The Speaker of the House will soon begin the process of swearing in new members of Congress. Nearly all these members have sacrificed a great deal to get to the halls of Congress. What’s come to be known as the permanent campaign, a term that dates to the Reagan years, takes its toll. There are the many days and nights on the trail spent away from family and friends, the rigors of actual campaigning door-to-door, mastering the new art of doing it virtually, the never-ending fundraising, the need to deal with a generally adversarial media, not to mention the personal toll of negative campaigns. It’s a wonder that so many people are willing to do it at all. Yet every two years, thousands file the paperwork to throw their hats in the proverbial ring. According to Ballotpedia, as of September 2020, 3,263 candidates had filed paperwork with the FEC to run for the House, up slightly from the number in 2018.
Pollsters began exploring Americans’ interest in pursuing politics as a career in 1943 when NORC asked the first question about it. In 1945, when Gallup’s trend begins, 21% said they would want their son to choose politics as a life’s work. The pollsters only asked about sons at that time. The question was asked six more times before 1993 when Gallup asked about daughters for the first time. In 1993, 33% said they would want a daughter to choose politics and 32% in a separate question, a son. The last time Gallup posed the question in 2013, identical percentages (31%) indicated they would want a son or daughter to choose politics as a profession.
This year, the American Family Survey (AFS) posed the question differently from Gallup’s agree/disagree formulation. The online AFS gave people the option to choose “neither agree nor disagree.” Once again the responses for sons and daughter were virtually identical. Only 12% in this formulation agreed they would want a son to choose politics, 25% were ambivalent, and 62% disagreed (including 49% who disagreed strongly). For daughters, the responses were 11, 29, and 61%, respectively (and again, 49% disagreed strongly). We can’t know how people would have answered the question had identical wording been used in the Gallup and AFS questions, but it is a safe bet that a political career isn’t very popular.
A different question in the AFS this year asked people to agree or disagree with the statements “I think my son/daughter could become president.” People were more positive about this question than the other AFS question above. Still, only 27% indicated they thought their son could become president and 28% a daughter.
In 1943, NORC followed up its question by asking people why they felt so negatively about politics as a life’s work. NORC reported, “The reasons given center chiefly around the graft and dishonesty often associated with politics, as well as the insecurity of a political life.” That year when NORC asked people to agree or disagree with this statement: “It has been said that it is almost impossible for a man to stay honest if he goes into politics,” 48% agreed, while 42% disagreed. When Opinion Dynamics/Fox News asked a similar question 50 years later, 55% agreed that people who go into politics cannot remain honest.
This December, Gallup updated its battery of questions on the honesty and ethical standards of various professions. Members of Congress ranked at the bottom along with car salespeople. Only 8% said members had very high or high honesty and ethical standards. Eighty-nine percent gave that response about nurses. More than seven in ten gave grade school teachers, MDs, and pharmacists the highest marks. The association of politics with corruption is long-standing, but when the president pardons three former members of Congress, one of whom pled guilty to the misuse of campaign funds, another to securities fraud, and a third of misusing charitable contributions, the public is reminded of their long-held feelings. Trump isn’t the first president to pardon people convicted of serious wrongdoing, and thus far he has pardoned fewer people than his recent predecessors.
The widespread charge of corruption is no doubt unfair to the thousands who seek the office to pursue what they believe is a noble cause to serve the nation, but it is hard to remove a stain that has been embedded in the fabric of politics so long.
Newfoundland ex-pat makes waves pairing politicians with their cartoon doubles – TheChronicleHerald.ca
An effort to shake off some homesickness led Adam DuBourdieu to mix pop culture and provincial politics — namely, taking politicians involved in this election and matching them with their visual counterparts on “The Simpsons.”
Originally from Kippens on the province’s west coast, DuBourdieu, 30, moved to Edmonton, Alta., just before the COVID-19 pandemic set in.
As with many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, he experienced homesickness in the months that followed the move.
A keen follower of local politics when living in the province, DuBourdieu set about combatting his traveller’s lament by having some fun with the upcoming provincial election.
Combining his love for “The Simpsons” and politics, he matched the politicians running in the election with the Simpsons character he saw as their cartoon counterparts.
“I always loved watching ‘The Simpsons,’” DuBourdieu. “I watched it with my dad.”
Some matchups were tough, while others were easy fits, such as the NDP’s Jim Dinn, a former schoolteacher, and his match with Principal Skinner.
“You can’t take yourself too seriously. Being a teacher, that’s par for the course,” Dinn said of that character match.
Dinn has seen the rather large social media thread containing the pictures.
He said that as a teacher, he learned long ago that you have to have a sense of humour, and it’s a lesson he’s taken with him to politics. Seeing the thread, he took it in good fun.
He said it could be worse. It could turn into a meme like a recent picture of United States Senator Bernie Sanders.
“Let’s have a laugh with it,” said Dinn. “It’s a good thing. It’s a bit of good fun.”
The result was a 47-part thread on Twitter filled with pictures of the politicians and their characters side by side. It is a mixture of retiring MHAs, incumbents and party leaders of all political stripes.
“The Simpsons” and politics have a bit of history. Across its 32 seasons, the show has mixed humour and politics.
The show seemingly predicted the start of the United States presidency of Donald J. Trump, and the Lisa Simpson presidency that followed him.
Coincidentally, Torngat Mountains MHA Lela Evans is paired with the presidential Lisa.
The relationship, however, between “The Simpsons” and the political arena doesn’t stop at a coincidental presidential prediction.
The show has often tackled topics of the day, such as same-sex marriage and gun control, and it has often been accused of having a liberal bias. Springfield’s Mayor Quimby is a regularly appearing character, and DuBourdieu saw him as a perfect match for Conception Bay East-Bell Island incumbent David Brazil.
Homer Simpson — coupled with Topsail-Paradise MHA Paul Dinn — once fought former U.S. president George H.W. Bush after the two became neighbours. Former U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford have also made cameo appearances on the show.
DuBourdieu tabbed Ford as the right match with Mount Pearl North MHA Jim Lester.
“Politics has always been in ‘The Simpsons,’ and Newfoundland politics has some characters,” said DuBourdieu.
Harbour Grace-Port de Grave MHA Pam Parsons knew at once who voiced Bart Simpsons’ former babysitter, Laura Powers.
“That’s the one where Darlene from Roseanne voiced the character. Sara Gilbert,” she said.
Like other children of the ’80s and early ’90s, Parsons grew up in the early years of “The Simpsons.” She saw the show move from animated shorts on “The Tracy Ullman Show” to a pop culture phenomenon on Fox.
“Growing up as a child, I certainly watched ‘The Simpsons.’ I loved Bart Simpson. I think we all did,” said Parsons. “I even had the little toys that McDonald’s was putting out.”
Parsons is one of 10 women featured in the long Twitter thread. Of the 10, nine are incumbent MHAs and their animated doppelgangers. The remaining one is Newfoundland and Labrador Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote.
She was paired with Springfield Elementary second-grade teacher Mrs. Hoover.
“I like that (Dubourdieu) was non-partisan,” said Parsons, who appreciated the comedic break it offered. “I got a good chuckle out of it.”
The response to the sizeable thread has been favourable online.
It was something that surprised DuBourdieu at first.
Since it went online, there have been dozens of interactions between politicians and the public. People have marvelled at how perfect some of the comparisons are, such as independent MHA Eddie Joyce being matched with oil tycoon Rich Texan.
“It is something people are familiar with,” DuBourdieu said about why he chose to use “The Simpsons” as a reference point.
Liberal candidate George Murphy tweeted that he thought of himself as the lovable barfly Barney Gumble instead of Police Chief Wiggum, the character he is attached to.
Other candidates, such as Progressive Conservative candidate Kristina Ennis and the NDP’s Jenn Deon, have expressed interest in being connected to their Simpsons doubles.
Lake Melville NDP candidate Amy Hogan even went ahead and did her own. It was Jerri Mackleberry, the mother of notable twins Sherri and Terri.
“I think I’m probably the twins, Sherri and Terri’s mom, Jerri. It’s is the purple hair and the glasses,” Hogan tweeted.
DuBourdieu pledged to do a third part of the thread if there is enough interest.
In the days since it was posted, a link to the thread made its way around the Progressive Conservative email chain.
“We got a good kick out of it,” said Conservative MHA Barry Petten. “You can’t help but laugh.”
The Conception Bay South representative readily admitted he wasn’t much of a Simpsons watcher and had little background on Superintendent Chalmers or why he was paired with him.
Still, Petten said he appreciated the work and the humour it brought to the election.
“It’s all good humour,” he said.
Looking back on the process and the result of his humourous entry into the Newfoundland and Labrador political scene, DuBourdieu has no regrets about piecing everything together.
Some comparisons were easy, while others required a bit more thought, he said, and he learned a little along the way, namely, how male-dominated this province’s legislature is.
As the province rolls toward the election on Feb. 13, DuBourdieu will watch from his home in Alberta.
In the meantime, he is glad he got to contribute to the run-up in some way.
“I’m glad I did it and I hope people get a good chuckle out of it,” said DuBourdieu.
Nicholas Mercer is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering central Newfoundland for SaltWire Network.
COVID, Politics Make Dry January Harder Than Ever – WebMD
Sarah Moran, Chicago.
Denise Hien, PhD, director, Center of Alcohol and Substance Use Studies, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ.
Carl Hart, PhD, Ziff professor of psychology, Columbia University, New York City.
Angela Voulangas, Brooklyn, NY.
Aaron Ahearn, Southern California.
Twitter: @RepBrendanBoyle, Jan. 8, 2021; @zachbraff, Jan. 12, 2021; @007, Jan. 8, 2021.
Politics Briefing: Trudeau says appointment of Payette was 'rigorous' – The Globe and Mail
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government will take another look at its process for nominating governors-general, in the wake of Julie Payette’s resignation last night.
Ms. Payette, an accomplished pilot and astronaut who took office in 2017, has had a rocky tenure and appeared to have struggled with the public demands of the office. An independent investigation of her office, which the government ordered last year and received this week, appeared to validate concerns of harassment in the workplace.
Mr. Trudeau was asked at his midday news conference whether Ms. Payette should have been vetted more carefully for the job, given she had earlier left a position at the Montreal Science Centre in a similar cloud.
“For all high-level appointments, there is a rigorous vetting process that was followed in this case,” Mr. Trudeau told reporters. “Obviously we will continue to look at that vetting process to ensure that it is the best possible process as we move forward.”
This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.
The drop in Pfizer-made COVID-19 vaccine doses coming to Canada is set to worsen, but the pharmaceutical company insists it can still catch up by the end of this quarter.
Newly released documents show that a Montreal manufacturer that won a $282.5-million contract to make ventilators last year produced machines that initially had serious problems that caused delays to delivering on time. The case illustrates the challenges associated with companies that pivoted in the early months of the pandemic to make medical technology that they had not previously made.
The U.S. Senate will receive the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump on Monday.
And here is your weekend reading: Power Gap, a new Globe and Mail series by investigative journalists Robyn Doolittle and Chen Wang that gives a data-driven examination of how and why so many women are held back from positions of power and prestige in the workplace. While so much attention is paid to women in the top-most positions, the series explains how the real issues are at all levels – particularly middle management.
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on the original appointment of Julie Payette as governor-general: “Less than four years ago, she was Mr. Trudeau’s celebrity pick. A former astronaut, an accomplished woman, bilingual, someone who already had schools named after her. On the surface, she was the very image of the modern governor-general the still-newish Trudeau Liberals wanted. But we now know that proper vetting might have shown her temperament was ill suited for the job.”
John Fraser (The Globe and Mail) on changing the appointment process: “Whatever anyone thinks of Stephen Harper and his Conservative administration, it had developed a good system for searching out and vetting possible candidates for all the vice regal positions in Canada – the lieutenants-governor of the provinces, as well as the governor-general. It was rejected by the Trudeau PMO, although officials there liked the system well enough to adopt it for appointments they made to the new-style Senate.”
Shachi Kurl (Ottawa Citizen) on repairing the office’s public image: “In 2021, at a time when worries about being seen as too elitist have the Prime Minister himself too scared to fix the house in which he’s supposed to be living, and given that Payette herself refused to even reside at Rideau Hall, should a home and all its associated domestic trappings still come with the job? Would Canadians be better served if the whole building were opened up to them, as a gallery, or museum, or place of learning?”
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on Canada’s slow pace of vaccinations: ” Vaccinating as many people as we can isn’t just a matter of saving lives – although the faster we do it, the more lives we will save. It’s also a matter of some economic urgency. The country that emerges quickest from the pandemic, and from the curbs on activity most countries have adopted in response, will not only save that much more in lost GDP.”
Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on making lockdowns more targeted: “At this point in the pandemic, we should know better than to extend curfews to homeless people, close down skating rinks and issue fines to mothers in pursuit of childcare.”
Bria Hamilton (The Globe and Mail) on why the healthcare system needs to build more trust with Black Canadians: “My grandmother, my mother and I have all had extremely negative experiences with Canadian medical care. The most atrocious story was the removal of my grandmother’s uterus without her permission during unrelated surgery.”
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