Wednesday, December 3, 2008

So why did Bill Richardson really adios his beard?

This morning, President-Elect Barack Obama officially nominated Bill Richardson, currently the Governor of New Mexico, to be the Secretary of Commerce, during a press conference. (Btw, I believe Barack Obama has now held more press conferences as President Elect than George W. Bush did as President.)

I will not re-hash Richardson's credentials or past experience here, both of which are quite impressive. (You can click on the above link, to his Wikipedia entry, if you care to know.) I will also not focus on his being the first prominent Hispanic (Richardson's mother is Mexican) to be chosen for a Cabinet position in the Obama administration, nor the fact that Richardson gave his Secretary of Commerce nomination acceptance speech in both English and Spanish (even though interestingly the latter was not a direct translation of the former, according to a Spanish-speaking reporter covering the event).

No. What I want to know is, What is the real reason Richardson shaved off (or for my bilingual readers, adiosed) his beard?

For those of you who didn't watch this morning's press conference, the last reporter Obama called on, in addition to asking the President Elect about TARP (the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the first tranch of which is pretty much gone), asked Secretary of Commerce-Elect Bill Richardson why he had decided to shave his beard. Good question -- and one which Obama did not allow Richardson to answer himself.

Instead, President-Elect Obama announced he would be taking that question -- and defended the beard, saying it made Richardson look more "rugged" and "Western" (which, we were to assume, are good things). He then suggested that it was Richardson's wife (sure, go ahead and blame the wife) who forced Richardson to shave his chin hair, because she found it too scratchy when she kissed him. A likely story, sir.

I thought that the President Elect would then turn over the beard issue to Richardson to handle, but he did not. Instead he called an abrupt end to the press conference and escorted his Secretary of Commerce Elect off the stage -- leading me (and no doubt others) to believe that perhaps it was the President Elect who forced Richardson to shave his beard. Could this be the first cover-up of the Obama administration?

And speaking of the Obama administration, or rather the Obama fundraising/transition team (yes, I'm talking to you David Plouffe and you John Podesta), I still have not received my limited-edition Obama-Biden victory t-shirt, which I was PROMISED for donating $$$ to the Democratic National Committee just after Obama won the election. Could this be one of many broken promises we are to expect from this administration? I am deeply concerned (and would also really like my t-shirt -- and to know why Richardson shaved his beard).

UPDATED 1:26 P.M.: Also be sure to check out "Bill Richardson's Missing Beard" on the Huffington Post, which includes video footage of the question and answer from the press conference as well as a poll re whether you miss the beard. (When I just checked, and voted, more than 85 percent of voters missed the beard.)


Dave S. said...

Given that we are discussing a beard removal it's actually more of an uncover-up.

TommyMac71 said...

I would venture this guess:

He grew the beard to make sure nobody was confused that Jimmy Smits was running for president (we've already seen that) or was a guest star on Barack's reality show.

Now that Obama has been elected, it is safe to assume his "real" look.

J. said...

I actually thought about writing "uncover-up," Dave, but figured I'd leave the witticism to someone else. Thank you.

As for your comment, Tommy, I think the beard was the "real" Bill, and I will miss it.

GSA said...

Love this blog! Your account of Obama’s handling of the situation is hilarious. I assume you will let your readers know if more information on the reason comes to light. About the missing t-shirt: the manufacturers have probably been so overwhelmed with orders that they’ve fallen behind. This must be one of the few companies that isn’t suffering from the recession.

Two Dogs said...

I think that Barry made Bill shave it because the beard tickled Barry's butt every time that Bill kissed it.

Mosihie the math student said...

I just hope -- since Richardson has been made COMMERCE secretary -- that the man can count. I mean, I heard a rumor that once, whilst he was in algebra class, that a rubber band pistol was confiscated from him because the teacher thought it was a weapon of math disruption.

Former Beardo said...

I buy the kissability angle. I was formerly bearded until the wife and daughter protested enough move me to babyfaceness. However, in spite of significant improvement to the modern shaving apparatus (the Gillette Fusion is by far the best shave this man has ever gotten), shaving is a drag.

So to you Mr. Clean Shaven New Commerce Secretary I say, once you're confirmed, let those facial hairs grow!

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