Saddam Hussein did it. So did Andy Warhol. Joseph Stalin was a big fan of using a body double (killing tens of millions of people can create a few murderous enemies), too. When you’re famous and attacked by mobs or in the line of fire or just want a little peace and quiet now and then, a body double or stand-in might be a good idea. At least that’s what Mexican politician Renato Tronco Gómez believes.
Señor Gómez recently held a competition in the state of Veracruz to find a few body doubles. More than personal security concerns (he’s no Stalin), he thinks he needs the extra help because he’s a really busy guy. The newspaper El Pais had a chat with Gómez, and tried to suss out the politician’s reasons for the doppelgänger hunt. In a nut shell, he wants to maintain his popularity for the next election by being in as many places as he (or his doubles) can possibly be — i.e. talking to constituents, delivering school furniture, going to parties, parades and cultural and civic events.
Since Gómez will train his stand-ins to act just like him, and he’ll let the people know they’re actually doubles, he sees no the harm in a little political theater. Considering how expensive and time-consuming American elections are, I think Gómez might have stumbled onto something here. We could make good use of doubles north of the border, too.
If American politicians employed body doubles on a regular basis, imagine all of the pain and suffering they could avoid, while still managing to stay in office. Hillary Clinton could send her doppelgänger out to less-than-friendly districts where Tea Party folks might throw eggs at her, as well as to debates chock full of uncomfortable, tricky-to-dodge questions. Bill Clinton and President Obama, once he’s finished his second term, could dispatch their body doubles to various charity events, while they hang out on the back nine sipping beer and enjoying the sunshine and fresh air.
Conservative candidates and office holders who like to claim “I’m not a scientist” (while attacking the science of climate change), could easily send an actual scientist double to press conferences. The brainy replacement could then — at least in a pseudoscience kind of way — go on the offensive against, you know, actual scientists who insist on citing their boring studies and data accumulated from years of observation and hard work.
And when it comes to sexual shenanigans, having a stand-in would be a godsend. What if Anthony Weiner had actively and publicly used a stand-in to represent him at community and political events? When he was caught sending out pictures of his junk, he could have simply blamed it on his double.
Press: “So, Mr. Weiner, are you saying those compromising texts and photos were not, in fact, written and taken by you?”
Anthony: “Of course not. They’re images of my stunt Weiner. He’s one horny dude. I’m not into sexting at all. I’m into good governance.”
A passable political body double equals a great political fall guy. And what politician wouldn’t like another person to blame when things go wrong? As a matter of fact, we should all get a body double, regardless of our profession, just in case we need to take our “mea culpa” and pin it one someone else.
Carl Pettit is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.