Low Concept

The Political Solar System

Forget the Hillary New York Times Magazine cover.

Photo illustraton by Lisa Larson-Walker

The New York Times Magazine isn’t the only news outlet who can rip off Georges Méliès to satirize politicians. Here are the planets the Slate staff thinks best align with the various gaseous bodies that constitute American politics.

The sun: Barack Obama, whose sheer political mass will dictate the orbit of his political peers … until 2016.

Mercury: Paul Ryan—like the patron god of financial gain, he’s fleet-footed (thanks, P90X!) and a bit of an errand boy for the GOP.


Venus: Sarah Palin—pretty but poisonous, and full of hot air.

Earth: Al Gore, naturally.

Moon: Newt Gingrich, fulfilling his lifelong dreams.

Mars: Chris Christie—like the god of war, you do not want to incur his wrath and his resulting reddish complexion.

Jupiter: Bill Clinton—notorious for his unfaithfulness, yet still looming large in the political solar system.

Saturn: Hillary Clinton—always slightly in Jupiter’s shadow, she is often characterized by her icy atmosphere.

Uranus: Ken Cuccinelli.

Neptune: John Kerry, god of the sea!

Pluto: Donald Trump. Sometimes he’s a politician, sometimes he’s not. And he’s way, way out there.