We’ve noticed an increasing trend on the political stage, and it’s not the GFC blame game. Politicians, their wives and royals are turning to children for help, chatting with the little ones (and sometimes stuffed animals) about the big issues.
Prince Charles, the man least likely to be Australia’s next king, is trying to save the rainforest with the help of an animated Argentinean Horned Frog and some of his mates (including Robin Williams, his boys — who look way less animated than the frog — and the Dalai Lama). He even lets Kermit have the final word.
Charles, a known conservationist, thinks drawing children’s attention to tropical deforestation is beneficial to all. Getting the kids on side early might also help guarantee his family’s political future and personal fortunes.
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America’s favourite Mom-in-chief Michelle Obama recorded a segment on Sesame Street, calling it “probably the best thing I’ve done so far in the White House”. Considering her hot date with her hubby last week, that’s quite a call.
Michelle’s PR team wants to promote the First Lady as a warm and personable mother, concerned with family and children’s issues — or as WSJ Magazine put it:
They want to create an environment where average Americans might stop by and catch the first lady serving homemade huckleberry cobbler and caramel ice cream to students, tending to the vegetable garden on the South Lawn or watching the romantic comedy “He’s Just Not That Into You” with her girlfriends.
With a 76% approval rating, the strategy seems to be paying dividends.
On the show (YouTube currently not giving us any love) Michelle discussed nutrition and healthy eating. She joins a long list of celebrities who’ve previously appeared on the Street. However, not all of them discussed issues as linked to hot topics in politics — and their husband — as health care.
But sometimes kids are to politicians as oil is to water.
Condoleezza Rice has schoolyard bullies asking tough questions. During a school visit, a 4th grader asked the former Secretary of State a question along the lines of “How do you feel about the things the Obama administration says about the methods that the Bush administration used to get information from prisoners?” Kids say the darndest things.
Luckily for Condi, the question was much easier than the one Misha had originally planned: “If you would work for Obama’s administration, would you push for torture?” The student’s teachers vetoed it due to the word torture.
Children and political figures have always been tightly linked, but this is a definite step up from kissing babies and “working families”. Perhaps Kevin Rudd will appear on Are you smarter than a fifth grader? Or can Quentin Bryce help save Humphrey B Bear from extinction?
Fingers crossed that the media overload helps Generation Z to be politically engaged, aware, and sceptical of political advertising. Even if Elmo does appear in it.