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I Went on National TV and All Anyone Saw Was My Eyebrows

Not me, but Gov. Tim Kaine. Here you are, the brand new blue governor of a red state, darling of the Democrats, given a lovely littel welcome aboard gift and you get a fresh new haircut and write up a neat little speech, threading that tough line between carping at the leader of the free world and being a toady to the prez, and you pull off your prime time speech and then you wake up the next morning, and what are the bloggers and the pundits yammering about: Your EYEBROWS.

You're telling Americans that there has to be a better way, and they're talking about your "radical extremist eyebrow." Or they're comparing your brow to that of Nixon henchman John Ehrlichman.

Some folks saw this coming long ago. Others are only now rollicking in the eyebrow story.

But we are a serious lot here and will not lower ourselves to discuss such trivia. There are issues at stake--the future of the nation, the destiny of democracy, the 2016 presidential nomination.

Tim Kaine hasn't even learned his way to the back door of his gubernatorial suite yet. And already his bobbing brow is better known than Mark Warner's haircolorist.

Give the man a break! And two tips: When the barber suggests thinning the eyebrows, nod in assent; the man knows what he's talking about. And this--back in fifth grade, when your friend's mom told you not to get the Special Occasion haircut the day before the Big Event, but rather a few days ahead, she was right.

Tomorrow: Why Mayor Tony Williams should not be permitted to wear shorts in public, and other such essential policy matters.

By Marc Fisher |  February 2, 2006; 7:34 AM ET
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Personal attacks are the nature of the American right. You hear the Cindy Sheehan is ugly, John Kerry is an oompa loompa, and Bill Clinton is fat remarks all of the time. This isn't any different. I suppose when you don't know how to debate and there is no room for compromise in your ideology, personal attacks are the only reaction you can give.

I'll give you the Bush looks like a monkey comments - the left is not immune to this.

Posted by: Daedalus | February 2, 2006 9:43 AM

Nice point Marc! No one ever pointed out that Katherine Harris looked like a hideous freak in 2000 and therefore was incapable of doing her job. If only we had had blogs back then! Instead we had to rely on staid institutions like the Washington Post which never revealed that critical detail.

It should also be pointed out that the chuckles aren't based solely on the appearance of Kaine's eyebrow, but on the fact that he kept repeatedly arching one and only one of them, as if to emphasize his point. It's a tic, sure, but the body-language equivalent of saying 'mmkay' after every line.

As one pundit put it, if only eyebrows were taxes, Tim Kaine would raise them both!

(That's funny, admit it).

Posted by: athea | February 2, 2006 9:50 AM

Even Mark Warner joked at Kaine's victory party that they had "raised a few eyebrows during the campaign." Funny, funny stuff. Kaine still seems like a good guy though.

Posted by: Andrew | February 2, 2006 9:52 AM

Tim Kaine's eyebrows don't hold a candle to Roy Blunt's eyebrows! The repugs always get personal when they can't justify themselves.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2006 10:11 AM

The press didn't attack Katherine Harris's makeup? Heck, even Time Magazine doctored her photo to make it look even worse. The press has destroyed Bush's deer in the headlights, blinky eye speeches. Remember what they did to Nixon's 5 o'clock shadow? The only difference is this time there is an internet, and a democrat can actually be criticized!! The Washington Post cries when someone counters John Murtha, but doesn't print anything when the dems attack Congressman Kline, dress him as a Nazi in his MARINE CORP uniform (25 years!). THe double standard exist. They have been making fun of republicans for years, so it does raise a few eyebrows when a democrat actually takes a few hits.

Posted by: Karen | February 2, 2006 10:26 AM

I have this same problem and it is probably due to my TMJ. My jaw is disconnected on one side.

It hurts, it sucks, and while you are talking to me normally you might not notice, I am very sensitive about pictures.

While this has not kepts me from functioning, sometimes I look odd and I didn't Do anything messed up to get here.

In Katherine Harris' case, it was viewed as a lack of fashion sense and seemed curious because she spent a lot of money on her looks and was known for that.

For Bill Clinton, it was what people saw as a lack of discipline and a love that many of us have; junk food.

These foibles were linked to activities, not health problems.

Posted by: Dee | February 2, 2006 10:37 AM

Karen, what the heck are you talking about? That's the problem with you foaming-at-the-mouth right wingers -- you get so worked up, you can't even compose a coherent post.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2006 10:45 AM

I like Kaine, but even my wife calls him "crazy brow." It's an amusing personal quirk. But of course the Right Wingers have to focus on that because they can't debate the truth of everything he said.

But they really should be asking themselves if they want to start a partisan eye brow war. I mean, cmon...

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2006 11:22 AM

When are Democrats going to learn that presence, poise, and image is everything when it comes to your public message? If they learn nothing else from the Bush presidency, they should learn that. Content accounts so very little when it comes to dealing with the American public.

And Tim Kaine's eyebrows preclude him from the popularity contest. Sorry. If he can't control the eyebrow, he was the wrong choice to give the response.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2006 11:30 AM

Irony is someone calling Republicans "Repugs" complaining about personal attacks.

Posted by: Jacknut | February 2, 2006 12:22 PM

"John Kerry is an oompa loompa"

HA ha true!

Posted by: Virginia Centrist | February 2, 2006 12:52 PM

I'd like to see Jack Black and Kaine have an eyebrow duel at 10 paces.

If you haven't seen "School of Rock" please disregard this message.


Posted by: bc | February 2, 2006 1:01 PM

Watching the democrat response, I honestly did not hear anything Kaine said in his first 5 minutes because I could not remove my focus from his eyebrows. The same was true with Virginians as they were so focused on his eyebrows during the governor's race that they never heard his plan to tax them an extra $4 billion. Virginia is for suckers.

Posted by: dennis | February 2, 2006 3:26 PM

Actually, 'Irony' would be attempting to use 'irony' in a sentence in which there is no irony. The word you were looking for is 'hypocrisy.'

Posted by: Matthew | February 2, 2006 3:35 PM

Okay, I was listening to the governor. My wife was telling me to look at his eyebrows with that eye rolling thing she does when I don't notice the guy I am talking to has on a hot pink shirt.

Hey liberals and conservatives ... lighten up and have some fun for once in your manic lives!!!

Posted by: Truth B Told | February 2, 2006 4:50 PM

"they can't debate the truth of everything he said." He did tell the truth and he is right - "we need to work together."

But he also said Bush is all wrong, we need to work together, Bush is screwing it up, we need to work together, Republicans are crooks, we need to work together, Republicans are throwing your children out on the streets, we need to work together.

Posted by: Truth B Told | February 2, 2006 4:58 PM

The obstacle to delivering his message was the overwhelming DISTRACTION, and it could and should have been anticipated. Alas, he could have had it all with a dab of Botox.

Posted by: David | February 2, 2006 5:22 PM

I swear when I knew him casually in Richmond during his mayor years that the eyebrow was not the big player that it is now. Maybe it could be botox-ed into submission?

Posted by: Bill | February 2, 2006 5:53 PM

Deserve the sorry state of the union when all they can think about is a man's eyebrow, etc.

I wonder how Lincoln would do today?

P.S. Marc, you do a disservice by echoing this crap in your blog.

Posted by: Shallow Idiots | February 2, 2006 6:09 PM

I honestly think Tim Kaine is a good speaker. But even as seriously as I took his speech on Tuesday, the eyebrow could not go unnoticed. I watched that eyebrow the whole time he was speaking. I couldn't help it.

It has nothing to do with partisan politics to say that a man's image can affect how he does politically. It's just a fact. Bush did a very good job keeping his facial expressions under control for the State of the Union address. If Tim Kaine really wants to get that far, he'll have to learn to reign in the eyebrow.

I agree that it needs to be botox-ed. Sorry Tim.

Posted by: Tree-Hugging Liberal | February 2, 2006 7:15 PM

"Deserve the sorry state of the union when all they can think about is a man's eyebrow, etc"

I don't believe this is "all they can think about." It is a blog about Tim Kaine's eyebrows. Hellooo . . .
But for all the Shallow Idiot talk, I didn't hear anything useful from that post . . .

As to Lincoln, you don't need to wonder. Just do your homework and look at the political cartoons of the man when he was in office. They had him drawn wearing a dress and mostly looking like a country hick baffoon the rest of the time. The press tore him to shreds for sport--daily.

Posted by: Truth B Told | February 3, 2006 9:38 AM

More on Lincoln:

The Chicago papers said the Gettysburg address was inane "dishwatery utterances from a man that had to be pointed out to strangers as being the president of the United States."

Posted by: Truth B Told | February 3, 2006 9:40 AM

A newspaper that runs Robin Givhan's work has no basis to criticize others who focus on a public figure's personal appearance.

Posted by: Tom T. | February 3, 2006 10:28 AM

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