Are Republicans Better-Looking Than Democrats?

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Karl Rove promotes his book "Courage and Consequence" in Alabama on April 27, 2010

Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

As Ronald Reagan once said, “Mr. Gorbachev, take down the amount of carbs in this meal! It’s swimsuit season!”

There’s an argument that’s been making the web rounds this week, the idea that Republican gains in the midterm elections were not due to the miserable economy, or any failure of President Obama to inspire undecided voters or whatever, but were simply the result of Republicans being better-looking. As Andrea Peyser explains in Monday’s New York Post:

Are conservatives not just fiercer and smarter than liberals, but better-looking?


Are tight hips and gym bods keeping American voters warm at night? Or is the taxpayer getting turned on by the sound of the three hottest words ever uttered by a pol: “Let’s repeal ObamaCare.”

Peyser presents as examples Nikki Haley, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman and (in the interests of gender balance) Marco Rubio and Scott Brown. She even got Politics Daily columnist Walter Shapiro to opine that Brown’s triumph in last winter’s Senate race was due to his nude spread in Cosmopolitan. (Which: probably not.)

(See a 2-minute biography of Scott Brown.)

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard this argument. Presented with pictures of the members of the email group JournoList, Mark Judge at The Daily Caller this summer came up with a deeper version of the argument: liberals are liberal because they are ugly, conservatives are conservative because they are good-looking and total chick magnets.

Maybe there is some correlation between beauty and conservatism. Perhaps pretty people don’t have to deal with as much humiliation early in life, and therefore don’t become bitter with resentment. They get dates, get picked for teams, they make out. And the conservatives who are less attractive learn and accept that the world is not fair. They make their peace with God. They don’t become utopians, trying to create a world where they will be loved and appreciated if only they can force the world to flip right side up and be what they want it to be.

(See how both parties are working on image control of another kind.)

What an interesting, objective theory! NewsFeed has a couple ways to play this, but we’re not sure which is best.

—Stalwartly defend our colleagues Joe Klein and Michael Scherer (both pictured in the JournoList roundup) and imply that one has to be really, really good-looking to work at TIME?

—Link to pictures of conservatives like John Podhoretz, John Derbyshire and Ross Douthat and sarcastically state that they are all huge hunks?

—Link to pictures of liberals we consider good-looking?

—Ham-fistedly argue that, because liberals tend to be more racially-diverse, they are more representative of what’s beautiful in all the colors of the rainbow?

—Grimly deplore this kind of schoolyard rhetoric and point out that ones looks are hardly correlated to one’s political beliefs, and point out that besides, most people in the world are clustered into a narrow range centered on “pretty OK-looking”?

Whatever we decide, we’re sure it will be an approach that allows us to have our cake and eat it too!