Politics & Policy

Game Changer: Bachmann Pays for Hair Styling, Make-Up

Since blaming Michele Bachmann for student suicides, calling her husband Marcus a closeted gay man, accusing her of taking in foster kids for money (or more delicately, only insinuating she preferred fostering the higher-paying kids), and painting her as a pill-popping addict hasn’t succeeded in turning enough Republicans away from supporting the Minnesota congresswoman, Mother Jones churns out a new angle today: Bachmann pays for hair-styling and make-up!

Not mentioned in the Mother Jones piece: Bachmann is a fifty-five year old woman who is constantly being photographed at every angle and in every light.

This is ridiculous. Nancy Pelosi, at least of 2008, was getting her hair done every day at the Four Seasons, which is not exactly the D.C. equivalent of SuperCuts.

She’s smart to do so. Because if there’s one certain thing in politics, it’s that any female politician’s appearance will be scrutinized. Behold: from the Washington Post, “In her latest act of defiance, Hillary Rodham Clinton gets a new, longer hairdo;” from the Huffington Post, “Hillary Clinton’s Hair: the Ups and the Downs;” from the New York Times, “The Upshot on Palin and Her Updo,” (follow up controversy from the NYT: is Palin’s hair thinning from stress?); and from the New York Daily News, a snarky gossip item on how “Nancy Pelosi can do just about anything – except her hair.”

So, Bachmann paid $4,700 for hair and make-up services. She also apparently isn’t a huge fan of spending money this way, according to the Mother Jones report:

A review of her campaign records shows less than $1,000 in similar spending last year, which includes her 2010 congressional reelection bid. (A Bachmann campaign spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.)

Even when Bachmann’s campaign has paid for these kinds of services in the past, the costs have been far more modest. In February, the Minneapolis City Pages quoted a celebrity stylist named Natalie Hale saying that Bachmann paid her $225 for three different makeup sessions during the 2010 campaign. Hale added, however, that Bachmann tried to avoid paying for such services when possible. “I know for a fact if Michele has to pay for makeup she will usually instead do it herself,” Hale said.

It sounds like Bachmann made a common-sense decision: to avoid the media fallout that would occur from one bad hair day, or mascara running. No doubt, trying to avoid widening her eyes at any moment (because when women do, they look crazy!) is stressful enough. She’d be a fool to add any more stress by not paying for hair and make-up and having to also make sure her roots didn’t look too greasy or her face too lined.

Criticize Bachmann for her positions. But asking her (again, at 55!) to be the first woman politician to dare the United States voters to be uninfluenced by personal appearance is just absurd.

Katrina TrinkoKatrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...


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