There are many reasons why most clear-thinking Australians spurn the very idea of running for political office.
The constant criticism from the public, vitriolic attacks from political opponents (and sometimes your own party), loss of privacy, hellish hours, long periods away from family and friends, interminable school fetes and relatively poor pay compared to many other professions that require a fraction of the commitment.
But for me the deal-breaker would be the cartoons.
Don't get me wrong. I love a good cartoon, and I'm in awe of the ability of great cartoonists (like the Mercury's Vince O'Farrell) to get to the heart of some weighty political debate with just a few pithy words and a clever drawing.
A cartoon is the heart and soul of a newspaper - lightening readers' days with some smart piece of satire, or making a more sombre comment when circumstances demand.
But cartoonists are cruel to politicians, homing in mercilessly on their most distinctive physical features.
Like big ears. Billy McMahon, who was prime minister from 1971-1972. He was cruelly depicted as a VW Beetle - with the doors open. And that was exactly what he looked like.
Or red hair and a pointy nose. Let's face it, our current prime minister is a cartoonist's delight.
The Australian's Bill Leak got to the heart of the matter with Kevin Rudd, depicting him as the boy-ish comic-book hero Tintin, while the Herald's Alan Moir loves to depict Opposition Leader Tony Abbott as tough guy comic character Popeye.
Cartoonists also love to remind politicians of some of their most embarrassing moments.
Ron Tandberg, who has drawn for The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald in a long and illustrious career, is still sending up former governor-general Sir John Kerr, who famously appeared to be drunk at the Melbourne Cup presentation in 1977.
Tandberg recently took great delight in resurrecting his images of Kerr with wine bottle in hand and top hat askew when the former governor-general was in the headlines again, after it was revealed that, prior to the dismissal of the Whitlam government in 1975, he had ignored legal advice that he should warn Whitlam he was in danger of being sacked.
But my favourite Tandberg cartoon appeared on the front page of the Herald in 1979, the day after Hyperno beat Salamander and Red Nose in the Cup. Tandberg drew two horses, Hyperno and Salamander, crossing the line, followed by third-placed Red Nose, depicted as a sozzled little top-hatted Kerr with a very large red nose. Sheer brilliance.
Which brings me to the point of this week's column.
David Campbell, former lord mayor of Wollongong and long-serving NSW Labor minister, was a favourite target for cartoonists, who liked to depict him as a walrus (among other things).
But Campbell had a thick skin, and always took the cartoons in good grace. In fact, he collected and framed them - displaying them as a badge of honour on his ministerial office walls.
From this Thursday evening the University of Wollongong Library is hosting an exhibition of Campbell's cartoons.
It's a fun retrospective of his long career through the eyes of cartoonists. Do yourself a favour and drop in to the UOW Library for a look and laugh.
Nick Hartgerink is a former Mercury editor who runs his own media consultancy. The University of Wollongong is one of his clients.