A teeny bopper’s guide to the primaries

By Phoebe Maltz

Disillusioned by a blur of Democrats? Look again—there are some crucial differences among the candidates. Seriously, take a close look.

As of this evening, the candidates are, in order of teeny-bopper acceptability: John Edwards, Wesley Clark, Howard Dean, Joe Lieberman, John Kerry, Al Sharpton, and Dennis Kucinich. They may all think similar or different enough things about issues that overly-serious voters care about, like taxes and which people we should bomb and stuff. But what really counts is which candidate will make people in other countries think, “gee, Americans aren’t that ugly, after all!” So here’s a guide to which potential president is most likely to make even the most avowed anti-Americans swoon. While I have still not abandoned hope that Rufus Wainwright will run for office, I have nevertheless decided to rate the actual candidates. This is supposed to be a voting guide, after all.

John Edwards He’s been called pretty and been accused of looking too young to be taken seriously. Now, Bush may have his good points, but he’s not pretty. In a world of Ashton Kutchers and Justin Timberlakes, we have grown to accept that leading men ought to be pretty. Why not extend that principle to the White House?

Wesley Clark Sharp-featured and known to sport a uniform, he’s a whole lot less mushy-looking than most candidates for office. He looks like he’d be kind of buff, or something, after leading the troops back in the day. That’s got to be more of a workout than, say, rolling up one’s sleeves before an ever-shrinking fan base. Which leads us to

Howard Dean Pictures of a young and buff Dean have been floating around the Internet lately. Unfortunately, while I believe they are of the same man who is currently running for office on the burnt-out populist rock star ticket, he has not aged well. He still looks slightly better than average for a middle-aged prepster, but he is no hottie. People apparently hook up at his events, which could make him hot by association, thus placing him oh-so-slightly ahead of Lieberman in these rankings.

Joe Lieberman You know the guy in high school who was really active in student government, headed the debate team, and ran the paper? The one who made you feel like a slacker for spending your afternoons watching Designing Women on Lifetime while eating Baked Lays, taking the occasional break to stare at an especially interesting wall? I’ve heard that some people find that kind of guy attractive.

John Kerry Tall, has hair, no extra limbs, noses, or anything to speak of. Otherwise, he looks like one more inbred member of the British royal family. In some pictures he looks OK, in others not so much. Kerry is the first of the candidates whose looks fall short of the incumbent. If you can’t beat Bush on that front, now might be the time to give up.

Al Sharpton He seems to take good care of himself. A little chunky, though, making him a less-than-ideal teen idol.

Dennis Kucinich Something’s a bit off with this one. Imagine the shock of seeing the pictures of all presidents in one’s history textbook: Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Kucinich. Maybe it’s the vegan thing—he doesn’t look like he’d have the energy required to take on anyone past the seventh grade. Not what you want in a heartthrob. Or a president.

Assuming, as I do, that this guide will be followed by the majority of the voting populace, you can rest assured that America will be looked upon for the next four to eight years in a more positive light than under our fit-but-not-pretty current leader. So when you cast your vote, cast it as though you were working for a male modeling agency. America’s future depends on it.