BRISBANE -- Mitt Romney has the November election nailed, not because he's wealthy and intimately acquainted with the dizzying possibilities of private-equity capitalism, but because he has a full head of hair.
Americans have elected presidents who have lost farms (Madison), clothing stores (Harry Truman) and wives (Fillmore) but they've given up on electing anyone foolhardy enough to lose their hair.
Romney's dark, Reaganesque quiff, rising confidently from the forehead and sweeping majestically across the vertex, also sprouts enough silver grey to convey a politically intoxicating message -- solid maturity firmly linked to youthful vigour.
Obama's hairline, on the other hand, appears to be in a slow retreat, meaning the great orator is irretrievably doomed to electoral oblivion and a lucrative lap around the international public-speaking circuit.
Such insightful political analysis from an Australian might surprise Canadians. But when it comes to American politics, we're as vigilant Down Under as you are Up Yonder.
The fact Americans won't elect a baldy (or, as witty Australians often quip, a nude nut) causes great discomfort in this country so closely linked economically and militarily with the global superpower.
Americans did elect Eisenhower, but that was before television kicked in. When JFK appeared hatless at his 1960 inauguration to better display that magnificent follicular symphony of chestnut brown, the game was up for the eggheads.
Ford was not elected and LBJ was not bald -- just receding -- while perfectly legitimate White House candidates like Rudy Giuliani have been ruthlessly weeded out purely, it would seem, because they're not blessed with a Clinton-like coiffure.
Australians are not given to elaborate political conspiracy theories, seldom requesting multiple copies of their leaders' birth certificates or questioning the religious significance of the prime minister's middle name.
But this deliberate discrimination against the bald in a world of equal opportunity does test our normally trusting natures.
It's clearly some form of secret society, the hirsute equivalent of the Masonic handshake. …