Eliot Spitzer is in makeover mode, trying to pick up and dust off people he’s steamrolled and humbly allowing, in a semi-self-critical speech last week, that “righteousness can become self-righteousness.” But with his administration mired in a scandal over Spitzer’s top aides’ using the state police to snoop on Republican State Senate honcho Joe Bruno, many of his political goals could remain out of reach, including winning the two seats he needs to make the Senate Democratic (and silence Bruno). Now Dem operatives worry that Spitzer’s stiff self-presentation—pinstripe suit, tab collar, uptight four-in-hand knotted tie, white starched shirt, black lace-up shoes—isn’t helping. With that in mind, we asked three experts what steps would be necessary to turn the governor into what he’s never really been: a good old-fashioned backslapping politician.
Paul Labrecque, hairdresser
He has a very suburban, middle-of-the-road, balding man’s haircut. When you’re balding at the top and you leave the sides full, you make the top look worse. So I would take the sides in shorter and give him a hipper, shorter look. Like Matt Lauer’s (1). I would also entrust him to my cosmetic dermatologist. There are different things you would want to do to make his appearance a little bit softer. You could take his ears in a little bit, and remove some weight from the top of his eyes (2). He has very heavy eyelids. He’s probably keeping his hair long because he has larger ears. When you have larger ears, it’s a little bit hard.
Hank Sheinkopf, Democratic strategist
Eliot needs to become the very thing he eschews in order to be successful: a political boss. The Republicans are going to try to paint this as a class-conflict issue: upstate blue-collar boxer versus tennis-playing rich boy. I’d start eating Polish omelettes in Buffalo and go out and have a couple of frankfurters in Brooklyn until his stomach gets bloated (3). The tennis whites—he’s gotta burn them. Give him a pinkie ring. A cigar (4). Cowboy boots, that works really well (5). Jeans (6). NASCAR; he likes that (7). A set of golf clubs (8). A cup of coffee would be great, because most of these guys make their deals over coffee. And you need some cash coming out of his pockets (9). He should have a thing over his head that says, I NEED TO GIVE MORE LOYAL DEMOCRATS JOBS!
David Barton, gym owner
He’s a little thin in the legs. He should rock the legs more. Bigger legs, rounder butt (10). He used to work out at my gym. Having seen him train, I can safely say he could kick Joe Bruno’s ass! They say he’s this spoiled kid from a real-estate family, but Spitzer’s, like, no joke. He’d get there in the morning—he was running the treadmill, pumping iron. You gotta see him without his clothes. He looks better naked. Personality? Who cares about his personality?
With Aja Mangum