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editorial

Tattoos: An R on the brain

Talk about losing face. Many Mitt Romney supporters were disappointed by this month’s election results. But 30-year-old Eric Hartsburg, an Indiana man who had the Romney-Ryan campaign logo tattooed across his right temple, faces an especially long hangover.

Hartsburg, a professional wrestler, raised $15,000 online for the red-and-blue ink. In a post-election interview with ABC News, he expressed no regrets. “I am not an idiot,” he said. “Getting the tattoo was a decision that I made, and I am cool with.”

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Diehard supporters like Hartsburg and Jim Wilson, the Virginia military veteran who attracted major media attention by trailing the Romney campaign Deadhead-style in his pickup truck, stuck out this fall precisely because they were so rare. Whatever Romney’s merits, he lacked the kind of charisma that would ordinarily lead fans to the tattoo parlor. But the decorative R logo, like the letter itself, may have had a mythic appeal to many conservatives: Romney, Ryan, Republican, Ronald Reagan.

Still, when passions heat up in the next election, Hartsburg’s tattoo ought to be cited as a cautionary tale: In the heat of a campaign, you shouldn’t lose your head.

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