A scroll through the super PACs listed on the Federal Election Commission’s website will remind anyone what a weird and wonderful place America is. There is a political action committee called Bears for a Bearable Tomorrow, another for Hall and Oates Fans and even one for Zombies of America. And as of today, Bearded Entrepreneurs for the Advancement of a Responsible Democracy, or BEARD PAC, is officially accepting your donations online. BEARD PAC, as its name would imply, is dedicated exclusively to supporting candidates with facial hair.
NewsFeed, understandably, had a few questions about BEARD PAC (what kinds of beards are we talking about here? Is BEARD PAC anti-women? Do goatees count?), so we called up co-founder Jonathan Sessions, 30, who runs an IT consulting firm and sits on the school board in Columbia, Mo. (You can view his beard here.) In the fashion of Stephen Colbert, Sessions appears to be on a mission to satirize super PACs–but, much like the founder of Making a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, he’s determined to stay in character.
So why did you start BEARD PAC?
We feel that individuals with the dedication to maintain and grow a quality beard are the kind of individuals who would show dedication to the job of public service. So it’s our mission to help these bearded candidates from across the political spectrum, in all levels of government, get elected.
Does not having a beard show a lack of dedication?
There are probably some very dedicated, highly qualified individuals that lack facial hair for whatever reason. But we do see that bearded individuals are underrepresented in office.
Does this PAC discriminate against women?
By no means. We actually feel that it’s unfortunate and horribly unrepresentative of our great nation that [there aren't more members of] Congress that are women. We want to see that exponentially rise, and we’re dedicated to supporting women who run for office. But at this time, we are firmly focused on the mission of electing bearded individuals into office. We won’t be using those financial resources to support non-bearded candidates at this time.
Does that mean that, in theory, a bearded lady would be an ideal candidate?
You know, that might be someone that we, uh, that we, we would have to look at that …
Is there a minimum threshold of growth that you’re looking for in a beard?
We’re actually in the process of forming a beard review committee within our committee that would make decisions when issues of beard quality or longevity are called into question. We’re not necessarily looking for someone who grew a beard just so we would support them. What I will say is that mustaches, soul patches, weekend beards—these are all things that do not meet the requirements of BEARD PAC. Although goatees are considered if on the right candidate.
And what do you say to the unfortunate gentlemen out there who really aren’t able to grow a high quality beard?
There’s always a question of whether you can grow a better beard than another person. Really, the beard quality is truly just the way you wear it.
Are there other qualities besides dedication that you think a beard-wearer inherently has, which you support?
We are looking for individuals that are looking to cooperate and work toward creating a functional democracy. We have this very large divide down the aisle. We’re not necessarily making any specific decisions on issues right now.
When you look back through history, there are some controversial bearded individuals. Would you have supported, say, Genghis Khan for public office?
Obviously Genghis Khan is not the kind of candidate that BEARD PAC would be looking to support.
So there is a threshold, that even if a candidate has a fine beard, other negative qualities could outweigh it?
Do you have fundraising goals?
We don’t have any specific fundraising goals at this time. As we start to approach midterms, we’ll be establishing those plans.
How would you characterize the particular style of your own beard?
It’s a reasonably full beard. It’s rather red. I keep it well-groomed, not overly groomed. I keep it in check.
Are there any politicians currently holding public office that others should look to as a model of beardom?
That’s a good question. We are actually putting together a list. We’re still discussing who we want to come out and endorse publicly. There are obviously well-respected individuals and excellent politicians throughout history who have had beards. Obviously Abraham Lincoln. Benjamin Harrison was the last President that was elected wearing a beard. There have been some folks that had mutton chops and mustaches. I believe Truman wore a beard on vacation.