Heads up, Washington Gov. Inslee, or 'hairgate' scandal may take you down

Heads up, Washington Gov. Inslee, or 'hairgate' scandal may take you down

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Editor’s note: Today’s guest editorial originally appeared in The (Tacoma) News Tribune. Editorial content from other publications and authors is provided to give readers a sampling of regional and national opinion and does not necessarily reflect positions endorsed by the Editorial Board of The Daily News.

Call it “hairgate,” “scissorsgate,” or whatever catchphrase gets the most buzz. By any name, the mystery and fabricated scandal surrounding Washington’s well-coiffed governor has become the most absurd — and admittedly most entertaining — sideshow of our coronavirus lockdown.

Gov. Jay Inslee says that First Lady Trudi is keeping his hair trimmed, just like when they were poor newlyweds in the early ‘70s. Special pandemic grooming privileges for this man of the people? Certainly not! Getting a professional hairdo right now would be a colossal hair don’t.

And yet an army of skeptics, stirred up by Inslee badgerer Tim Eyman and including several out-of-work, “non-essential” hair care pros, isn’t buying it — especially after Inslee tweeted a photo of Trudi holding a pair of scissors the wrong way. The idea that this amateur could keep her hubby’s hair looking good? Shear lunacy!

The barbering brouhaha may never be settled unless the Inslees go on camera —livestreamed, with no gimmicks or stunt doubles —for a family haircut.

Are you listening, governor? Washingtonians are running out of shows to watch on Netflix, and some of us could use a few clip tips.

Welcome to silly season 2020, pandemic edition. It gives Eyman, the (cough, cough) leading Republican challenger in this year’s gubernatorial election, a platform to do what Eyman does best: Taunt, play to the crowd, beg for money and make unsubstantiated claims of wrongdoing while deflecting attention from his own.

Give the man credit, he’s a gifted showman and his comedy stylings provide a bit of relief during incredibly trying times. But as a plausible governor candidate, he doesn’t make the cut.

Next week is election filing week for the state of Washington. Is it too much to hope that a serious Republican candidate will fall from the sky before it’s over?

Judging by the primary field so far, it appears Republicans are all but resigned to giving Inslee four more years and continuing a GOP winless streak that dates to the end of John Spellman’s term in 1984.

Unless, of course, this hair-raising controversy cuts Inslee down to size and causes a razor-thin margin heading toward Election Day.

We thought perhaps Eyman had the goods on the governor this week; he promised a big Tuesday morning Facebook reveal: “the truth about Jay Inslee’s haircuts.”

Would there be visual evidence, as compelling and irrefutable as a modern-day Zapruder film, of Inslee seeing a barber while the rest of us continue to sacrifice our constitutional right to professional grooming?

Did Eyman obtain photos of Inslee in flagrante delicto, like the Texas mayor who was recently caught violating her state’s stay-home order to visit a nail salon?

Would this be the highest-level haircut scandal since 1993, when President Bill Clinton sat for his personal stylist inside Air Force One, idling on the Los Angeles International Airport tarmac while allegedly (but not really) holding up air traffic?

Alas, Tuesday’s reveal was just another Eyman con job — nothing more than a rehash of tweets by people speculating that Inslee must be hiding something under that sleek head of hair.

“BTW Trudi doesn’t even seem to have any idea how to hold those hair shears ... seems like an obvious lie to me,” said one.

“Hey Jay might wanna do your research next time you stage a photo,” said another.

That Eyman is reduced to grabbing at haircuts, rather than going for the jugular, isn’t too surprising. Inslee has largely won positive reviews for his management of Washington’s COVID-19 outbreak. In a recent statewide Crosscut/Elway poll, 75 percent of respondents gave him either a good or satisfactory score, the highest ratings; that compares to 46 percent for Congress and 42 percent for President Trump.

Granted, the poll was taken more than two weeks ago, and opinions are fluid. As the economy craters and jobless claims skyrocket, many people are growing understandably impatient with Inslee’s stay-home order, which he just extended at least to the end of May.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: A third term is a rare trophy, and Inslee shouldn’t get it without a fight. Washingtonians need a competitive governor’s race in 2020.

Even more than they need a haircut.


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