Kathleen Parker
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``Il n'y a pas de grand homme pour son valet-de-chambre.'' (No man is a hero to his valet.)
-- Mme. A.M. Bigot de Cornuel

At least he's still got good hair.

Otherwise, it may be over for John Edwards, thanks to a resurrected video of him primping, too lovingly, his hair.

The video, set to the song ``I Feel Pretty,'' has been airing on television, posted on YouTube and circulating on the Internet the past few days with potentially devastating effect for the man unflatteringly referred to as the ``Breck Girl.'' It also illustrates the enormous power of YouTube in politics forevermore.

For a while, it seemed Edwards might shake the Breck brand. Recently, while responding to Ann Coulter's remark referring to him with a word we're not allowed to use, Edwards sported a studiously short-cropped, un-boyish do. His face was so frozen in gravitas that Dick Cheney sent him a bottle of champagne and a joy buzzer.

Now, thanks to the omnipresent and unforgiving YouTube -- and the incessant linkage of Web sites -- John Edwards isn't just associated with hair. He is hair.

He's also a stand-in for Narcissus, mesmerized by his own beauty reflected in the small mirror he holds up to appraise himself. I feel pretty, oh so pretty. I feel pretty and witty and ... oh never mind.

Anyone who has had a photograph taken or appeared on camera understands that primping precedes picture. We've all done it. Combed the hair, worn the makeup, considered the surgery.

But not all of us are running for president of the United States. Didn't Edwards know they were filming? Didn't the doo-wop dude of the Blogosphere know that the Internet crouches in wait for anyone who dares pretend to the throne? The captured moment shows Edwards not just fixing his hair, but taking it very, very seriously. After he sweeps his bangs aside for about the tenth time -- and after the makeup artist has finished muting his shine -- Edwards takes the small powder compact from her for a final review.

Another brush of the bangs. Another. Another. He is not just interested in how he looks. He is riveted, his laser gaze so intense, you wonder: What's he looking for?

Many times lately, I've defended Edwards in private conversations, saying it's not his fault he's so cute. He was born that way. It's not his fault he looks young for his age. Lucky people do. It's not his fault that he's rich. At least it's not un-American, even if his populist ``Two Americas'' message rings a little faux as he builds a 28,000-square-foot monument to Ego. I mean, a house.

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Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
 
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