Voting cute

There is an old truism that the handsomer presidential candidate usually wins. Sometimes it’s true: Warren Harding was very distinguished-looking, and Kennedy was certainly better-looking than Nixon.

I voted for Barack Obama last week (of course I did!), but I have to admit, to my shame, that I don’t think he was the handsomer of the two candidates. Mitt Romney, for all his wishy-washy political loathsomeness, is very good-looking, and Paul Ryan is perfectly dreamy.

Somehow, however, I managed to vote with my brain, not my hormones.

Does this really work? One wonders whether McCain’s advisors thought Sarah Palin added sex appeal to the campaign. (I honestly wonder if Romney’s advisors thought the same about Ryan.) John Kerry (who’s merely acceptable-looking) chose the soap-opera handsome John Edwards as VP in 2004. (It was only later that we discovered what a scuzzball Edwards really was. OMG! Fox News was actually right about something!) Clinton was certainly a more attractive man than either George H. W. Bush or Bob Dole.

And so on, and so on.

Does it really make a difference?


In 1972 I managed to get my mother to register to vote, so that she could vote for George McGovern. (Dad registered too, and I’m certain he voted for Nixon, not that it did the country much good.) Mom got a little nostalgic. “This is only the second time I’ve voted,” she told me. “The first time was in 1948, and I voted for Tom Dewey, because he was so cute. I loved his mustache.”

So there you have it.


About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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