown grace under fire and a great deal of class. We will all benefit from having Karen Handel, who’s focus will be on how much is coming in before how much goes out.


June 23rd, 2010
3:33 pm

Why do they always quote Kennesaw State political science professors? Why not take the time to call down to Georgia or Emory… Lord knows those professors are actually qualified to make an insightful comment.

Pork Chop

June 23rd, 2010
4:38 pm

T Knight, I have already voted an absentee ballot – and my vote was for Handel, I believe that she will be good for the state. She is the only candidate who has answered the hard questions truthfully insofar as the budget is concerned. Her answers weren’t the “feel good” answers that state employees wanted to hear nor were they answers teachers probably wanted to hear. When you are faced with a dwindling resouce (money), high unemployment and an over-taxed citizenry, you have to deal with hard facts. Any candidate who paints a rosey picture at this time is deceptive for the purpose of garnering votes.

[...] has a long piece about the crazy ballot access rules in Georgia. Oh, and he suspects Thurbert is a member of the hair club for [...]

Bobby Anthony

June 24th, 2010
12:54 am

I have already cast my vote for David Poythress.

Tom Price endorsed me and all I got was this lousy staffer

June 24th, 2010
7:59 am

Karen, don’t apologize so hard for courting the gay vote. Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

June 24th, 2010
1:44 pm

Kudos to Mrs. Handel for declining to be on stage with those sucking the milk of hatred from the teets of Romulus. Becker and McBerry are outposts of the fallen empire of hate. DuB-se will not be mocked.


June 25th, 2010
9:30 am

Barnes….politician, washed up has been with the ego to think he deserves another chance.
Baker… politician, just not connected
Porter…. a nice man who could fit in politics, but he needs more experience first
Chapman…. never heard of him
Ox….politician….forgetabout him
Deal….. politician
McBerry…..mcscary pedophile
Karen Handel….. My candidate


June 29th, 2010
4:16 am

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June 30th, 2010
12:32 pm

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