As long as all the talk from the Republican National Convention is on the comedy stylings of Eastwood and Chair, it affords me the occasion to be just as petty. I do have a review of the week in the works, but while that is simmering, I would like to address something a little less pithy. I'm talking about Paul Ryan's hair.
I have never been into style or fashion, which makes it more peculiar that for me, the most notable feature of Paul Ryan (pre-Romney-Ryan) was his hairstyle. It totally fit with what we knew of Ryan's political persona. The above portrait on the left is typical of the veep nominee's do prior to his elevation to the next person to lose the race for the vice presidency. Notice the proximity of the hair part, running about an inch to an inch and a half off the centerline of his scalp. There are many ways to describe this look: Hokey, nostalgic, kooky, Norman Rockwell, strange, 1930s, old timey, cultish, holdback, offbeat, patronizing, 1830s, Third Reichy, cornball, supercilious, quaint, sanctimonious, aberrant, etc.
So, I'm no fan of Paul Ryan or his politics and I have always figured that line he hacked just askew off his widow's peak was a metaphor for his personality. "How can I get people to respect me as a real jerk from the past" I imagine him asking himself one day in the mirror. If that was what he was going for, hang a "Mission Accomplished" banner over his pate.
Just watch this now famous propaganda video. In it, Ryan extolls the virtues of Ayn Rand's philosophy of a humanity void of humanity.
The only other hairstyle appropriate for tossing this chum has horns rising out of it.
The reason Ryan finds himself running against Joe Biden now is because of his fan base among hardcore modern Republicans. Republicans love the austere persona Ryan has adopted since a Democrat with a Kenyan father was elected president. Everyone knows, but does not talk about Ryan and the Republicans' desire to shut down America as long as they are not in control. Ryan has become a star of that cabal by talking up more tax cuts and spending cuts, a fierce combo which guarantees a cessation of any agenda, and not to mention an economic standstill which puts any sitting president on the spot.
Ryan is a poster boy for Republican activism, but as Romney needs to shift to the center, optics matter. Ryan can continue to believe the same crazy crap, but I'm guessing that hardcore fuddy-duddy look had to go. It's just like how the list of speakers at the convention was far more moderate than the actual platform. In the same fashion, Ryan had to moderate his hardline hair into something a little less scary and freakish. When Ryan was (erroneously) introduced as the next president of the United States he was sporting the less severe coif we see on the right side of the above photo. Whereas the left photo says "I don't care about your problems unless you're rich," the photo on the right says "Let's all barbecue."
The old hairstyle was fine for Paul Ryan, the suddenly severely fiscally conservative chairman of the House Budget Committee, but there was no way he could address the nation as the VP nominee for the GOP looking like the ghost of Simon Legree. It just is not a sympathetic look. If you rant to the nation about how much more wicked Barack Obama is than you are with that passe hair part that looks like it was combed with shard of glass, people will know you are lying. If you want to lie and get away with it, your odds are better if you bring the parting of the hair closer to zero degrees latitude.
I believe the hair was addressed in the vetting process. Five bucks says the "before" hair was a deal breaker. Someone in the Romney campaign knew it looked like Ryan was wearing his a-hole on his sleeve and gave a "lose the strangeness" ultimatum. One Fantastic Sam's visit later, the Pride of Janesville was ready to go. As a proper toady Ryan kept his mouth shut on Romney's own hair issues, and for that matter, the fact that Romney walks like he still has Gingrich's foot up his butt.
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