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The Party of Deliberate Work-Shy Elements

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Now it seems Arnold has won, more people than ever are saying "only in America!"


After seeing Clint Eastwood become the mayor of Carmel, California; Jesse "The Body" Ventura become governor of Minnesota; Sonny Bono, Cher's ex-husband, become a Congressman (he died skiing without a helmet-should I move this topic to the Snow-Related" section?); and Ronald Reagan do what he did, it's easy to go into agreement.


But what other countries have seen celebs become politicians?



Cicciolina (nee Ilona Staller), the porn actress, became a member of Italian parliament.



Famous cricket captain Imran Khan founded the successful PTI party.



Wasn't there a comedian who won a big election in Osaka a few years back?



A bit of a long read, but worth it:


* * *


Some People See Politicians As Jokers: This Guy Is One -- Jacob

Haugaard Was Elected To the Danish Parliament Promising Better



* * *


By Dana Milbank, Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal.


AARHUS, Denmark -- Jacob Haugaard swears it was just a practical



He was only kidding when he launched the Party of Deliberate Work-Shy

Elements. He was merely lambooning politicians when he ran for

Parliament promising better weather, tail winds for Danish cyclists ,

and the right to be impotent. He was only having fun, he says, when

he spend campaign funds on beer and sausages for his voters.



Then, a funny thing happened. After six election defeats, the

42-year-old standup commedian actually was elected two weeks ago to

the Danish parliament. Tuesday, Mr. Haugaard took his place in the

nations first independent legislator in half a century.


Nobody finds this more amusing than Mr. Haugaard himself. In his

first act as an MP, a visit to the queen, he wore a loud tie and a

three-piece suit made from a burlap coffee sack. ``I dont know

anything about politics,'' he say. ``Now, I get an education in how

it works--with full salary.'' The job pays about $60.000 a year.


Mr. Haugaard, understandably, has become a celebrity. Weathermen talk

about the Haugaard factor in their forecasts. College students invoke

his name at protests. Haugaard T-shirts are available if not

fashionable, and the comic appears regularly on television and on the

front pages. ``He's more popular than the prime minister,'' says

Michael Meyerheim, the host of a Danish TV talk show.


Political Oddities



Exotic characters are in politics all over the world. Italy had La

Cicciolina, a former porn star, in its Parliament. And radio talker

Howard Star won (and then relinguished) the Liberian Party's

nomination for the governorship of New York this year.


But Mr. Haugaard could well be the first professional comic to win

election to a national legistature as a joke.


Some sober Danes don't think it's a laughing matter. ``How is it

imaginable that 20,000 people would vote for a clown like that?''

Conservative Party chief Torben Rechendorff demanded in the Aarhus

Stiftstidende, Mr. Haugaard's hometown paper. Steen Gade, socialist

MP, also thinks the election shows that Denmark is in a rotten state.

``It is sad that many voters have thought the work in the Parliament

so unimportant as to use their vote on him,'' he told the paper.


Lighten up, Mr. Haugaards backers reply. ``The politicians have been

in Parliament for many, many years and talked and talked and talked

and done nothing,'' says Jens Richard Pedersen, a graying Aarhus

buissnessman. Dansh voters are upset with incumbent politicians who

have failed to fix the countried double-digit unemployment and do

something about high taxes.


At the Cafe Jorden here in Aarhus, young Haugaard supporters recite

favourite Haugaard promises: more Nutella chocolate-spread for the

U.N. soldiers in Bosnia. Less sex in the teachers' room. Arming a

17th-century frigate for service in the Persian Gulf.


``I voted for him just to get a kick out of it,'' says Peter Borring,

a 25-year-old electronics salesman in Aarhus. ``Danish politics is

very boring.''


The same clearly cannot be said about Mr. Haugaard. His suburban home

has a dentist's chair and a huge water tower in the backyeard.

Several mornings after his election victory, he comes downstairs in

his underwear to greet a visitor. His rumbled coffee-sac suit (he

calles it the ``Yves Sack Laurent'') hangs on a chair. he instructs

his young daughter to ``light up the lady,'' a nightclub sculpture of

a woman with neon breasts.


Mr. Haugaard's political philosophy is a simple proof of politicians'

promises and evasions. ``If something good happens, I say it's me,''

he says. ``If it's bad, I blame it on the opposition.'' His promises

include more Renaissance furniture at Ikea (the Swedish warehouse

furniture stores), bigger Christmas presents, shorter supermarket

lines, carpeted sidewalks and a law giving disability payments to

humorless people.


His policy on employments: ``If work is so healthy, give it to the

sick.'' He also wowed a fight for the right to be ``ugly, lazy, rich

and stupid.''


On the Cheap



One of his election posters features him with a cigar and a

Rolls-Roycs and the slogan: ``An Honest Man.'' In his campaign (for

which he spend all of $1,500) he was shown with his hand on a train's

emergency brake, saying ``It's now or never.''


The son of a carpenter, Mr. Haugaard did factory and janitorial work

before forming a bad called Sofamania in the 1970s. He plays a guitar

mad from a garden spade. Since his hippie days, Mr. Haugaard says, he

has given up all drugs -- even aspirin -- and is now a member of

Alchoholics Anonymous.


The band, the comedy routines, appearances in two movies and a

soft-drink commercial in his case added up to political liability. In

1979, he accepted the nomination of some Aarhus University students

to be their candidate for Parliament. He lost, then ran five more

loosing campaigns before pulling off his stunning victory this year.


Nobody -- not even Mr. Haugaard -- ever took his candidacy seriously.

Though Denmark's Parliament is elected nationally, an independent can

appear on the ballot in his or her home district by gathering 150

signatures, and all it takes to win a seat is 18,000-odd votes. On

Sept. 21, he got 23,253 votes and became one of the 179 members of

the exalted body.


Another `Aarhus Joke'



To Ane Dybdahl, the newspaper reporter who followed Mr. Haugaard for

the Aarhus Stiftstidende, his victory is just another ``Aarhus

Joke.'' People in Copenhagen make fun of their cousins in Aarhus and

the rest of Denmark's Jutland-peninsula as slow-witted. One joke says

Aarhus people take the door off when they go to the bathroom so

nobody can peek through the keyhole. ``It's a special kind of Danish

humor,'' she says of Mr. Haugaard's style, ``a bit childish.''


What made her think that? Mr. Haugaard told her his goals in

Parliament would be to erect a giant statue of himself urinating on a

windmill, and to get his ``virtual-reality'' hat past the

parliamentary guards.


Pundits say that in Denmark's fragile coalition government, Mr.

Haugaard's vote could be a tiebreaker. But not to worry. The comedian

plans to use his position to jawbone his fellow politicians on causes

he actually cares about: alcoholism, diability, the problems of old

age. Mr. Haugaard, who won't sit on any comittees or propose any

laws, intends, uncharacteristically, to be a quiet and respectful

watchdog. ``In the beginning, I think I'll just take the cotton out

of my ears and put it in my mouth,'' he says.


He admits some of his political promises, such as affecting the

weather and assuring opportune tail winds, may be hard to keep. But

he appears to have connections in high places. ``All Denmark was

laughing the day after the election,'' Mr. Haugaard says. ``The

weather was buitiful, the sun was shining, and a tail wind was coming

from all directions.''

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Idea for another thread: what politicians end their careers as entertainers?


Imagine Slick Wille Clinton smooching Britney at the next MTV awards extravaganza!


Totally unrelated, but did anyone else see those bikini pics of Chelsea Clinton in the National Enquirer? They should include a rip-out barf bag with the magazine when they run stuff like that.



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Jerry Springer! He used to be mayor of Cincinatti (sp?) or something before he took on the glourious talk show that he does today.


I can't picture him being mayor. He's Jerry! I head that he is thinking of getting back into politics though. You never know Jerry and Arnie might both be running for president one day. God help us all!

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