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You've all seen this picture:

My guess is if I posted it as a part of a discussion of his policies, no one would bat an eyelash.

Let me give you another:

This one got some complaints among the pundits.

And then there is (no pix, because I do not want to) Katherine Harris, where I think that a number of people argue that dissing her for her cosmetic habits would be a disservice to the real evil that she did.

My rule of thumb generally is to be comfortable with it when it is done to a man, but not to a woman, because an attack on a man's appearance, for example poster child for sex without partners Mitch McConnell, is simply being nasty.  It does not serve to marginalize them in other areas, while with women, the immediate critique seems to be appearance when one has a difference with them in some other area.

So, what are your thoughts.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alx9090, laurak, Kingsmeg, StillAmused, amyzex

    I'm not sure what the hell I'm writing about above.

    6/24/05: Charlie the Tuna Creator Dies En lieu of flowers, please bring mayonnaise, chopped celery and paprika.

    by LunkHead on Mon May 19, 2014 at 02:13:16 PM PDT

  •  Women in politics are subjected (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alx9090, Wee Mama

    to all sorts of media comment about their appearance even when nobody is going out of their way to make fun of them. There has been a lot of pressure and I think there has been a decline of the compulsion to describe the fashion choices of a woman congressional representative or senator when making a public appearance. It is certainly not something that would be done for male politicians.

    I would say that if we want to work toward that kind of gender equality, we need to have comparable standards all down the line. When it comes to ridicule one size really should fit all.  

    •  Talking about looks weakens the argument (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BRog, Neuroptimalian, stunvegas, LinSea

      I don't like it when our side talks about the weight of Christie or Limbaugh. Or when people suggest Anne Coulter might be a man. Or when people make cracks about Boehner's orange tinge. The reason to dislike them is because their ideas and their political philosophies are just wrong. Likewise, I don't like hearing Republicans commenting on the physical appearance of, say, Michael Moore or Helen Thomas or Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Henry Waxman (just a few off the top of my head).

      Calling someone fat or ugly is not a valid argument.

      "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

      by Dbug on Mon May 19, 2014 at 06:56:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  OMG! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alx9090, thenekkidtruth, Kingsmeg

    I had never seen the Rick Scott thing before, still laughing over that one!

  •  Chris Christie (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Karl Rover, thenekkidtruth

    For most people harping on their weight is inappropriate, but I think we should make an exception for Christie.  His whole appeal is his schtick of being deliberately offensive to people who are in a vulnerable position even though they are his constituents.  Christie doesn't deserve any slack from anyone on any topic.  (I would leave his family out of it unless they get personally involved)

    •  just as long as you're aware that if you insult (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lysis, Wee Mama, misslegalbeagle, Kingsmeg

      Christie for being fat, you insult obese people in general for being fat.  As I said in another comment, I feel that ALL caricature is fair game for any and all public figures (realizing that other people might happen to get upset in the crossfire)

      But I don't agree with your excuse that Christie's politics make it ok for him and not someone else.  It should be equal across the board.

    •  Fat guys are OK targets, but going after (0+ / 0-)

      an overweight female politician is not a tactically wise move.

      In theory, you should be able to take equal swipes at male and female candidates, but you really have to measure the result.  Does the attack bring you an advantage, or bring sympathy for the intended target?  Hitting a woman for being fat is far more likely to create blowback.

      One tactic that pols can use to deflect that type of criticism is to use self-deprecating humor.  Christie seems ok with fat jokes, and I think HRC has thrown at least one variation of a "pants suit" joke into her stump speech repretoire.

      Dont Mourn, Organize !#konisurrender

      by cks175 on Mon May 19, 2014 at 03:33:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  juvenile, but fair game. I don't subscribe to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rebereads, mbayrob

    this idea that some groups can be made fun of but others can't.  

    However, it's often extremely immature.

    Except, of course, when it's hilarious :)

  •  How ugly do YOU want to get? (0+ / 0-)

    In someone's eyes, everything is fair game in politics. Prince Rebus declared Hillary's health and age fair game just today. Do you want to fall to his level?
    I have to admit that I did do the Joe Lie berman/sad clown pic. And I did some fun stuff with images of several of the BushCheney crowd (that were never published). And the current crop of Republicans are a sore temptation to photoshop. (Gomert is a gift from doG!)
    But am I enabling the creeps to do the same?
    (Wait a minute, they started it!)

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Mon May 19, 2014 at 02:47:09 PM PDT

    •  political caricature is centuries old. Probably (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CwV, Karl Rover, Mike Kahlow

      millennia.  I don't think you're enabling anything.  It's part of our time-honored creative expression as humans, artists, and political animals..  Sometimes it's mean.

      So it goes..

    •  Bob Dole's age and health were deemed fair (5+ / 0-)

      game by the Bill Clinton campaign. It will be hard for them to claim those issues are off limits for HRC. I do not think that health and age are "appearance" related and would put them in a different category.

      "let's talk about that" uid 92953

      by VClib on Mon May 19, 2014 at 03:26:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sure. But... (0+ / 0-)

        ...in a way, Rove has already disarmed the issue to a certain extent by ham-handedly overplaying it with the diagnosis-by-glasses narrative that so invited ridicule. (Did he forget what happened to Bill Frist when he tried to diagnose Terri Schiavo by video?)

        From here through 2016, what may be perfectly valid concerns about her age and health will automatically invoke - in much the same way that mention of "women" in the same breath as "Romney" brought "binders" to mind - Rove stumbling over his own feet in search of a meme, and yield more punchlines than substantive information. He unintentionally did her (and Bill) a favor.  

        In any event, and in consideration of LunkHead's topic, I don't recall anyone in or out of the Clinton camp ever trying to make hay out of Dole's war-wound-caused disability - and the appearance it gave - as any part of that discussion.  

        •  SW - I don't think so (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          valion

          Karl Rove didn't put this issue off limits, or taint it as an issue in 2016. It's way too early for that.

          "let's talk about that" uid 92953

          by VClib on Mon May 19, 2014 at 08:21:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The "way too early" aspect... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib

            ...is part of the reason for the theory; if she remains appearing healthy and sharp over the course of two years or so, my guess is it'll lose any "legs" it might have had if brought up at a later date during an actual campaign (although I've no doubt the opposition will keep trying).

            Oddly, Ari Melber flirted with a theory similar to mine on MSNBC about an hour and a half after I posted.

            I guess it depends on anyone's point of view whether that makes it more credible or less.

            I rarely make predictions, but I'll stick with this one (not that anyone will care either way; the beauty of being a nobody).  

      •  Did the Clinton campaign (0+ / 0-)

        really go after Dole's age? I don't recall every day of the campaign of course, but I don't recall any of this. The real discussions of Dole's age came from the media and  a lot of it appeared to be self inflicted, like Dole claiming Perry Como was his favorite signer and using "I'm a Dole Man"  theme song(real hip, those two things). Falling off that railing in California made him look old as well. If you are 73 and running for president, you are going to look old next to Bill Clinton in 1996.

  •  One way of differentiating (7+ / 0-)

    caricature from abuse is whether or not it involves offensive and/or discriminatory stereotypes. The Rick Scott picture doesn't. A cartoon of Barack Obama with big ears doesn't (at least to my knowledge, that's not a racial stereotype - Ross Perot got drawn the same way). A cartoon of a black politician as a monkey or with monkey-like features, or of a woman as a harpy, shrew, or prostitute.... obviously bad.

  •  When they are ugly or fat? (0+ / 0-)

    Snark, I guess.

    I'm a Democrat and we must always play nice!

  •  Gonna go with never. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stunvegas, Kingsmeg, LinSea

    No point of taking the high road if you're going to spit over the railing.

  •  Politics ain't beanbags (0+ / 0-)

    You know damn well the Repubs don't unilaterally disarm, they use whatever they can, legal or not. I draw the line at breaking the law, and add: don't do things that will backfire. Making fun of morons is certainly fair game.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Mon May 19, 2014 at 03:21:59 PM PDT

  •  When it helps my side, I'm OK with it. (0+ / 0-)

    The only problem is that I define "my side" more broadly that just elections.  So while I might think it helps my immediate cause to call Republicans names based on physical appearance, it doesn't serve my wider agenda of a humane society.  Certainly I can imagine an election where I'm willing to put that aside, but it hasn't happened yet.  And besides, "stupid" and "vicious" work wonders and they don't hurt society.

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Mon May 19, 2014 at 03:25:10 PM PDT

  •  The first thing that Hillary Clinton ... (0+ / 0-)

    will utter when she holds a news conference is, " Do you think I'm pretty?"
    FOX News reporters will be seen jumping out of their chairs and frantically waving their hands saying, "Pick me, pick me, I know that answer!"


    If music be the food of love, then laughter is its queen, and likewise, if behind is in front, then dirt in truth is clean.

    by glb3 on Mon May 19, 2014 at 04:00:26 PM PDT

  •  I guess it's okay when... (0+ / 0-)

    ...you've run out of actual things to criticize them for.  

    I see it as basically, "Um, I've got nothing left, so here's a juvenile insult!"

  •  Just a thought: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kkkkate

    I've seen a few comments that suggest that we should equally free to mock male and female candidates for their looks—essentially, that true equality would mean ridiculing both equally.  

    The problem with this is that we value looks so much more in women than we do in men.  When we make fun of a man's looks, all we're really saying is that he's goofy looking or chunky.  When we mock a woman for being heavy or ugly, we're implying that she's worthless, stupid, and incompetent.  Calling a woman ugly means so much more than calling a man ugly.    

  •  Appearance should never be an issue. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stunvegas

    Certainly, we could make inappropriate fun of Rand Paul,  John Mica, or Alan Grayson for their hair, and Trent Franks for his hair lip.

    But are we OK with ridiculing Tammy Duckworth for missing her legs.

    Please, content of character and actions and/or deeds are how we should measure people.

    Therefore, it is never appropriate to comment on appearance.  And if a person needs to use appearance as a means test, then they've lost their argument.

    Governor Christie is a bit different.  Making jokes about his girth or weight are inappropriate all the same.

    However, it is OK to worry about the health of a politician and wonder…..

    The demands of being president are extraordinary and I, for one, would not be comfortable voting for a president who is morbidly obese for fear of the heart attack and/or diabetes that could easily make this person unfit for the daily requirements of the job.

    Moreover, with the case of Governor Christie, even after lap-band surgery, it appears he is not losing much weight.  Self-control is a demand for a president.  Apparently, Governor Christie cannot control what goes into or comes out of his mouth.  I wonder, is that same lack of self-control a good thing for the person who commands a nuclear arsenal.  

    •  Is Rudy in drag ok? (0+ / 0-)

      I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

      by beemerr90s on Mon May 19, 2014 at 06:37:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Christie's lap-band surgery... (0+ / 0-)
      Moreover, with the case of Governor Christie, even after lap-band surgery, it appears he is not losing much weight.
      I've read that he's lost over 100 pounds since having the surgery a little over a year ago.  From seeing recent photos and video of him (I live in NJ, so I see him in the media regularly) I can believe that.  He looks considerably thinner to me.  

      If you're seeing pictures of him on Democratic or leftie web sites, they may be old photos chosen for their unflattering qualities.

      •  There is always a curve to weight loss... (0+ / 0-)

        Like many, if not most, people who receive lap-band surgery, there is always a near immediate loss of weight.

        To my eyes, Governor Christie also lost weight immediately, but has not shown any progress of late.

  •  It would generally be appropriate to use an (0+ / 0-)

    "unflattering" photo if the pols appearance or expression were inappropriate to the moment.  However, with a photo there is not way to know what that person looked like, a second before or after, what the lighting was or whether the photo was being photo shopped.

    In other words I don't think it matters, and says more about the person or entity that publishes or post an unusually unflattering shot.

    We know from 2008 that the Republicans and any Democratic challenger will do gosh awful things to Hillary's face and body.  It has been done so often, probably nobody much cares anymore.

    Kind of like Herr Karl's lies.  

    "I've been there, heard that, seen that.  Who cares anymore."

  •  While I'd be the last person to ever point it out, (0+ / 0-)

    I just can't seem to get Flock of Seagulls Trey Gowdy's hair out of my head.

    Know that $20 I owe you? Well, since money equals speech, then speech, of course, must equal money. C'mere and I'll read you the Tao Te Ching.

    by thenekkidtruth on Mon May 19, 2014 at 07:03:36 PM PDT

  •  When an objectively-demonstrable (0+ / 0-)

    asshole also looks like one, all the bases are covered.

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