Michele Bachman by Gage Skidmore (CC)
Remember John Edwards' $400 haircuts in the 2008 presidential campaign? Edwards was criticized for these while building a 28,000-square-foot mansion and vowing to reduce poverty.
Little did anyone know then that the incongruency of care for the poor while enjoying the perks of luxury was a warning sign that Edwards was living a life of facades.
John Edwards is a fake. That we know now. He tried to hide the truth of his love child with Rielle Hunter while seeking the most public position in the world -- the presidency.
Today, Edwards is a political ghost. He has no future. He is one person that Republicans and Democrats can openly agree to disdain.
The false image that Edwards tried to project was a joke. Yet in 2012, there is another presidential candidate inordinately focused on appearances -- Michele Bachmann.
During the debate in Iowa a couple of weeks ago, Bachmann would leave during commercial breaks to have her makeup touched up. One time she was even late returning to the debate. Her quick makeup sessions gathered some snickers, but nothing like Edwards' haircuts.
In another incident, reporters were discouraged from taking photos of her in khaki cargo pants or other "casual clothes."
There is another situation regarding her appearance. It bears a remarkable similarity to Edwards' self-absorption. During June, Bachmann spent $4,700 on a hairstylist and makeup.
For politicians, image is crucial. Expensive haircuts, makeup and professional stylists are part of the package of being a presidential candidate. Yet there is something wrong here.
If $4,700 makeovers are acceptable for a female presidential candidate but $400 haircuts for male presidential candidates are excessive, then we really haven't reached gender equality in politics.
John Edwards by U.S. federal government
Just imagine if John Edwards ducked behind scenes during the breaks in his debates to have his hair combed. The outrage would be enormous.
Bachmann spends what would be a comfortable monthly wage for the average American on her hair and makeup, but she receives only slight criticism.
It might be that Bachmann should not be blamed for her obsession about appearance. If America thinks $4,700 is a non-issue, then Bachmann better play it up. If her hair is out of place or her makeup streaks, she will undoubtedly be the butt of many late-night comedian jokes.
It is almost enough to have some sympathy for her. Voters expect a perfectly coiffed candidate. Bachmann must oblige that expectation.
Except when Bachmann has an aversion to being photographed in casual wear, then the image she is trying to project is not one of just trying to be an attractive candidate. She is trying to make herself appear as someone she is not, whatever that might be.
Even Mitt Romney has been photographed in casual wear. His campaign has not put the lid on those photos.