More or less, politics is Hollywood for people who are too ugly to be in Hollywood. The endless partisan battles that play out on our television screens gives millions of people endless entertainment and the sense that they are staying involved in the governance of their society, while the unelected, faceless high-level bureaucrats whose names and faces you’ll never know work behind the scenes to run the government: the so-called “Deep State.”
Meanwhile, politicians read their lines for the camera to create a drama not unlike professional wrestling, more scripted than you might think, more bluff and bluster than revolutionary, more dramatic than substantive, a sanitized and safe simulation of the violent upheavals and power struggles in centuries past, all playing out in a never-ending TV show, the finest exemplar of reality television. (The writers are killing it this season.)
People with excellent acting skills, powerful screen presence, and broad appeal to viewers do best in this billion dollar industry, and it is a perfect fit for those blessed with these characteristics, but who lack the standards of beauty for actors in the cinema and overtly fictional television world. Interestingly enough, it almost seems like successful politicians are generally a standard deviation away from average looking toward the uglier side of the spectrum.
Let’s not mince words, there’s some seriously ugly people on C-SPAN. But that didn’t stop all of them from marrying some serious babes four, five, or even six integers higher on the oft-used 1 – 10 scale for reckoning beauty. Here are just a few examples:
15. Reince and Sally Priebus
Reince Priebus is the former Chairman of the Republican National Committee and current White House Chief of Staff for president Donald Trump. I can’t decide if his name sounds more like a Star Wars character or some kind of genital hygiene practice.
Anyways, he’s not nearly as bad looking as his boss, we can give him that much, but that’s not setting the bar too high. Reince looks kind of like a goofy turtle with a receding hairline. He did great marrying Sally, his “Sunday school sweetheart.” They met in church when they were teenagers. Reince once told a group of voters that his and Sally’s first date together “was a Lincoln Day dinner with [GOP congressmen] Henry Hyde and Jim Sensenbrenner, which will tell you a little something about me.”
14. Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin
What are the odds? First there was a guy named Bernie Madoff who “made off” with all our money, then there was a congressman named Anthony Weiner who became infamous for tweeting pictures of his wiener. What are the odds of that? Are the gods of the universe winking at us?
Weirdly enough, that entire Weiner controversy happened back in 2011, the same month that the Republican National Committee held its first televised 2012 primary debate, starring — remember this? –Donald Trump. There were only five participants in that very early debate with Donald Trump front and center, and he dropped out of the primary after that. Just dipping his toe in the water and laying the groundwork for his 2016 run.
Four years later, Trump would be running against Hillary Clinton, whose second-in-command, right-hand-woman was… Huma Abedin, Anthony Weiner’s wife. Well not anymore. She forgave him after the first dick pick controversy, but when he slipped up again, in the middle of running for mayor of New York City, she left him.
13. Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich
Dennis Kucinich is an eight-term congressman from Ohio and one-time contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. I’ll say something nice about him before I say something mean: Kucinich isn’t like most politicians. He’s a true believer. He cares about the cause.
But if we were judging him based on looks, he is not exactly what I’d call good looking. Those beady little eyes… he looks like the love child of David Carradine and an oven mitt. His wife Elizabeth, unless she has unusual tastes in men, is most certainly a sapio-sexual, a person who’s turned on by someone’s mind.
The stunningly lovely advocate for veganism and global monetary policy reform, on the other hand, is so good looking that she could be in the real Hollywood if she wanted to. When she met Kucinich for the first time, it was in his Congressional office to discuss monetary policy, and the two describe their meeting as “soul recognition.
The two apparently can’t keep their hands off each other and are regularly described as lovebirds in the press, frequently making headlines like “Rep. Kucinich spotted canoodling with wife at train station,” and “Kucinich gets some love on an escalator.”
12. Cory Booker and Bianca Levin
After spending six years as Mayor of Newark, Cory Booker jumped into a special US Senate election in 2013 when Frank Lautenberg died in office. Booker is the first black US Senator from New Jersey and the first ever sitting US Senator to ever testify against another Senator during Jeff Session’s confirmation hearings to be Trump’s Attorney General.
He’s had a stellar career in politics due to his tough political instincts and media savvy. He’s certainly not the worst looking person in the US Senate chamber, but again, that’s grading on a curve. Booker, who unfortunately looks like the love child of Jeff Bezos and Jay Z, is definitely dating way outside his league when it comes to looks.
Now Booker’s only one of two on this list who’s not married to his SO, but we couldn’t pass up on mentioning him, and his high-powered girlfriend from way out of state in Los Angeles, California, the lovely as could be Bianca Levin.
Levin is an entertainment lawyer with a degree from Yale Law School, and sources say she and Booker have been secretly seeing each other since meeting for the first time at a fundraiser for his Senate campaign at the Rooftop by Gordon Ramsay in West Hollywood.
11. Ted and Heidi Cruz
Announcing his 2012 candidacy for US Senate over a blogger conference call, and then racking up an impressive string of endorsements, Ted Cruz experienced a meteoric rise from Texas Solicitor General to Tea Party darling and US Senator. His 2016 bid for the Republican presidential nomination did not turn out so well for him.
Love him or hate him, Cruz is really weird looking. He’s not so much ugly, as just very, very creepy looking. Unsurprisingly enough, according to a Daily Beast story in 2013, when several of his former college classmates were quizzed about young Ted Cruz, in addition to adjectives like “abrasive,” “intense,” “strident,” “crank,” and “arrogant,” four different former classmates “independently offered the word ‘creepy.'”
He actually looks like an actual, literal clown, like he has the perfect face to be an actual, creepy clown. But he must have something going for him, because he attracted a serious hottie. That Trump tweet with the unflattering pic of Heidi was fake news and alternative facts. Heidi’s smokin hot.
10. Strom and Nancy Thurmond
Does anyone remember Strom Thurmond? That dude was like the oldest Senator to ever live. Look at the picture above. That’s Strom and his second wife, Nancy (first wife died of a brain tumor). When they got married in 1968, this ugly bastard was 66 and the cutie was 22 (!).
That picture is from the late 60s or early 70s at the latest and he’s already old in it, right? Well would you believe that this dirty old man hung on to his US Senate seat from the moment you see in that picture until 2003??
1956 – 2003 was how long this guy represented South Carolina in the Senate chamber. He was born in 1902, so he crossed into the triple digits before dying. Strom Thurmond was so old, he was there to block the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and oppose racial integration, and then stuck around long enough to vote on cyber security enhancement bills.
British rock stars don’t even live this long. Fidel Castro didn’t even live this long – that young whipper snapper died at the age of 84. When you’re looking at your own ugly mug in the mirror for a century, it helps to spend most of that time also looking at a face as beautiful as Nancy Thurmond’s. Girl was fine by 2017 standards in 1968.
9. Rand and Kelley Paul
Rand Paul is a US Senator from Kentucky, dubbed by Washington DC’s Reason Magazine as “The Most Interesting Man in the Senate.” He looks kind of like Dr. Gregory House’s failed clone, and his hair looks like Ramen noodles out of the pack. His wife says he cuts it himself. Yeah, we can tell.
Kelley Paul on the other hand, is very easy to look at. When Paul was running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, mainstream media outlets were calling his wife “Rand Paul’s secret weapon.”
Sophisticated and easy-going, she certainly balances out Rand’s fierce commitment to his libertarian principles, and even helped him craft a lot of his campaign messaging. Rand went into the US Senate in 2010, and instead of lying low for a couple terms like most new Senators do, he started lighting the place up. Kelley has a lighter touch.
8. Paul and Janna Ryan
Gabe Lewis from The Office. Anyone else think that? US Congressman and House Speaker, Paul Ryan looks like Gabe from The Office‘s uglier, older brother. I’d say at least Ryan is less cringey than his better-looking TV döppelganger. Well, I could have said that before Ryan did the weightlifting photoshoot with TIME magazine. Oh, the cringe!
Janna Ryan, on the other hand, is pure beauty. She’s also more than a pretty face. Janna was a successful tax attorney and then corporate lobbyist before she met Ryan.
An interesting twist: Paul Ryan is the leader of Republicans in Congress and was the Republican Vice Presidential candidate for Mitt Romney in 2012, and Janna is a liberal Democrat, but she rarely gives interviews and almost never speaks publicly about her political views.
7. Jon and Mary Kaye Huntsman
Anyone remember Jon Huntsman? He was the Republican Governor of Utah who ran for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012. He was widely hailed by the media as kind of “the adult in the room,” a calm, measured voice among many shrill ones in what ended up being a real circus of a primary for the Republican Party.
Of course, he ended up polling low and dropping out of the primary pretty early on. Not crazy enough to grab a lot of headlines and get enough media attention to poll better than he did. Can’t say he was the worst looking of the very large crop of candidates for the nomination that cycle, but he certainly wasn’t the best either.
He definitely married up when it comes to looks, and there’s no doubt where his beautiful daughters all get their good looks from. One thing that stood out about Mary Kaye back in that 2012 Republican Primary: in a group full of candidates with reluctant spouses when it came to their husband’s presidential ambitions, Mary Kaye was enthusiastically and 100% on board with Jon’s bid.
6. John and Cindy McCain
Not exactly Brad Pitt or anything, US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has always been a major figure in national politics, well-known for his crusade to reform campaign finance laws and get all the “soft money” from major corporate donors out of politics. In 2008, he was the Republican Party’s nominee to challenge President Obama’s second term.
We’ve got to disclaim here that McCain doesn’t look as bad as some people might after living as hard a life as he has. The man went to fight in Vietnam, nearly died when a Navy vessel carrying him caught on fire, got shot down while flying a plane over enemy territory, and then got captured and tortured in a North Vietnam prison camp.
So really, he’s not doing too bad, but is he out of his league with Cindy? Most definitely. Look at the devilish smile on that old cad’s face. That’s the smile of a man who knows he’s got some sweet eye candy hanging on his arm.
5. Eliot and Silda Spitzer
Back in 2007, Eliot Spitzer was Governor of New York for barely a year before his career imploded in a made-for-TV prostitution scandal. The man, who had served for years as New York state’s Attorney General, had been seeing high-end prostitutes, spending tens of thousands of dollars on these liaisons.
Federal investigators first started looking into it because his bank transfers of money to pay for the prostitutes triggered some federal attention, with concerns that he was hiding bribe money or something. We wouldn’t be surprised that someone as ugly Eliot Spitzer needed to pay women to have sex with him, but we’re surprised as hell that he wasn’t too busy having fun with Silda to be seeking out the services of professionals.
Before she was First Lady of New York, Silda made a name for herself in law and banking, specializing in mergers, acquisitions, and corporate finance. After divorcing Eliot in 2013, she took millions of dollars in court-ordered alimony with her.
4. Donald and Melania Trump
The Dark Horse Republican candidate of the 2016 presidential race, Donald Trump has already had great television experience playing a no-nonsense capitalist on the reality show The Apprentice, so the role he’s currently playing is perfect for him.
That said, in all fairness, he’s not much of a looker. In fact he looks pretty weird. And it’s not just because of how he’s aged. If anything, being older gives him a good excuse for how he looks, because when you go back to photos of him from the 80s, the man looks even weirder than he does now. Something about his face just looks… crusty. And for someone who constantly slams people, especially women, for being overweight, Donald Trump is actually clinically obese.
3. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver
Arnold Schwarzenegger, ugly? Well yeah. Of course the man’s physique is unquestionably superlative as history’s greatest body building prodigy. But can we not agree that the Terminator actor and former Governor of California is a “butter face?” Or at least that there’s definitely no possible way the man could have had such hot daughters without Maria Shriver‘s help? Yeah, I thought we could agree on that. And it’s truly amazing that Arnold’s contribution to the baby Schwarzeneggers didn’t mess up what they’ve got going for them from their mom.
She’s gorgeous. He’s just a big, ugly dude. In the picture above, which is a screenshot from a video Shriver did for an Alzheimer’s charity, she’s 60 years old. Aged like a fine wine. Absolutely gorgeous.
2. Andrew Cuomo and Sandra Lee
Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York… at least he’s not as ugly as Mario Cuomo, but still not exactly GQ cover material. And he’s not nearly as ugly as the fallout from his agenda as New York’s HUD Secretary, pushing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy more subprime mortgage loans.
But he’s not nearly as good looking as his beautiful partner, celebrity chef Sandra Lee. The two have been living together for years now in her $1.2 million Westchester home and plan to get married someday. Lee made a big splash on home shopping network, QVC, when she was hired as on-air talent to sell their products and she helped move $20 million worth in her first 18 months.
After that, she premiered a show on the Food Network, Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee, won a daytime Emmy, and started a monthly lifestyle magazine in partnership with TV Guide. The two met at a Hamptons Cocktail Party.
1. Peter Orszag and Bianna Golodryga
Now, Peter Orszag isn’t a politician in the sense of someone who runs for office, but he was a very notable face of the Obama Administration as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act referred to commonly as ObamaCare.
The way he looks can best be described as: everything weird about how Harold Ramis looked, only more of it. His wife on the other hand is exquisite. Bianna Golodryga is a news and finance anchor at Yahoo. When she and Peter met at a White House Correspondents Dinner, she was an ABC News correspondent.
We hope the kids take after their mom.