Absent real hardships, modern politicians have simply gotten creative, or at least what passes for creative in the anesthetizing cosmos of cookie-cutter campaign hell. They especially love tales of dishwashing. Senator Ted Cruz could finance his own presidential campaign if he had a penny for every time he mentioned his penniless father who “washed dishes for 50 cents an hour” after fleeing Cuba for Texas. Hillary Clinton checked the dishwashing box during a summer stint, in 1969, working in an Alaskan lodge. Leon Panetta washed dishes in his father’s restaurant, John Boehner (the second-youngest of 12 kids!) in his father’s bar, and Ronald Reagan in the girls’ dormitory at Eureka College in Illinois. Rod Blagojevich, the incarcerated former governor of Illinois, reportedly worked six days a week washing dishes in the kitchen of a federal prison in Colorado. Once Blago makes his inevitable comeback, you can count on hearing more about those dishes.
Mark Leibovich, “Did Anyone Wash Dishes in this Family?”, The New York Times Magazine (13 April 2014), 15.