During presidential election years, candidates have been known to try all sorts of things to gain an edge over their competition.
My preference for the presidency, Rudy Giuliani, might want to try contact lenses. Not since Lyndon Baines Johnson has any U.S. president worn glasses as a regular part of his daily wardrobe. By this, I don¹t mean the half-moon drugstore variety occasionally worn to read menus, sign legislation, or otherwise convey gravitas.
Bill Clinton has adopted those quite well. No, regardless of party, no president since LBJ has been what school kids cruelly call "four eyes." That would include Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, and the current Bush 43.
Among the current crop of candidates, both Republican and Democrat, only former Mayor Giuliani frequently sports glasses. This is not to say that many of the front-runners aren't myopic or even lacking in any vision, but he's the only one admitting he's optically challenged.
Are voters on to something? Do we vote for people with the most desirable physical traits we want to see passed on?
For better or worse, generally the tallest contender wins the presidency, although now that a woman's joined the mix, it remains to be seen what will hold true. But we've all heard that age-old adage that men don't make passes at girls who wear glasses.
Simply stated, if Giuliani were a female candidate, it’s almost guaranteed that his/her handlers would immediately say, Ditch the glasses. Women have known for years, and women in politics seem keenly aware, that appearance and public perception are inextricably linked.
Rudy's vision of the future is better than his competitors' in both parties. I wonder if wearing glasses while campaigning sends that message to voters.
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Michael Levine is founder and chairman of Levine Communications Office, a Los Angeles-based public relations firm that specializes in image management. He is the author of 18 books.
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