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The top story in Colorado politics in 2020 — and what to expect in 2021 – The Colorado Sun

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If you enjoy politics, 2020 didn’t disappoint. And if you don’t, it probably left your head spinning.

The year started with talk about the impeachment of President Donald Trump, the Democratic presidential primary and the battle for a U.S. Senate seat in Colorado. Then, the pandemic quickly upended the political landscape — and the conversation.

The politics of public health soon came to dominate the discussion in top-of-the-ticket races and at the state Capitol, where Gov. Jared Polis and other Democratic leaders found themselves confronting a once-in-a-generation challenge a year after assuming complete control in Colorado.

To look back on the big political stories in 2020, The Colorado Sun reached out to experts and readers for their thoughts on the year in politics — and what to expect in the new year. More than three dozen answered the annual survey. Here’s a look at the results.

The top story in Colorado politics in 2020

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis delivers an address from the governor’s mansion in Denver on April 6, 2020. Polis said then that the state of Colorado would extend a statewide stay-at-home order from April 11 through April 26 due to coronavirus. (Pool photo by AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post)

The state’s response to COVID-19 emerged as the top story in Colorado politics — but it had stiff competition.

Colorado’s governor made himself the face of the state’s response to the pandemic, and it didn’t take long for the public health crisis to become a political one.

COVID-19 IN COLORADO

The latest from the coronavirus outbreak in Colorado:

  • LIVE BLOG: The latest on closures, restrictions and other major updates.
  • MAP: Cases and deaths in Colorado.
  • TESTING: Here’s where to find a community testing site. The state is now encouraging anyone with symptoms to get tested.
  • STORY: Coloradans have been giving generously during coronavirus. But some nonprofits worry it won’t be enough.

>> FULL COVERAGE

Polis won early praise for his response, but big questions and criticism from Republicans began to mount. His delayed — and politically difficult — decisions to issue a lockdown order and mask mandate marked big moments, as did his presidential-style statewide address at the start.

Polis became the chief promoter of social distancing and masks, even appearing in television commercials, but COVID-19 became all too real for him at the end of the year when he and his partner contracted the virus. His partner, Marlon Reis, experienced complications that led the governor to drive him to the hospital in early December.

Democratic challenger and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper participate in the final debate with Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner in the 2020 race for Colorado’s U.S. Senate seat at Colorado State University in Fort Collins on Oct. 13, 2020. (Bethany Baker, The Coloradoan/Pool photo)

The runner-up: John Hickenlooper’s win in the U.S. Senate race. 

All the attention on COVID-19 didn’t distract from Hickenlooper’s big win over U.S. Sen Cory Gardner, who was once hailed as the future of the Republican Party. The political winds in Colorado foreshadowed the former Democratic governor’s victory, and at the end, the race wasn’t even close.

The other big storylines included Republican Lauren Boebert’s upset win over U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton in the party primary and her victory in November over Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush. The presidential election consumed all the attention at the national level, but finished more distant in the minds of Colorado political watchers.

MORE: How the Cardboard Cory protest in Colorado helped Democrats defeat Gardner in the U.S. Senate race

The predictions for biggest political story in 2021

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signs the state’s budget into law on June 23, 2020, while surrounded by Democratic members of the Joint Budget Committee. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

Looking ahead to 2021, the coronavirus remains front of mind for political observers. But the survey found the top story to watch in the new year is the state budget.

Each year, Colorado lawmakers wrestle with a series of competing priorities when it comes to spending the roughly $11 billion in discretionary money available. But it’s even more difficult now amid the pandemic and dire needs across the state.

MORE: Colorado’s fiscal future looks brighter. Now lawmakers must decide how to spend the unexpected windfall.

Sara Chatfield, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Denver, put it succinctly. She says the challenges include “how to balance the budget given what will likely be limited federal support.”

Right now, the fiscal picture doesn’t look too dismal. But tough decisions loom as the lawmakers crafting the annual budget decide how to allocate money to three key areas:

  • Restoring money to programs that took deep cuts in the current fiscal year
  • Accommodating growth in demand for state services amid an uncertain outlook
  • Demands for major government spending to stimulate the local economy

The governor is pushing for the later. He put forward a $1.3 billion stimulus package he says will create 10,000 to 15,000 jobs.

The sign at the movie theater in downtown Greeley on April 24, 2020, which closed amid the coronavirus outbreak. (John Frank, The Colorado Sun)

The runner-up: The state’s recovery from the pandemic. 

The coronavirus won’t disappear overnight, and the state has months to go when it comes to addressing the crisis, not to mention a years-long recovery. So how the Polis administration manages the pandemic response in the next year is something many are watching.

MORE: Colorado isn’t changing its vaccine priority plan for now, despite new federal recommendations

The other topics expected to make big headlines in the new year include the rollout of the vaccine in Colorado, the debut of the state’s new redistricting commissions and the battle for the soul of the Republican Party, which elects a new chairman after suffering major losses in the prior two elections.

The name to watch in Colorado politics in 2021

Lauren Boebert, right, won Colorado’s 3rd District election in November 2020. Ahead of the election, she attended a rally and took a selfie with Mike Pinnt in Grand Junction on Nov. 2, 2020. (Barton Glasser, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Lauren Boebert is quickly becoming the face of the Republican Party in Colorado, and she’s the one that political observers are watching in 2021.

The first-time candidate and gun-slinging restaurant owner managed to defeat a decade-long incumbent in the GOP primary by running as a more Trumpian conservative. In the general election, she fended off national Democratic attacks and major questions about her prior remarks about the Qanon conspiracy theory to win the 3rd Congressional District seat.

MORE: 3 numbers that explain Republican Lauren Boebert’s victory in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District

Democrats are even speculating about whether she will run for U.S. Senate against Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet. “She’s shown that she has strong support from the base and would be a frontrunner to win the Republican primary if she wants it,” says Dan Baer, a former Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.

Even as a newcomer, she is now the most notable Republican in the state party and her allegiance to Trump and brand of bomb-throwing politics are sure to set the tone for the next year.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, left, makes a few remarks to the media as he watches Gina Harper, clinical coordinator with pharmacy, reconstitute a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine before it is administered to the first patients in Colorado at UC Health Poudre Valley Hospital on Dec. 14, 2020 in Fort Collins. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post, Pool)

The runner-up: Jared Polis

The Democratic governor will confront two challenges simultaneously starting in 2021 — the continued fallout from the coronavirus and his 2022 reelection bid. The twin pressures will keep his name in the headlines and the critics vocal

The other organizations and names to watch include the Democratic-led legislature as it navigates policy amid the pandemic and Hickenlooper, who will need to define his approach as an incoming U.S. senator.

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Scaramucci to Trump: 'Get out of politics and back to business' – Yahoo Canada Finance

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The Canadian Press

Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

LOS ANGELES — Larry King, the suspenders-sporting everyman whose broadcast interviews with world leaders, movie stars and ordinary Joes helped define American conversation for a half-century, died Saturday. He was 87. King died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Ora Media, the studio and network he co-founded, tweeted. No cause of death was given, but CNN reported Jan. 2 that King had been hospitalized for more than a week with COVID-19. His son Chance also confirmed King’s death, CNN reported. A longtime nationally syndicated radio host, from 1985 through 2010 he was a nightly fixture on CNN, where he won many honours, including two Peabody awards. With his celebrity interviews, political debates and topical discussions, King wasn’t just an enduring on-air personality. He also set himself apart with the curiosity be brought to every interview, whether questioning the assault victim known as the Central Park jogger or billionaire industrialist Ross Perot, who in 1992 rocked the presidential contest by announcing his candidacy on King’s show. In its early years, “Larry King Live” was based in Washington, which gave the show an air of gravitas. Likewise King. He was the plainspoken go-between through whom Beltway bigwigs could reach their public, and they did, earning the show prestige as a place where things happened, where news was made. King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews. In 1995 he presided over a Middle East peace summit with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, King Hussein of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. He welcomed everyone from the Dalai Lama to Elizabeth Taylor, from Mikhail Gorbachev to Barack Obama, Bill Gates to Lady Gaga. Especially after he relocated to Los Angeles, his shows were frequently in the thick of breaking celebrity news, including Paris Hilton talking about her stint in jail in 2007 and Michael Jackson’s friends and family members talking about his death in 2009. King boasted of never overpreparing for an interview. His nonconfrontational style relaxed his guests and made him readily relatable to his audience. “I don’t pretend to know it all,” he said in a 1995 Associated Press interview. “Not, `What about Geneva or Cuba?’ I ask, `Mr. President, what don’t you like about this job?’ Or `What’s the biggest mistake you made?’ That’s fascinating.” At a time when CNN as the lone player in cable news was deemed politically neutral, and King was the essence of its middle-of-the-road stance, political figures and people at the centre of controversies would seek out his show. And he was known for getting guests who were notoriously elusive. Frank Sinatra, who rarely gave interviews and often lashed out at reporters, spoke to King in 1988 in what would be the singer’s last major TV appearance. Sinatra was an old friend of King’s and acted accordingly. “Why are you here?” King asks. Sinatra responds, “Because you asked me to come and I hadn’t seen you in a long time to begin with, I thought we ought to get together and chat, just talk about a lot of things.” King had never met Marlon Brando, who was even tougher to get and tougher to interview, when the acting giant asked to appear on King’s show in 1994. The two hit it off so famously they ended their 90-minute talk with a song and an on-the-mouth kiss, an image that was all over media in subsequent weeks. After a gala week marking his 25th anniversary in June 2010, King abruptly announced he was retiring from his show, telling viewers, “It’s time to hang up my nightly suspenders.” Named as his successor in the time slot: British journalist and TV personality Piers Morgan. By King’s departure that December, suspicion had grown that he had waited a little too long to hang up those suspenders. Once the leader in cable TV news, he ranked third in his time slot with less than half the nightly audience his peak year, 1998, when “Larry King Live” drew 1.64 million viewers. His wide-eyed, regular-guy approach to interviewing by then felt dated in an era of edgy, pushy or loaded questioning by other hosts. Meanwhile, occasional flubs had made him seem out of touch, or worse. A prime example from 2007 found King asking Jerry Seinfeld if he had voluntarily left his sitcom or been cancelled by his network, NBC. “I was the No. 1 show in television, Larry,” replied Seinfeld with a flabbergasted look. “Do you know who I am?” Always a workaholic, King would be back doing specials for CNN within a few months of performing his nightly duties. He found a new sort of celebrity as a plainspoken natural on Twitter when the platform emerged, winning over more than 2 million followers who simultaneously mocked and loved him for his esoteric style. “I’ve never been in a canoe. #Itsmy2cents,” he said in a typical tweet in 2015. His Twitter account was essentially a revival of a USA Today column he wrote for two decades full of one-off, disjointed thoughts. Norm Macdonald delivered a parody version of the column when he played King on “Saturday Night Live,” with deadpan lines like, “The more I think about it, the more I appreciate the equator.” King was constantly parodied, often through old-age jokes on late-night talk shows from hosts including David Letterman and Conan O’Brien, often appearing with the latter to get in on the roasting himself. King came by his voracious but no-frills manner honestly. He was born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger in 1933, a son of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who ran a bar and grill in Brooklyn. But after his father’s death when Larry was a boy, he faced a troubled, sometimes destitute youth. A fan of such radio stars as Arthur Godfrey and comedians Bob & Ray, King on reaching adulthood set his sights on a broadcasting career. With word that Miami was a good place to break in, he headed south in 1957 and landed a job sweeping floors at a tiny AM station. When a deejay abruptly quit, King was put on the air — and was handed his new surname by the station manager, who thought Zeiger “too Jewish.” A year later he moved to a larger station, where his duties were expanded from the usual patter to serving as host of a daily interview show that aired from a local restaurant. He quickly proved equally adept at talking to the waitresses, and the celebrities who began dropping by. By the early 1960s King had gone to yet a larger Miami station, scored a newspaper column and become a local celebrity himself. At the same time, he fell victim to living large. “It was important to me to come across as a ‘big man,”’ he wrote in his autobiography, which meant “I made a lot of money and spread it around lavishly.” He accumulated debts and his first broken marriages (he was married eight times to seven women). He gambled, borrowed wildly and failed to pay his taxes. He also became involved with a shady financier in a scheme to bankroll an investigation of President John Kennedy’s assassination. But when King skimmed some of the cash to pay his overdue taxes, his partner sued him for grand larceny in 1971. The charges were dropped, but King’s reputation appeared ruined. King lost his radio show and, for several years, struggled to find work. But by 1975 the scandal had largely blown over and a Miami station gave him another chance. Regaining his local popularity, King was signed in 1978 to host radio’s first nationwide call-in show. Originating from Washington on the Mutual network, “The Larry King Show” was eventually heard on more than 300 stations and made King a national phenomenon. A few years later, CNN founder Ted Turner offered King a slot on his young network. “Larry King Live” debuted on June 1, 1985, and became CNN’s highest-rated program. King’s beginning salary of $100,000 a year eventually grew to more than $7 million. A three-packs-a-day cigarette habit led to a heart attack in 1987, but King’s quintuple-bypass surgery didn’t slow him down. Meanwhile, he continued to prove that, in his words, “I’m not good at marriage, but I’m a great boyfriend.” He was just 18 when he married high school girlfriend Freda Miller, in 1952. The marriage lasted less than a year. In subsequent decades he would marry Annette Kay, Alene Akins (twice), Mickey Sutfin, Sharon Lepore and Julie Alexander. In 1997, he wed Shawn Southwick, a country singer and actress 26 years his junior. They would file for divorce in 2010, rescind the filing, then file for divorce again in 2019. The couple had two sons, King’s fourth and fifth kids, Chance Armstrong, born in 1999, and Cannon Edward, born in 2000. In 2020, King lost his two eldest children, Andy King and Chaia King, who died of unrelated health problems within weeks of each other. He had many other medical issues in recent decades, including more heart attacks and diagnoses of type 2 diabetes and lung cancer. Through his setbacks he continued to work into his late 80s, taking on online talk shows and infomercials as his appearances on CNN grew fewer. “Work,” King once said. “It’s the easiest thing I do.” Funeral arrangements and a memorial service will be announced later in co-ordination with the King family, “who ask for their privacy at this time,” according to the tweet from Ora Media. ___ Former AP Television Writer Frazier Moore contributed biographical material to this report. Andrew Dalton, The Associated Press

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How political symbolism brought down Keystone XL – CBC.ca

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The new president of the United States described his inauguration on Wednesday as a moment to move forward. But moving forward properly requires a reckoning with the past. In Joe Biden’s case, that reckoning came for the Keystone XL pipeline.

The project’s fate seemed to be sealed years ago, but it haunts us still. And now, with strident words from Alberta Premier Jason Kenney about a trade war, it could haunt Canadian politics indefinitely.

Or, Canadian leaders could decide that it’s time for them to move forward, too.

The executive order that rescinded Keystone XL’s permit on Wednesday states that “the United States must be in a position to exercise vigorous climate leadership in order to achieve a significant increase in global climate action and put the world on a sustainable climate pathway.”

If that sounds familiar, it’s because President Barack Obama said almost the same thing when he blocked Keystone in November 2015. “America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change,” Obama said. “And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.”

John Kerry — secretary of state in 2015 and now Biden’s climate envoy — put an even finer point on the significance of Keystone in his own statement at the time. “The United States cannot ask other nations to make tough choices to address climate change if we are unwilling to make them ourselves,” he said.

A pipeline that became a referendum

In his remarks, Obama argued that the practical value of the pipeline had been wildly overstated — by both sides. Keystone XL, he said, would be neither “a silver bullet for the economy, as was promised by some, nor the express lane to climate disaster proclaimed by others.”

But the economic arguments in favour of the pipeline could not overcome the profound symbolic value assigned to it by environmental groups and climate-focused voters.

On its own, Keystone wouldn’t spell the difference between a green future and a “climate disaster.” But the pipeline became a referendum on the U.S. government’s commitment to combating climate change — a tangible thing on which American activists could focus their energies.

Trump, who actively sought to undermine attempts to fight climate change, revived the project. But the political frame that was placed around Keystone XL in 2015 never went away, while legal challenges to the project continued.

By the fall of 2019, most of the major Democratic candidates for the presidency had pledged to rescind Trump’s order on their first day in office. Last May, Biden insisted that he would kill the pipeline.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden walk down the Hall of Honour on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. (Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press)

After Biden’s victory in the presidential election, the Eurasia Group said that rescinding the permit was a “table stake” for the Democratic president and that backing away would risk “raising the ire of activists, their committed followers, and — importantly — the left wing of the Democratic party in Congress.”

“Rescinding KXL would be one area the Biden administration could act [on] and deliver a win to a key political constituency with no congressional interference,” the global consulting firm said.

Bill McKibben, one of the activists who led the campaign against Keystone, wrote in the New Yorker on Thursday that he was grateful for Biden’s decision and never doubted that the new president would follow through. “Even today,” he wrote, “Keystone is far too closely identified with climate carelessness for a Democratic president to be able to waver.”

So the second death of Keystone shouldn’t have surprised anyone. It might have seemed rude of Biden to not wait a day or two to allow Canadian officials to make a fuller presentation on the pipeline’s behalf, but that only would have delayed the inevitable.

The lingering costs of climate inaction

Perhaps Biden thought he was doing his neighbours a favour by ripping the Band-Aid off quickly.

What might have happened to Keystone XL had Canada and the United States taken more aggressive measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the years leading up to Obama’s decision? It’s an intriguing hypothetical. Keystone may have paid the price ultimately for decades of global inaction on climate change.

In the here and now, any debate about Keystone will have to consider whether its additional capacity is even needed at this point. In the meantime, Premier Kenney wants Justin Trudeau’s government to impose trade sanctions on the United States if Biden refuses to revisit his decision.

Stephen Harper could be ungracious in his defence of Keystone — he famously said that approving it was a “no brainer” — but his government doesn’t seem to have ever publicly threatened to impose sanctions if Obama rejected it. Nor does it appear anyone called for sanctions when Obama officially killed the project shortly after the Trudeau government came to office.

Sanctions out of spite?

This idea of reprisals seems to have originated recently with Jack Mintz, a Canadian economist, who also conceded that imposing tariffs could be akin to “cutting off our own nose to spite our face.”

Notably, Erin O’Toole’s federal Conservatives have not joined the premier in calling for sanctions. Kenney — whose government is polling poorly and whose party is being out-fundraised by the opposition — is spoiling for a fight. He has seized on the fact that federal officials did not respond to Biden’s decision in particularly strong terms — and the Liberals may not have struck the right tone for those listening in the Prairies.

WATCH: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says Ottawa ‘folded’ on Keystone XL

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says the federal government ‘folded’ in response to U.S President Joe Biden’s decision to revoke the Keystone XL pipeline. 2:14

But before launching a trade war against this country’s closest ally and its new leader, one should consider the potential results and opportunity costs.

Would a trade war convince President Biden to brave the wrath of his supporters and reverse a campaign promise? Or would a renewed fight over Keystone XL simply consume political and diplomatic capital that could be put toward other things?

Kenney has said sanctions might discourage the Biden administration from intervening against two other contested pipelines that originate in Alberta — Line 5 and Line 3. Writing in the New Yorker, McKibben did identify Line 3 as a target. But there’s also a decent chance that sanctions would only inflame existing tensions around those projects.

Threats and futility

In May, 2015 — nearly six years ago — former Canadian diplomat Colin Robertson wrote that it was time for the Canada-U.S. relationship to move on from Keystone XL. Robertson argued that there were too many other important things to talk about. Six years later, that list of important things includes fostering collaboration on clean energy, fending off ‘Buy American’ policies and combating China’s aggression.

Still, Kenney warned that if the Trudeau government does not do more to defend Keystone, “that will only force us to go further in our fight for a fair deal in the federation.”

But if the battle for Keystone was effectively lost more than five years ago, should the federal government’s willingness to keep fighting it have any bearing on Alberta’s relationship with the rest of the country?

The death of Keystone XL will have a real impact on those Albertans whose jobs depended on it. There are real anxieties and questions that need to be addressed, not least by the federal government.

But the question now is whether fighting over Keystone will do anything to address those concerns — or whether it’s time to put that political energy toward other purposes.

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Newfoundland ex-pat makes waves pairing politicians with their cartoon doubles – The Guardian

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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.”


Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie and Springfield nuclear plant owner Monty Burns were paired in DuBourdieu’s character breakdown. Photo courtesy Twitter
Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie and Springfield nuclear plant owner Monty Burns were paired in DuBourdieu’s character breakdown. Photo courtesy Twitter

 


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.


NDP Leader Alison Coffin and Bette Midler were paired together during the exercise. Midler made a cameo on the show in Season 4. Photo courtesy Twitter
NDP Leader Alison Coffin and Bette Midler were paired together during the exercise. Midler made a cameo on the show in Season 4. Photo courtesy Twitter

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.”


Newfoundland and Labrador Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote found her Simpsons doppelganger in Mrs. Hoover. Photo courtesy Twitter
Newfoundland and Labrador Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote found her Simpsons doppelganger in Mrs. Hoover. Photo courtesy Twitter

 


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.


Monorail salesman Lyle Lanley made the perfect visual double for Liberal Leader Andrew Furey. Photo courtesy Twitter
Monorail salesman Lyle Lanley made the perfect visual double for Liberal Leader Andrew Furey. Photo courtesy Twitter

 


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.

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