Combover Congress

How can we trust our leaders to manage impeachment when they can't even manage their hair?

By Cynthia Heimel
Published February 3, 1999 8:00PM (EST)

Those of us who watch the impeachment trials have been shocked -- shocked! -- by the appearance of our congressional leaders. Have they no pride? No decorum? Have they no mirrors?

I do not refer to the jaunty Gilbert-and-Sullivan-inspired stripes on Chief Justice William Rehnquist's costume. These stripes are poignant in their innocence. They're perfect for this sober, solemn, somber game of impeachment. They make a fine foil for those superannuated boy faces screwed up to look all grave while they play Let's Be Saddened, Let's Intone Shakespeare Quotes and Let's Sign Our Names to Some Paper With a Special Pen!

But what, in all that's true and sacred, could our congresspeople be thinking with those inane hairdos? How are the American people supposed to endure these dishonest congressional coiffures? How can we trust these men and a handful of women to manage our country when even their hair is completely beyond them?

Take, if you dare, Trent Lott. What the hell is happening on the top of our majority leader's head? Is it a wig? It's gotta be a wig the way it perches there in its rigid glory, right? If so, it's a cheap one, and we can congratulate our leader on his thrift. But what if it isn't? What if it's real and therefore an actual hairdo choice? Can we trust a man who chooses to look as if he's wearing a greased cat?

We avert our eyes, but unfortunately they accidentally light on Tom Daschle. Daschle has always been a cute man, an impish man, a man with naturally wavy hair. Yet I would lay heavy odds that Tom now has a big ol' dye job.

It's the orange tint that gives it away. Orange on a middle-aged man means he's been playing unsupervised amongst the Clairol. Reagan and Bush both affected a Raggedy Ann orange, perhaps hoping to look lovable when, in fact, their hair seemed to be spontaneously combusting.

"Ronnie doesn't die his hair, he's just prematurely orange," Gerald Ford once said.

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Actually, Daschle has another problem. His hair is so minimally rusty one might not have suspected dye, except that his eyebrows don't match. They are oddly pale, grayish. Why has he not noticed this? Why has his staff not told him? Would it kill them to leave him a little note?

It is quite possible that Daschle's eyebrows have been kidnapped by Sen. Don Nickles, whose eyebrows are downright copper, whereas his hair is a dullish brown that appears to be unattached to the scalp. It is a most startling look.

A charter member of the Lott hair club for men is the sanctimonious-mouthed Bill McCollum, of whom a friend recently said, "I'd like to slap that guy around until his hair cracks into sharp little chunks like Turkish taffy." And I'd like to watch.

Another Lott devotee is Gordon Smith of Oregon, one of those baby senators who are all excited to be getting on television for no reason -- and who really should make a little effort if he wants to be asked back.

Finally, we must pay homage to the 13 red strands on the head of our dear old Strom Thurmond, just because LBJ said, "When he dies they're going to have to beat his pecker to death with a baseball bat to get the coffin lid down." (But someone really must talk to Charles Grodin, whose hair color, last I saw it, had faded to a frightening salmon pink.)

And now, advice for our national leaders:

Olympia Snowe? Stop doing it at home, honey, it's flat and lifeless. You can afford a colorist. Get Dianne Feinstein's.

Byron Dorgan and Joe Lieberman? Boyfriends, no one in the history of the universe has ever, ever been fooled by a combover.

Kay Bailey Hutchinson with the Darth Vader helmet? Has anyone told you what Aqua-Net does to the ozone layer?

Ed Bryant and all you other dudes who think that a great big pouffy thing on your forehead makes you look Kennedy-esque? You look more like Ted Koppel, who also thinks he looks Kennedy-esque, but who in fact looks like topiary. Also, you might want to check your heads from another angle besides head on, since a bald spot behind that big pouf just compounds this hairdo felony.

Henry Hyde? Do you use a blue rinse, or purple?

I implore all congresspeople to come clean about their dubious hair. How can we ever even begin to believe you if we cannot even believe your follicles?

Cynthia Heimel

Cynthia Heimel is the author of many books, including "When Your Phone Doesn't Ring, It'll be Me," and the forthcoming "The Call of the Wild Girl: Crucial New Sex Tips."

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Byron Dorgan D-n.d. George W. Bush Joe Lieberman Olympia J. Snowe