You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.
~~attributed to Abraham Lincoln

A lot of the people seem to be catching on.

Today the Washington Post ran another Edwards "hair" story--but this time the cumulative damage strikes me as edging toward lethal.

Following up on the original $400 haircut, Post staff writer John Solomon reports:

"Beverly Hills hairstylist, [Joseph Torrenueva] a Democrat...has cut Edwards's hair at least 16 times."

Evidently, the stylist met the candidate at a fashion summit back in 2003, which brought "several fashion experts together to advise the candidate on his appearance." According to the story, Edwards and Torrenueva "hit it off" and began a mutually satisfying business relationship.

Over the course of the next four years, the stylist made arrangements to meet the candidate in various locales all over the country, charging as much as $1250 for his services (full story here).

Why is this a big deal?

Initially, back in May when the $400-haircut story broke, the Edwards camp tried to laugh it off as an oddity. Edwards had stumbled in for a haircut somewhere; he didn't know the price; someone on his staff paid. Embarrassing but harmless. A country boy in the big city taken for a ride by some fella in Beverly Hills. It was almost endearing.

But, evidently, that was not the case. Sixteen haircuts. Warm relationship. The celebrated four-hundred-dollar bill was on the cheap side.

This story digs at the festering concern that something about Edwards is not quite right. There is the vanity issue. Rush famously labeled him the "Breck girl" years ago, which the ubiquitous YouTube classic (here) so humorously reinforces. There is the the question of hypocrisy: he poses as a populist everyman but acts like a high-rolling dandy. And, perhaps even more damning, this revelation also speaks to the issue of basic integrity. Either he tells the truth--or he doesn't. In other words, if he lies about his hairdresser, can we trust him to tell us the truth on matters of state.

Even worse news for Edwards:

The other revealing part of this story is the lack of cover accorded Edwards from the mainstream media, historically friendly to Democratic politicians.

As Robert Novak wrote a month ago:

"Edwards now is massively unpopular among party regulars, who neither like nor trust him." According to Novak, the "Democratic establishment" is convinced that an Edwards nomination would mean a "catastrophe" in the general election (full Novak column here).

Perhaps that explains the "unfriendly" press coverage from unlikely places such as the Washington Post and ABC News (George Stephanopoulos made note of the flap this morning on GMA). This is not exactly the George Allen treatment, but when the Washington Post starts sending real reporters to investigate your hairdresser, you are in for a long and bumpy ride.

This race is taking shape, and Edwards certainly looks like the odd man out.

Other Bosque Boys thoughts on Campaign 2008 here.

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