How low can they go? Politicians, that is. Already among the least trusted professionals — a recent Reader’s Digest poll ranked them 39 out of 41, barely above car salespeople and telemarketers — recent shenanigans should earn them coveted last place in next year’s poll.
Even in an era of new lows represented by poster boy Rod Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois, it has not been a great season for politicians.
The man elected to Ted Kennedy’s U.S. senate seat is most famous for posing nude in Cosmo. A New Bruswick MLA has gone viral on YouTube, caught rapping in the House to an American Idol contestant’s “original song:” “Pants on the ground, pants on the ground, you’re lookin’ like a fool with your pants on the ground.” Funny, sure, but it hardly elevates the level of legislative debate.
Someone tossed a politically correct pie in the face of Fisheries Minister Gail Shea for her stand on that annual outrage, the cute baby seal hunt, which is scheduled to start again shortly. Politically correct as in no animal byproducts were harmed in the baking of the tofu cream pie.
Poor Ms. Shea; it didn’t even taste good.
And on Parliament Hill, home of that daily jackal fest known as question period, the prime minister arbitrarily prorogued the 40th Canadian Parliament until March 3. Just say no to democracy.
Of course, the way things are going, most of us see that as an improvement.
It’s worse in England, where politicians scored an all-time low for public trust in a recent Ipsos Mori poll, making them the least trusted professionals in the nation, even lower than journalists, that other reviled sect.
It might have something to do with one MP claiming porn movies as a parliamentary expense or another hiring his teenage son, a full-time student, as a “parliamentary assistant” for more than £11,000 ($18,650). One even claimed £16.50 ($27.99) for a wreath allegedly draped on a war memorial.
As amusing as these hijinks may seem, there are serious consequences. Faced with this Confederation of Dunces, career aspirants are flocking to alternatives such as auto sales and telemarketing, or God forbid, journalism. Who’s left to guide democracy? The kids of South Park?
And who will bother to vote for these jokers? Voter turnout in the last federal election was already at an all-time low.
It makes you long for the good old days of … Brian Mulroney?