They are Delaware's two U.S. senators. Apparently the former recently had a hair transplant. Apparently the latter wears a rug. If so, Delaware is, I believe, the only state ever represented in the Senate by such cosmetically misleading a pair.
A few years ago I asked Senator Roth's office whether he wore a toupee. This was widely assumed because the top of his head was artificial looking. "No comment," was the response, so I tried an informed source in Wilmington, who informed me that a close study of old photographs of Senator Roth clearly showed that he had less hair year by year in the 1960s. A pompadour sprang full-grown from his brow in his 1970 Senate campaign.
Watching Senator Biden on C-SPAN recently, I thought he had a different look than I remembered from the Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991. Not exactly unbald, but less bald. I called my informed source in Wilmington who said yes, the senator appeared to have more hair than before, but since when and how were unknown.
I called Senator Biden's office. I asked his press secretary whether the senator had had a hair transplant. "He's actually combing it differently," he said, evasively.
I persisted. He said that only the senator was authorized to answer the question. I said, please relay my request for an answer. He said he would. I said, do you think he'll respond? He said, he hasn't responded to anyone else on that.
Why am I going into all this? Because I am thinking of retiring to Delaware before long, and I have often thought of a second career in politics. After 40 years of political journalism, I'd like to see if I can take a cheap shot as well I can dish one out.
But I myself am hirsutically challenged. Does this mean I have no political future in Delaware unless I get that taken care of?
I could go to Wyoming, where men are men and not ashamed of having a magnificent head of skin.
Sen. Alan Simpson is bald. Sen. Malcolm Wallop is bald. Gov. Michael Sullivan is bald. So is Wyoming's favorite son, former representative, former secretary of defense, and, perhaps, (he was in New Hampshire last week) the next president, Dick Cheney.
I think Cheney would get the bald vote regardless of party. It has been a long time since we had a candidate of our own to vote for. In 1972 George McGovern was balding, but he disguised it with clever brushing. Joe Biden himself was close to bald in 1988, but he dropped out of the presidential race early.
You have to go back four decades to get the real thing: Both major party nominees in not one but two elections were truly bald: Adlai Stevenson and Dwight Eisenhower ran against each other in 1952 and 1956.
That's one reason there is so much nostalgia for the Fifties today.