Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from the LA Times

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

Mustaches make the man, now returning to politics?

December 18, 2008 |  9:58 am

General and president Ulysses S. Grant on a tidy day

Mustaches have long been signs of great intelligence and vigor in human society. On males, we mean.

That's been a given in American history, which once basically required politicians to have facial hair, usually in awful abundance.

The late Republican Senator Hugh Scott of Pennsylvania

Anyone who's shaved every day for a half-century or so inevitably comes to the realization that full beards, even Rumpelstiltskin ones, make real sense. The Santa Claus presidential beards kind of faded away politically with the 19th century. No more Rutherford B. Hayes (bottom) or even Ulysses Grant (above).

There have been a few mustaches recently in the House of Representatives; former Rep. Bob Barr comes to mind, along with Montana's Dennis Rehberg.

But the Senate is something else, where there hasn't been such a lip-duster probably since the days of Pennsylvania's Hugh Scott (see photo on right)--something political consultants remind potential candidates.

Our blogging pal Adam Tschorn, who's old enough to shave, has an interesting piece on such natural adornments over on the Image, noting the arrival on the new Obama administration scene of Eric Holder, another dashing fellow with a mustache. These handsome mustachioed guys are really everywhere. Or should be.

-- Andrew Malcolm

No facial hair needed to register here for cellphone alerts on each new Ticket item. RSS feeds are also available here. And we're on Amazon's Kindle too.

Perhaps our favorite presidential beard on Rutherford B. Hayes