The 8 Most Successful Politicians (Who Weren't Human)
Sometimes politicians get so bad that we make jokes about how we'd rather have a monkey, or drinking bird toy, or [other humorous hyperbolic metaphor] in charge, but then we never do anything about it. Such is the apathy of our voting citizenry today. Well here's some cases where voters put their money where their mouths were, starting with ...
Incitatus, the Horse Senator
The Roman Emperor Caligula, most popularly known for being crazy, is said to have appointed his horse to the Senate which probably explains why he was popularly known for being crazy. Some historians say he wasn't crazy, that he appointed the horse as a sort of satirical joke about politics or something, and that his enemies were just bitter. These historians are no fun.
They won't even order pizza from Little Caesars because it's "historically inaccurate."
Senator Incitatus came from humble beginnings, born under the undignified name of "Porcellus," or "little pig." He rose through the ranks of chariot racehorses to become an undefeated champion, and like many sports stars, moved to politics. He got so close to the Emperor that when Caligula got married, he fretted that Incitatus would be jealous.
Caligula built the horse a palace, where Incitatus would somehow invite people to have dinner with him. The horse also owned slaves. How do you deal with being owned by a horse?
Ask any of Secretariat's competitors. ZING!
Although there's no description of Senator Incitatus' influence on policy, he was possibly the first recorded animal government official and his brave, pioneering example paved the way for other embarrassments to society, such as ...
Boston Curtis the Mule
In 1938, the people of Milton, Washington elected Boston Curtis as their Republican Precinct Committeeman with 51 votes. Boston Curtis was, of course, a mule.
It wasn't Boston's idea to run for office. Most of Boston's ideas centered around eating grass, or maybe pooping, until one day, the mayor of Milton, Kenneth Simmons, dragged him downtown to the courthouse and put his hoofprint on some documents. One election later, Boston was a republican precinct committeeman.
He brought a lot of baggage to the position ...
A precinct committeeman's job involves getting out the local vote for their party and helping to register new voters. This is the sort of job that they would give an old retired guy that complains about politics a lot, so he can feel important. So while there's no record of whether Boston served out his full term, he probably did, because precinct committeeman? Who gives a shit.
The glamorous world of precinct committeeman training.
When asked his motive for the stunt, Simmons, a democrat, said he wanted to embarrass the republicans, as well as teach people a lesson about responsible voting, or something. However, the next year, he organized a really stupid stunt that involved appointing the town's rowdiest young men as policemen for a day, which, to no one's surprise, ended up in a fight that had to be put down by the state police.
This makes his motivation for the mule stunt pretty obvious. He was clearly a retarded attention whore.
Cacareco the Rhinoceros
Republican precinct committeeman is small potatoes, though, compared to City Councilmember for Sao Paulo, the largest city in Brazil and the entire Southern Hemisphere. This office was won, fair and square, by a rhinoceros.
Cacareco, a female zoo rhinoceros, won the 1959 city council seat in a landslide with 100,000 votes. She accomplished all this by the time she was five-years old. Doesn't that make you feel inadequate?
Not so proud of that bean painting anymore, are you?
No one had to be tricked into it, either. The politics of Sao Paulo, and Brazil, were a complete mess at the time. The majority of the population was essentially voting, "Fuck this" in different ways. Most by voting for the rhino, but some by putting black beans into the ballot envelope and mailing them in, and possibly some of the more direct citizens just writing, "Fuck this" on the ballot.
Some of the vote tallies.
Cacareco's votes were nullified, and another election was held, showing exactly how screwed up and lacking in humor the system was. While she never took a city council seat, Cacareco did send a powerful message to Sao Paulo and Brazil at large: "We would rather vote for a rhino using beans than keep these jokers in office" -- which remains a catchphrase for protest voting to this day.
Bosco The Pro-Democracy Lab-Rottweiler Mix
In 1981, the citizens of Sunol, California held a mayoral election where the choices were some guy, some other guy and a dog. Of course they voted for the dog, Bosco Ramos.
Sunol is an unincorporated town with a population of 1,300 that I don't think can even legally have a mayor, so you might think it barely counts. However, the government of China thought differently.
In 1989, China tried to convince citizens that asking for democracy was a bad idea by shooting them in a crowded square. In 1990, they moved on to more subtle tactics when the Chinese government paper The People's Daily of Beijing printed an article highlighting Bosco's election as everything wrong with democracy, saying that it should serve as a "wake-up tonic for those kind-hearted people who are naive and ignorant and blindly worship Western democracy."
Wonder what they said about Jesse Ventura 10 years later.
Not one to take such anti-democratic sentiments lying down, Bosco responded by joining local Chinese students in a pro-democracy protest in front of the Chinese consulate in San Francisco where I hope he peed on something.
Bosco died in 1994, but if you go to a Sunol bar, you can get a likeness of him to piss beer into your mug when the bartender lifts his leg. Isn't that how we all want to be remembered?
Frederico the Goat
In 1996, Frederico the Goat carried on the torch of Cacareco the Rhinoceros by running for mayor of Pilar, Brazil (Scroll down to the second article if you click that link unless you are really interested in whether Guyana will get a law school.)
Goats are already making progress in countries like Spain, where they can serve in the military.
Although highly popular (a convoy of 50 vehicles drove through town in support of Frederico), his candidacy was also highly controversial (someone shot at the convoy). That's why some people found it highly suspicious when the candidate was found dead under mysterious circumstances (His owner said he "had a lot of foam in his mouth"), especially since he was leading in opinion polls at the time.
An alternative explanation.
Much like President Kennedy, Frederico was cut down in his prime, leaving only questions of what might have been. Unlike Kennedy, we will actually never know what really happened.
Rabbit Hash, Kentucky
Rabbit Hash isn't an animal or the remains of one, but a town. I can't name just one animal here because Rabbit Hash is an animal-electing phenomenon. They have been voting animals as mayor since 1998, partly because they have nothing better to do, and partly to get some attention.
And it's hard to blame them, since the town almost went under in the 70s and is basically being maintained by a historical preservation society. So sure, elect some animals and get some press. At least it's not like that historic black town that's only being preserved because of birdwatching.
"Look, kids! It's the only thing that will get people to care about you!"
But the thing is, the level of detail on the Rabbit Hash official website is a little nuts. For the most recent election (winner: Lucy Lou, border collie), there were detailed biographies of all 12 animal candidates, every one of them filled with terrible animal puns.
Example: "Pike is liberally conservative, but he is tired of the dog and pony show of politics." Hmm. "Although rumors have dogged him about the ladies..." Okay, that's enough.
I don't really blame Pike. I blame the handlers.
Meanwhile, the bloglike "Herb's Thoughts," on the front page, despite its hokey "down-home" dialect, doesn't always quite fit the mold of cutesy animal-electing family friendly stuntery, with quotes like: "My Daddy allus tole me that politics an' religion was jest like a penis!.......ya don't pull it out in public and ya don't dare try and cram it down my kids' throat!"
I'm not entirely sure if Rabbit Hash is going for the "cute gimmick so you come visit us" angle or the "make you uncomfortable so you pay us money to go away" angle. We all do what we must to survive.
H'Angus the Monkey Mascot
First of all, yes, technically Stuart Drummond, the man in the monkey costume, was the name on the ballot, and he is a human being, as much as any Englishman can be.
However, he ran for office in his monkey mascot costume, which he wore in his job as official mascot of the local sports team. Although he spoke about actual local issues at times, his biggest campaign pledge was a banana for every schoolchild.
A promise he BROKE, by the way.
This election, in 2002, was the first time the borough of Hartlepool had voted for a mayor (I guess it's something boroughs don't usually do) so maybe they hadn't quite gotten the hang of it yet. Drummond claimed unequivocally that people had voted for him seriously based on his platform, saying "If anyone's suggesting people actually voted for a monkey, that is just demeaning to the public. It's a serious thing, voting. They know who they voted for and what I was standing for."
Apparently he stood for "H'ANGUS X".
But when that same reporter asked patrons of a local pub who'd they'd voted for -- the monkey or the man -- they replied, "The monkey, of course."
He was re-elected to a third term in 2009.
Sure, none of those mayors may have been human (except technically the monkey guy) but at least they've been some kind of living organisms. So the town of Picoaza, Ecuador, has them all beat, since it elected a brand of foot powder mayor in 1967.
He does look accessible.
Since it was election time, the manufacturer of the foot powder Pulvapies decided to make some tongue-in-cheek election-themed ads with the slogan: "Vote for any candidate, but if you want well-being and hygiene, vote for Pulvapies."
Picoaza took this literally, and Pulvapies won the election as a write-in candidate. This is like if Americans had watched the M&Ms election-themed ads and actually voted Blue M&M into Congress.
Would that have been so bad?
News after the election is hard to come by, but let's assume that Pulvapies never took office, because it can't. The town certainly still exists, so all we know for sure is that it didn't implode over the logical impossibility of voting a brand of foot powder into office.
But here is what it would have looked like if it had.
I think we can all learn a lesson from this, which is that next time you want attention or want to embarrass the political system (or both!), put an embarrassing non-human candidate on the ballot. Sure, you'll be wasting taxpayer dollars and contributing toward the erosion of faith in an already battered democratic system, but it'll be funny.
Note: You know who would probably never win an election? Cancer. That's why I'll be participating in a 100 mile bike ride to raise money for leukemia research, click here to find out more or donate.
Check out weeks past in which Christina explained 5 Reasons Why Parenting is One Place We Shouldn't Imitate China and 5 Wildly Popular Car Modifications That Must Be Stopped.