Tony Blankley

Just as our troops are fighting the terrorists in Iraq so we don't have to face them here at home, I watched the Democratic Party presidential debate on Monday so you wouldn't need to let those egregious people into your own living rooms. (Although, obviously, our troops in Iraq face deadly duty, while I only face deadly dull duty.)

But I did learn a few things. For the first time Monday, CNN provided us with sustained close-up shots of Sen. John Edwards' haircut, and I can now understand why he paid between $400-$1,200 a cut. At middle range, it looks deceptively like your average $18 strip-mall haircut. And it seems to look the same from the left side of his face.

But the close up from his right side is a revelation. Girding the long side of his part is an extraordinary spring-like wedge of hair running from front to back. And though bouncy, every hair remains in place -- even during vigorous head shaking and bobbing. This gives his entire hairstyle a lively, youthful look. Most middle-aged men's hair just sits on the head like a wet rag. Admittedly, the bouncy wedge does look a little flouncy when viewed from the candidate's front right. But from any other angle and from all distances other than close up, it simply gives his entire visage a healthy, animated look. Well worth a thousand bucks a crack -- at least in his part of the two Americas.

However, in Edwards' only memorable comment of the night, he rather put his foot into it. Each of the candidates was asked to describe something he or she approves of and something he or she disapproves of regarding the candidate to the left. Sen. Hillary Clinton was to Edwards' left, and he expressed disapproval of her pink (or, perhaps, coral) sweater. The questioner was clearly looking for policy disagreements, so Edward's reflexive comment on her appearance rather reminded the audience of his reputation for excessive concern with matters of grooming. It also was suggestive of his inner sexism (despite his wife's claim that her husband is better than Hillary for the fairer sex) as he would hardly have commented on a male candidate's suit jacket.

Given Edwards' essential vacuity (tempered by his instinct for southern populist demagogy), he will test how far he can make his way on Arthur Miller's "smile and a shoe shine."

Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

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