Ken Doll with a 12-gauge?

Tom DeLay gets a makeover -- but is it a little too extreme?

Published April 29, 2005 7:43PM (EDT)

What a difference a few weeks can make. In early April, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was buried in a pileup of ethics allegations, and smarting from a backlash over his comments about judges in the Terri Schiavo case. We felt his public image could use a little buffing, so we asked two image consultants to suggest ways to re-make Tom DeLay, top to tails.

Diane Parente, president of Image Development and Management, based in Ross, Calif., had some tips for DeLay at the time. "I would get rid of the [hair] gel," she said. Parente thought he was "very sloppy looking" and needed to "convey a more sincere attitude and watch the expression on his mouth, which looks like a frown." She also suggested he consider an eyelift because his "heavy lids" made him look "cynical."

DeLay has brightened his expression of late. For a recent photo op, a beaming DeLay appeared in black tie, and flaunted rosy cheeks, a toothy grin -- and a really, really big hunting rifle.

Parente isn't too impressed with the makeover. "He's improved, but I think he's gone to the other extreme," she told War Room today. "Now he's Mr. Perfect. He looks like a Ken doll."

Parente surmised that the rosy cheeks were the result of a chemical peel. "They don't look real," she said. The gun, she said, was "terrible," but would score points with his constituents. "At least he's pleasant looking now," she concluded. "He'll probably get more votes this way."

By Julia Scott

San Francisco-based freelance journalist Julia Scott writes about water and energy issues for various publications. She also covers the environment for Bay Area News Group, a chain of newspapers in Northern California.

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