Courtesy of Russia Today:
Breaking small rules: it can do so much to endear a politician to the voters. Consider the famous photo of Jacques Chirac jumping the barrier in the Paris metro when he was Mayor:
Obviously it’s a photo-op and he’s not really fare-dodging, but it gets a response out of us because we’ve all jumped the barrier at some point. Yes, even you. Don’t play the innocent with me.
To quote an old post:
He was the authorities, but he retained an air of anti-authority chutzpah til the end. People felt as though he was one of us, even when he was more or less openly manipulating the political system in favour of ‘them’.
Boris Johnson takes things a step further, and manages to get away with serial infidelities by reacting to their discovery as though they were just laddish misdemeanours, more or less on the same level as jumping the barrier on the underground. And, by and large, voters are willing to go along with it. As Paul Goodman put it:
In modern politics unconventional politicians are judged by different rules from conventional ones.
Even the story about David Cameron putting his cock in a dead pig’s mouth at a Piers Gaveston society party failed to damage him in the way that many of the more puritanical elements on the left hoped. We’ve all done stupid things while young and drunk, after all (even, whisper it not, the holier-than-thou Spartists among us). Quoting Brendan O’Neill:
Dave, King of the Lads. If only he would fess up to his pig thing (if it’s true) and take ownership of it. In 2015, it often feels like the world is ruled by the unworldly, by over-spun politicians, a moralistic media class, and fun-allergic student bureaucrats. Pig-gate gives me hope — hope that behind Cameron’s too glossy veneer there might just lurk a real man. Maybe even a bloke.
And this is where Barack Obama’s PR people may have made their biggest mistake. No, not in preventing him from fucking livestock, but with regards to a habit that – these days, at least – is almost equally reviled. We all know that Obama smokes at least sporadically, and yet there are no leaked photos out there of him puffing away in the Oval Office
Well, actually, there are, but they’re all poor photoshops. But here’s the thing…
That’s a fake (for the original, see here), but doesn’t he look a million times more sympathetic in that picture than when standing behind a podium, blandly explaining to us why this latest Middle Eastern bombing expedition really is necessary?
Hell, a cigarette can even soften Kim Jong Un’s image:
So why doesn’t the Obama media machine just let us see him smoking? Well, probably because they’re middle-aged Beltway democrats who wear Fitbits and drink kale smoothies and see smoking as being the next thing to genocide.
For the rest of us poor schleps who are just trying to get through the day and put some food on the table, however, a few pics of the leader of the free world demonstrating that he too has his indulgences would go a long way towards increasing our sympathy for him.