So Rush Limbaugh has proven my point. In some not-really-tasteless-but-seemingly-facetious remarks from today's transcript of his program, he draws attention to Hillary Clinton's appearance as an aging woman. Not her appearance as a candidate, mind you, but as an aging woman.
Continuing upon remarks made about America's obsession with appearance:
"So the question is this: Will this country want to actually watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis? . . . And that woman, by the way, is not going to want to look like she's getting older, because it will impact poll numbers. It will impact perceptions.
In politics, perceptions are reality. So there will have to be steps taken to avoid the appearance of aging. You know, politics is not for sissies. Now, I'm looking at people on the other side of the glass here and they're laughing and they're smiling. They think I'm making a joke here and there's some big punch line coming. I'm not . . . You go back and look at presidents that we elected prior to TV, and presidents we elected after TV, and you will notice a huge difference. Do you think a bloated president could win? We had plenty of fat-guy presidents. Do you think one could get elected today? There's not a prayer! There isn't a prayer. Remember when people said, "The way to tell if Gore's really going to run is if he starts losing weight?" It's just what it is, folks. It's just what it is. Perfection, the appearance of perfection and good health, all of that ties into the perception of mental acuity, stamina, being able to hold up to the job -- and I'm just suggesting, it's one of these intangibles.
You know, people will never tell you in an exit poll, "Yeah, I voted for Candidate X because he looks better than Candidate Y." They're not going to tell you, "I like their position on the Taliban. Yeah, I love their health care plan." They don't tell you what the real reason is -- and, of course, there is nobody else out there with the guts or the stupidity to address this as I am, but it's just something to put in the hopper and to think about. Let me give you a picture, just to think about. I'm not even going to answer the question for you, just want you to think about this. The campaign is Mitt Romney versus Hillary Clinton in our quest in this country for visual perfection, hmm?"
You think that I'm going to put Limbaugh into the grinder for this, and I'm not. I'm really not. I think that he has a valid point. Depending on your point of view his remarks may be seen as sexist, but when studies have shown that the tallest presidential candidate receives the most popular votes 88% of the time and wins 84% of the time, it's hard not to believe that the human race really isn't that shallow. Intangibles.
It's not really your fault - subconscious triggers influence much of your behavior. Advertisers and presidential candidates rely on this fact, and, in a quest for a scientifically-perfect candidate, they've moved away from the issues and focused on the image. It's a Machiavellian approach, but Edward Bernays was really on to something.