THE HAIRCUT….As you know, unless you’ve been vacationing on Mars, John Edwards recently got a couple of $400 haircuts and the media has been all abuzz about it ever since. There appear to be basically four different schools of thought about this in the liberal blogosphere:
Edwards is an idiot. He knows perfectly well that a $400 haircut is exactly the kind of dimwit story our modern media loves to pile on. He never should have put himself in this position. See, e.g., Ezra and Garance.
It’s not Edwards’s fault. If he gets an expensive haircut he’s a sissy. If he gets a cheap haircut he’s pretending to be a working stiff when everyone knows he’s not. He’s screwed no matter what, so he might as well get any haircut he wants. See, e.g., Matt Yglesias.
Maureen Dowd is an unbearable prig and should be banished from American journalism. See, e.g., Paul Waldman.
Edwards did the right thing but then blew it. He should have taken a page out of Karl Rove’s handbook and turned the $400 haircut into an attack on Republicans. See, e.g., Gar Lipow.
#1 is a pretty defensible observation, and certainly Edwards should have been smart enough to pay for the haircut himself instead of charging it to the campaign, where it becomes a matter of public record. #2 is basically the Bob Somerby worldview and has much to recommend it. #3 pretty much goes without saying.
In the end, though, I vote for #4. Gar Lipow makes a very persuasive case. And as long as we’re on the subject, be sure to read Neil’s explanation of why Edwards spent all this money. Just, you know, so you know.