Created By: randomsurfer on October 1, 2011 Last Edited By: erforce on September 5, 2012
Troped

Politicians Kiss Babies

If you want to get elected, be prepared to kiss a lot of babies.

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Trope
When someone - usually a male someone - decides to run for public office, one of the things he is expected to do during the campaign is kiss the babies of female potential voters. Somehow this will prove that he's not evil and can be trusted to run the [country/state/county/city/dog pound] properly.

Subversions in which the baby is shaken, autographed, or otherwise mishandled by a confused candidate are common

Related to Friend to All Children and Photo Op with the Dog.

Examples:

Comics
  • A The Bash Street Kids strip has the teacher tell the class that they will be electing a head boy by democratic vote. Plug references the trope saying that politicians get votes by kissing babies, so he goes to kiss some at a nursery. But because Plug's ugly, the babies scream and gets thrown out without a kiss.

Film - Animation
  • In An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, Cat R. Waul kisses Yasha to convince the mice that he's harmless.
  • In Metroman's first appearance in Megamind. He juggles some babies, then kisses one of them in front of a huge crowd (who already loves him).

Film - Live-Action
  • In The Shaggy DA Wilby Daniels decides to run for District Attorney in order to clean up the corruption in the town. At one point he's talking with a female voter with a perambulator; the kid inside has a dirty, sticky face, but the woman gives him a look waiting for him to kiss her baby. He does so, leaving him with a facefull of chocolate. Just at that moment a photographer from the local paper decides to take Wilby's picture.
  • In the opening of The Emperor's New Groove, Kuzco is presented with three babies to kiss. He simply stamps them with a kiss mark stamper.
  • In The Hunt for Red October, NSA advisor Jeffrey Pelt tells Jack Ryan "I'm a politician, which means that I'm a cheat and a liar. And if I'm not kissing babies, I'm stealing their lollipops.".
  • In the 2012 film The Campaign the two candidates for office get into a fight over which is going to kiss a particular baby. Will Ferrell's character ends up punching the baby in the struggle.
  • In The Great Dictator, Adenoid Hinkel kisses some babies after a rally. The baby pisses on him.

Literature
  • In one science fiction short story, this caused an interstellar war. Upon First Contact with an alien race (that looked like teddy bears), an astronaut decided to do this. Unfortunately, humans looked like a kind of animal on the alien race's home planet that had the habit of carrying off babies to eat them and the astronaut's motives were misconstrued.
  • Bad Kitty for President makes use of this trope, as it's an election parody where Bad Kitty is running for president of the neighborhood cats. The narrator brings up the kissing babies trope and has kitty kiss the baby of the humans she lives with.

Live Action TV
  • The Late Show with David Letterman: In a joke about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Letterman said when running for office Christie "got confused. Kissed a blintz, ate a baby!"
    • Another Letterman gag: in "Top 10 signs [then Presidential candidate] Herman Cain is losing it."
      Kissed a picture of himself and signed a baby
  • Parodied in an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, where Mac tries to get a woman to give her baby to him so that Dennis can kiss it. Naturally, she's a little weirded out.
  • On Seinfeld Kramer runs for president of a retirement home's condo board; this involves treating some of the senior citizens there like the babies in this trope.
  • In the 1966 Batman series when the Penguin runs for Mayor of Gotham he kisses babies.
  • Subverted by "Mr Hilter" in Monty Python's Flying Circus while canvassing for the North Minehead By-Election.
    Mother: I gave him my baby to kiss, and he bit it - on the head!
  • In an episode of Sliders where Professor Arturo runs for Mayor of San Francisco, he screws this up by chasing after a woman shouting "Madam, I need to kiss your baby!"
  • My Hero has Piers Crispin kissing small children during his attempt to campaign for Mayor in one episode, though it backfires when he tries to kiss Ollie and gets punched in the face (Ollie being the son of George Sunday/Thermoman, and thus a superbaby).

Magazine
  • Mentioned in a MAD Magazine article from 1962 (also an early version of the Russian Reversal): "Russian politics can best be understood by comparing them with American politics. For instance, in America, politicians have to kiss babies, and if they don't, the mothers can take their offices away from them. In Russia, the system is somewhat different. To get food, mothers have to kiss politicians and if they don't, the politicians can take their babies away from them."

Music
  • Invoked by the cover art of Tankard's Two Faced album, which shows a literally two-faced politician holding a baby.

Newspaper Comics
  • Pearls Before Swine made a parody of this. Rat was trying to win the election, but he couldn't come to a baseball event, so he sent Pig in his place to kiss a baby and throw a baseball out to the field. This cost Rat the election, because Pig kissed the baseball, and threw a baby out to the field!
  • Bizarro (by Piraro) comic for April 24th, 2012. A Funny Animal cat politician is shown licking a kitten held by a female supporter.

Video Games
  • In the iOS game Highborn, when campaigning for Foozle, Monty orders his children to go out and hold a rally. Being dragons, he has to remind them to just kiss the babies, not eat them.

Webcomics

Western Animation
  • An episode of Recess has the equivalent for kids; kissing pets. The boys tries to discredit Gretchen (who's running against Vince for class president on a platform of "Girls for Gretchen", although she genuinely wants to do a good job) by having her asked to kiss a pet lizard. She gets out of it by claiming to have a cold.
  • In the Looney Tunes short "Ballot Box Bunny", Yosemite Sam's campaigning for mayor includes kissing babies, none of which seem to enjoy it. Bugs Bunny disguises himself as a baby and kisses him, then cries that "the bad man bit my widdle nose!", and all the women start to hit Sam over the head with their umbrellas.
  • On one episode of The Powerpuff Girls the mayor was running for his re-election, he mentioned that it was one of his favorite parts.
  • Done in The Mask cartoon. Of course, when the Mask himself ran for the mayor, he kissed babes instead.
  • There was a nasty gag based on this in Family Guy, involving Peter kissing two babies but refusing to kiss a particulary ugly/deformed child.
  • Futurama: when the head of Richard Nixon runs for President of Earth wearing Bender's body, he pulls a baby out of the chest cavity and kisses it.
    Bender's Head: Great. First he steals my body, now he's touching my stuff.
  • In Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law episode "Guitar Control", Phil tries this during one of his Presidential Election rallies, but mixes things up a bit.
    Shake hand, kiss baby, shake hand, kiss baby, shake hand, shake baby, kiss hand, shake baby, kiss hand...
  • Parodied in Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law in the episode . As Phil is doing this on the order and starts kissing hands and shaking babies.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "The Mom Attractor," Dr. Doofenschmirtz's evil scheme is to create a giant baby that cries whenever his brother (the Mayor) kisses a baby, so people won't vote for him.
  • In an episode of Garfield and Friends, specifically the Orson's Farm/U.S. Acres segment, Roy Rooster kisses eggs when running for the title of "leader of the barnyard", since he is a male chicken, and chickens lay eggs.
  • An episode of The Simpsons has Mr. Burns running for governor, and there's a scene where he mentions that he needs to go off and do this.
  • In an episode of Dog City, Dogfather Bugsy Vile rigs a mayoral election and wins with just five votes. Among his duties are kissing babies and christening a ship with champagne bottle. Hilarity ensues when he gets the two just a little mixed up....

Real Life (especially notable examples only)
  • Vladimir Putin was also known to kiss fish for this purpose.
  • Punk rock vocalist Jello Biafra ran for mayor of San Francisco in the late 1970's and inverted this trope: he kissed hands and shook babies.
  • Romanian dictator Ceaucescu used to do this. Problem: He was a germophobe, so the kids had to be... prepared before that.
  • Notably, Andrew Jackson was the first president to be offered a baby to kiss. He refused, instead complimenting the infant and then handing it over to his Secretary of War to kiss instead.
Community Feedback Replies: 65
  • October 1, 2011
    Teddroe
    Parodied in an episode of Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia, where Mac tries to get a woman to give her baby to him so that Dennis can kiss it. Naturally, she's a little weirded out.
  • October 1, 2011
    Bisected8
    • An episode of Recess has the equivalent for kids; kissing pets. The boys tries to discredit Gretchen (who's running against Vince for class president on a platform of "Girls for Gretchen", although she genuinely wants to do a good job) by having her asked to kiss a pet lizard. She gets out of it by claiming to have a cold.
  • October 1, 2011
    aurora369
    Putin was also known to kiss fish for this purpose.
  • October 1, 2011
    EgregiousEric
  • October 1, 2011
    TonyG
    • In the opening of The Emperors New Groove, Kuzco is presented with three babies to kiss. He simply stamps them with a kiss mark stamper.
    • In the Looney Tunes short "Ballot Box Bunny", Yosemite Sam's campaigning for mayor includes kissing babies, none of which seem to enjoy it. Bugs Bunny disguises himself as a baby and kisses him, then cries that "the bad man bit my widdle nose!", and all the women start to hit Sam over the head with their umbrellas.
  • October 1, 2011
    PacificState
    We need a Hitler photo on top, doing this.
  • October 1, 2011
    Damr1990
    • On One episode of the Power Puff Girls, the mayor was running for his re-election, he mentioned that it was one of his favorite parts
  • October 1, 2011
    LuxExterior
    For Real Life:

  • October 1, 2011
    Prfnoff
    In The Great Dictator, Adenoid Hynkel poses with a baby in his arms, and then immediately afterwards has to wipe his hands.
  • October 1, 2011
    packardcaribien
    No pictures of Hitler doing this. But, I found this: http://simplifythepositive.blogspot.com/2008/08/obama-back-to-kissing-babies.html
  • October 1, 2011
    Jergling
    Can we have an inversion section called "Politicians Eat Babies"? This is actually seen pretty regularly in parody news. There used to be an endless supply of pictures of G.W. Bush eating kittens, and there was a controversial newspaper comic that showed the Israeli prime minister eating a baby. (Bonus points for that one, the text says "What, you've never seen a politician kiss a baby before?")
  • October 1, 2011
    Deboss
    Suggest Hand Shaking And Baby Kissing, which is the most common way I've heard of this.
  • October 2, 2011
    robybang
    ^^ There's already a trope for when a politician Eats Babies.
  • October 3, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    Done in The Mask cartoon. Of course, when the Mask khimself ran for the mayor, he kissed babes instead.
  • October 3, 2011
    Frank75
    I know that Hitler used to pat children's heads, but nothing about kissing babies.

    Romanian dictator Ceaucescu used to do this, however. Problem: He was a germophobe, so the kids had to be... prepared before that.
  • October 15, 2011
    RavenWilder
    On Seinfeld Kramer runs for president of a retirement home's condo board; this involves treating some of the senior citizens there like the babies in this trope.
  • October 16, 2011
    MorganWick
    There's a cartoon where Yosemite Sam is running against Bugs Bunny for mayor and starts kissing babies. Hilarity Ensues.
  • October 16, 2011
    elwoz
    I'm pretty sure this got used in The Wizard Of Id, but can't remember any specific examples.
  • October 17, 2011
    Ryuuma
    I may be wrong, but there was a nasty gag based on this in Family Guy, involving Peter kissing two babies but refusing to kiss a particulary ugly/deformed child.
  • November 8, 2011
    randomsurfer
    • Futurama: when the head of Richard Nixon runs for President of Earth wearing Bender's body, he pulls a baby out of the chest cavity and kisses it.
      Bender: Great. First he steals my body, now he's touching my stuff.
    • Another Letterman gag: in "Top 10 signs [Republican Presidential candidate] Herman Cain is losing it."
      Kissed a picture of himself and signed a baby
  • November 9, 2011
    Premonition45
    In The Hunt For Red October, NSA advisor Jeffrey Pelt tells Jack Ryan "I'm a politician, which means that I'm a cheat and a liar. And if I'm not kissing babies, I'm stealing their lollipops.".
  • December 3, 2011
    Oreochan
    Bump.
  • December 3, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
  • December 17, 2011
    TiggersAreGreat
    Newspaper Comics

    • Pearls Before Swine: One episode made a parody of this. Rat was trying to win the election, but he couldn't come to a baseball event, so he sent Pig in his place to kiss a baby and throw a baseball out to the field. This cost Rat the election, because Pig kissed the baseball, and threw a baby out to the field!
  • December 17, 2011
    ArtyMorty
    In the 1966 Batman series when the Penguin was running for Mayor of Gotham he was kissing a Baby.
  • February 9, 2012
    animeg3282
    We should mention the time Obama tried to kiss a baby, and it ended up putting its hand in Obama's mouth.
  • February 10, 2012
    randomsurfer
    ^If you're referring to this, he wasn't kissing the baby at the time, just holding it while posing for a Photo Op.
  • February 10, 2012
    dotchan
    Related trope: Photo Op With The Dog.
  • February 11, 2012
    JoeG
    • In one science fiction short story, this caused an interstellar war. Upon First Contact with an alien race (that looked like teddy bears), an astronaut decided to do this. Unfortunately, humans looked like a kind of animal on the alien race's home planet that had the habit of carrying off babies to eat them and the astronaut's motives were misconstrued.
  • February 21, 2012
    randomsurfer
    About ready to launch I think; but does anyone know the name of the short story Joe G mentions above?
  • February 22, 2012
    JoeG
    Sorry, I don't remember the title or author. I read it in either Analog or Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction sometime in the mid to late eighties.
  • February 22, 2012
    KevinKlawitter
    Notably, Andrew Jackson was the first president to be offered a baby to kiss. He refused, instead complimenting the infant and then handing it over to his Secretary of War to kiss instead.

    Other Presidents who refused to kiss babies include Benjamin Harrison, Grover Cleveland, and Richard Nixon. Draw whatever conclusions you wish.
  • February 22, 2012
    LeeM
    Subverted by "Mr Hilter" in Monty Pythons Flying Circus while canvassing for the North Minehead By-Election.
    Mother: I gave him my baby to kiss, and he bit it - on the head!
  • April 13, 2012
    Dawnwing
    • In the iOS game Highborn, when campaigning for Foozle, Monty orders his children to go out and hold a rally. Being dragons, he has to remind them to just kiss the babies, not eat them.
  • April 13, 2012
    TwentyTwoSevenths
  • April 14, 2012
    Aquila89
    Mentioned in a MAD Magazine article from 1962 (also an early version of the Russian Reversal): "Russian politics can best be understood by comparing them with American politics. For instance, in America, politicians have to kiss babies, and if they don't, the mothers can take their offices away from them. In Russia, the system is somewhat different. To get food, mothers have to kiss politicians and if they don't, the politicians can take their babies away from them."
  • April 16, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Shit's going down in my life so I'm putting this Up For Grabs to anyone who wants to launch.
  • April 21, 2012
    Prfnoff
    "He wasn't kissing the baby at the time, just holding it while posing for a Photo Op."

    I think the definition should be expanded to cover that. Anyone agree?
  • April 23, 2012
    elwoz
    ^ Makes sense to me. Maybe also other standard political publicity stunts involving children, e.g. reading stories at a primary school or library.
  • April 23, 2012
    Astaroth
    Isn't there a poster of President Koopa kissing a baby dinosaur (or possibly an egg) in the Super Mario Bros film? It's been a while since I watched it
  • April 23, 2012
    chicagomel
    Literature: Bad Kitty For President makes use of this trope.
  • April 30, 2012
    Arivne
    Newspaper Comics
  • April 30, 2012
    TheHandle
    • In The Great Dictator, Adenoid Hinkel kisses some babies after a rally. The baby pisses on him.
  • May 1, 2012
    StevenT
  • May 1, 2012
    robinjohnson
    • In an episode of Sliders where Professor Arturo runs for Mayor of San Francisco, he screws this up by chasing after a woman shouting "Madam, I need to kiss your baby!"
  • May 1, 2012
    chicagomel
    oops I didn't elaborate on mine, the 'Bad Kitty' one. It's an election parody where Bad Kitty is running for president of the neighborhood cats. The narrator brings up the kissing babies trope and has kitty kiss the baby of the humans she lives with.
  • May 1, 2012
    TooBah
    In his first appearance in Megamind, in front of a huge crowd (who already loves him), Metroman juggles some babies, then kisses one of them.
  • June 22, 2012
    Noah1
  • July 7, 2012
    Goldfritha
  • July 25, 2012
    isk2837
    My Hero has Piers Crispin kissing small children during his attempt to campaign for Mayor in one episode, though it backfires when he tries to kiss Ollie and gets punched in the face (Ollie being the son of George Sunday/Thermoman, and thus a superbaby).
  • July 25, 2012
    AgProv
    When Adolf Hilter is standing for parliament in North Minehead, a mother complains "I gave him my baby to kiss, and he bit it!"

    (TV: Monty Python's Flying Circus)
  • July 25, 2012
    Noah1
  • July 26, 2012
    erforce
    • Invoked by the cover art of Tankard's Two Faced album, which shows a literally two-faced politician holding a baby.
  • July 27, 2012
    triassicranger
    A The Bash Street Kids strip has the teacher tell the class that they will be electing a head boy by democratic vote. Plug references the trope saying that politicians get votes by kissing babies, so he goes to kiss some at a nursery. But because Plug's ugly, the babies scream and gets thrown out without a kiss.
  • July 27, 2012
    TooBah
    In the Phineas And Ferb episode "The Mom Attractor," Dr. Doofenschmirtz's evil scheme is to create a giant baby that cries whenever his brother (the Mayor) kisses a baby, so people won't vote for him. Uh, yeah.
  • July 27, 2012
    SuperGex
    In an episode of Garfield And Friends, specifically the Orson's Farm/U.S. Acres segment, Roy Rooster kisses eggs when running for the title of "leader of the barnyard", since he is a male chicken, and chickens lay eggs.
  • July 27, 2012
    MrRuano
    • Parodied in Harvey Birdman Attorney At Law in the episode "Guitar Control". As Phil is doing this on one of his Presidential Election rallies, he accidentally mixes up the order and starts kissing hands and shaking babies.
  • July 27, 2012
    AP
    • There are pictures of both George W Bush and Barack Obama attempting to hold or kiss babies, only for them to start screaming.
  • July 28, 2012
    triassicranger
    An episode of The Simpsons where Mr. Burns was running for governor has a scene where he mentions he needs to go off and do this.
  • August 28, 2012
    TonyG
  • August 29, 2012
    elwoz
  • August 30, 2012
    erforce
    There's definetely enough examples, but description needs work.
  • September 4, 2012
    HaggisMcCrablice
    In an episode of Dog City, Dogfather Bugsy Vile rigs a mayoral election and wins with just five votes. Among his duties are kissing babies and christening a ship with champagne bottle. Hilarity ensues when he gets the two just a little mixed up....
  • September 5, 2012
    SharleeD
    There are definitely enough subversions here that they ought to be mentioned in the description, e.g. "Subversions in which the baby is shaken, autographed, or otherwise mishandled by a confused candidate are common."
  • September 5, 2012
    ScanVisor
    I haven't been on the YKTTW in months. This is still here. Just Launch It Already

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

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