The American President

Bill O’Reilly is just the latest to fawn over Multiple Choice Romney’s “presidential” looks:

On the May 30 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, host Bill O’Reilly said: “[Y]ou can’t get more presidential-looking than [former Massachusetts Gov.] Mitt Romney [R].” O’Reilly continued: “[I]f you were to make up a guy, this would be the guy, you know, that looks presidential. He’s got the jaw going on, the little gray thing in there.” O’Reilly concluded that Romney’s “presidential” looks bode well for his electoral prospects, saying, “I think that means a lot in America.” (Media Matters)

Whoa, Bill. Cool down. Maybe you should volunteer to be a judge on the revival of “Are You Hot?”

So Romney is “presidential-looking.” WTF does that mean? He doesn’t look anything like this president:

Abraham Lincoln

Or this president:


So who does this guy look like?


Maybe a cross between this guy

The American President

and this guy

The West Wing

and this guy?

Dave and Arnold

(The one on the right.)

The resemblance is uncanny, I’ll grant you. But Mr. O’Reilly, did you notice something? These are fictional characters. As in not real. Do we really want to be choosing our presidents by who most looks like they fit in a Hollywood blockbuster? Just because California did it, doesn’t mean the rest of the country has to. Look what it got us last time a President tried to be a character in a movie.

Independence Day president Mission NOT Accomplished

(Mission Accomplished, my ass)

Rather than finding reassurance in Romney’s physical resemblance to a Hollywood archetype, as O’Reilly says I should, I find the phrase “looks presidential” disturbing. It reflects the traits that we as a culture have decided reflect authority and leadership. 200+ years of white, male leaders has so defined our expectations of what leaders look like that it becomes self-perpetuating. Can an African-American candidate “look presidential”? A woman? A Muslim?

Romney doesn’t “look presidential.” He looks “generic stock movie representation of non-descript president-ish.”

I have an idea. If we insist on looking to Hollywood, why not try to find someone who doesn’t just look like a movie president, but acts like one, too. You know, someone who is smart and caring, who stands up for what is right even if it hurts in the polls. Someone who can unite both sides of the aisle, balance the budget in a single night, and save the world from alien invasion.


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