In all likelihood, Carly Fiorina’s off-mike statement about Barbara Boxer’s hair was exactly what it appeared to be — one candidate examining the appearance of another candidate and finding it laughably anachronistic. (No critiques from me; most often my hair looks like it was trimmed with a lawnmower.)
But as we all know, Barbara Boxer can be a little touchy. (“Call me senator.”) She has a bit of an ego, writing novels in which the protagonist is a crusading liberal Democratic senator from California who has “been put here on earth to save its endangered children.” So it’s not unthinkable that Fiorina or her campaign or both might think that upon hearing ridicule of her appearance, Boxer might be easily goaded into making a similar comment about Fiorina.
You’ve seen Carly Fiorina’s ultra-short haircut, right? You know her hair is growing back differently because of chemotherapy from when she was treated for breast cancer, right?
Usually-Democratic California is already pretty “meh” on Boxer, where the incumbent is polling in the mid to high 40s. A comment mocking a recovering cancer patient’s hair would be the sort of thing that would shift Boxer’s image from a haughty, too-comfortable pol to a mean-spirited monster.
It didn’t happen in this case. But I can’t help but suspect that Team Fiorina will try to generate as many “call me Senator” moments as possible. I suspect in their first debate, Fiorina will call her “ma’am” early and often.