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The Boston Globe


Tom Keane

Politicians think a sob story will achieve electoral success

Newly married Mitt and Ann Romney “ate a lot of pasta and tuna fish.” Michelle Obama recalled Barack as “the guy whose proudest possession was a coffee table he’d found in a dumpster.” She herself grew up in a household where her father, stricken with multiple sclerosis, would “struggle . . . to simply get out of bed.”

There used to be the stereotype of the starving artist — one had to go through pain and hardship (with preferably a few weeks spent in a psychiatric hospital) to create great art. Now it’s the starving politician. Suffering, it seems (minus the psychiatric issues — see, e.g., Thomas Eagleton), is required for a career in politics.

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