On Joe Miller’s Beard
It’s become conventional wisdom in Washington that beards are a detriment for most politicians on the campaign trail. In 2006, The Hill put it this way:
[P]olitical consultants, image consultants and etiquette experts say research shows that politicians who wear mustaches and beards don’t poll well. Voters don’t trust a candidate with facial hair. Think Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Saddam Hussein and Genghis Khan.
But Joe Miller — who is currently leading incumbent Lisa Murkowski in Alaska’s Republican Senate primary and sports a close-cropped, five o’clock shadow-type beard — could buck that conventional wisdom in the coming weeks. (There are, of course, a number of bearded politicians who have overcome this phenomenon; Rep. David Obey comes to mind.) Politico reported today that many of the 25,000 ballots that will determine Miller’s fate will be counted today, but counting will likely continue into next week. Until then, we’ll have to wait and see.
In the meantime though, Miller’s beard has gotten some attention. There’s a Twitter account that claims to be “the beard of Joe Miller tea party candidate for U.S. Senate for Alaska.” (It warns that the tweets are “Satire!”)
In addition, National Review Online’s Daniel Foster wrote last month, “Speaking for hirsute-Americans, I think it’s about time for facial hair to make a comeback in the GOP.” Foster also noted research by a Michigan State law professor that says, “Under the modern two-party system, if a candidate has facial hair, the Republican always has as much, or more, than the Democrat.”