Study Guide

Hope Was Here Politics

By Joan Bauer

Politics

"Who's running against him?"

"Nobody. He's too powerful." (29)

Is it really Mayor Millstone who's "too powerful" or is the Real Fresh Dairy the one with all the pull? We're getting our first whiff of the stink that comes from mixing money and politics.

"I'm sure glad you're here to run things, Addie, so I can go make a fool of myself in politics." (13)

Ah, the irony of it all. G.T. actually makes a fool out of the corrupt politicians who control Mulhoney, definitely not himself. Sounds like he knows what he's getting himself into.

I knew zip about politics, but admitting that would not have been shrewd. "I want to help. Is it okay I can't vote yet?" (45)

Bauer demonstrates her craftiness here by using "shrewd" and "politics" in the same sentence.

"It takes a clear vision to win in politics. You clarify that—ram that baby home whenever someone asks you a question—doesn't matter what the question is; doesn't matter who's asking—just find a way to jump into the vision thing and you'll sting like a bee." (63)

Could you clarify that for us, Sid? We're not quite feeling the sting. Fun fact: Sid (and Bauer) might have been inspired by a statement by the first President Bush about "the vision thing"—something he was told he wasn't good at and that some think lost him the election against Bill Clinton (source).

"Basically," Sid Vole explains, "the whole messy game of politics is about trust. (64)

Can G.T. really trust Sid Vole? Can anyone really trust a spin doctor? He's all about spin, for Pete's sake. He doctors the truth.

I miss the way Morty the cabdriver talked about politics— he'd sit at the counter, pounding his knife, spearing dinner rolls, screaming that politicians were out to get the little guy. (64)

Morty's feelings seem as real as the knife in his hand. Seems like Hope misses his passion and his honesty. She discovers some of Morty's fire in herself later in G.T.'s campaign.

"Politics is war—don't ever forget that." (65)

Let's hope Sid Vole didn't make bumper stickers out of this one. G.T.'s more of a "Peace…Not War" kind of guy. He's not going to take the low road no matter what.

"How many of us understand politics?" No hands were raised. "How many of us have any idea how to get someone elected?" (68)

G.T. might not understand politics at first, but he seems to have the right idea for getting elected: show your true colors. Many of G.T.'s supporters are political newbies. They need all the advice they can get.

But like Sid Vole said, you never stand still in politics, you keep blazing new trails on the campaign front and looking behind you in case the opposition is trying to steal your wallet. (69)

Or trying to bribe local officials to look the other way when the evil Carbinger brothers steal stuff from your house.

G.T. had figured out the big concept in government. "Politics," he kept telling us, "isn't about power, control, or manipulation. It's about serving up your very best." (176)

G.T. always served up his very best. He would have made a great president.

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