It is sometimes said that “politics is showbusiness for ugly people”. Well, I am not about to start rating people in order of their perceived physical beauty – some of the most attractive and charismatic people I have ever met will not be troubling the catwalks of Paris any time soon – however, the idea that politics is the cousin of showbiz has always interested me.
Donald Trump has most recently been cited as the ultimate political showman, putting razzle-dazzle above policy or public service every time. But it goes back much further than that. Politicians have always played exaggerated versions of themselves, picking the parts that seem to appeal most to their core voters.
George W Bush was another politician who played up to his perception among the public – although Trump is in a league of his own on that front. There are those who say that Bush Jr was nothing like the ignorant president he seemed to be. They cite footage of his early political career where he is fairly well-informed. And the Texan accent is much fainter. It was only later that he adopted the folksy tone and dialled up the dumb. Since Bush stopped being president, the real him has come back into focus, to such an extent that he now counts Michelle Obama as a close friend and confidante. But while he was in office? Well, if this is showbiz you gotta have an act, baby.
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