The Part Hair Plays

by Jon Rodriguez

I am not the first to write about the importance of the hair part. I’m not even the first to write about its significance in politics. There are examples here and here of others who recognize the importance of the hair part. But I believe I am the first to apply it’s theory to the first president who literally cannot part his hair.

I realize that this blog has been very micro-oriented so far which is surprising, as I consider myself a big-picture person. But do not get lost in the details on which this post is focused. It all contributes to the larger realm of everyday politics.

According to “research”, it has been determined that politicians are perceived as better leaders when they part their hair on the left side.  The theory also works in the opposite fashion –weaker leaders part their hair on the right side. (Someone tell that to the Reaganites.) The theory also suggests that the side of the part conveys a dominance in that hemisphere of the brain.

Carter is the primary example used by most to describe the hair part theory.


During the first half of his presidency, Carter parted his hair on the right side or the “weak” side. His first major public appearance with his hair parted on the strong side came in his “Malaise” speech. Though it is and was extremely hard to find inspiration in any part of his time in office, this speech, or more likely his hair part, temporarily increased his approval rating significantly. Two days later he would fire his entire cabinet and lose all of the ground he had gained through his hair part.

In the past, there has been extensive writing on the way a certain political figure parts their hair, most notably the sitting President. This leads to a unique question: if we are to assume that, according to research, those who part their hair on the right side are right-brain oriented and those who part their hair on the left side are left-brain dominant, what are we to assume about those who cannot part their hair at all? (I’m looking at you, Barack.) It doesn’t stop there. Plenty of Presidents didn’t part their hair due to the fact that it wasn’t fashionable in their time.

Martin Van Buren and Eisenhower were bald, Taft and Teddy parted their hair down the middle, and the first six presidents primarily wore wigs.

Van Buren

Though this entire blog may be one elaborate red herring to pull the focus of politics from the issues toward the unessential, I write this to emphasize that politicians ought not to be judged by the part of their hair but by the content of their character. I’m sure MLK is rolling in his grave after that one.

There is a time and place for everything, including fashion oriented political commentary. Learning to distinguish the appropriate time and place to discuss the true issues of politics and knowing when to make fun of Ron Paul’s shoes is essential to coming of age in today’s political atmosphere without being bogged down by its banality and corruption.

What I am reading about today: The Business Cycle