Matt Wuerker, Scott Stantis on NPR talking about cartooning the president

Editorial cartoon by Scott Stantis

NPR’s All Things Considered talks to Matt Wuerker and Scott Stantis on the evolving image presented by cartoonists after the first four years of Obama’s presidency.

President Obama would not be the first president to suffer a diminishment of his cartoon image over eight years in office. Jimmy Carter, says Stantis, “was diminished to about ? he was standing about 3 1/2 feet tall. You had Bill Clinton, who just became this big, doughy, sensualist character.” George W. Bush, he adds, “devolved into a demonic Keebler elf.”

So what’s happened to Obama’s image?

23 thoughts on “Matt Wuerker, Scott Stantis on NPR talking about cartooning the president

  1. Jimmy Carter was the coming of the anti-Nixon – a religiously pure, smiling, honest, righteous crusader for presidential goodness. The result was four years of incompetence that, fortunately, didn’t do too much damage.

    Obama was the coming of the anti-Bush – an intellectually sophisticated, well-educated, articulate, “progressive” who was seen as a Lincoln/FDR/JFK messiah. The result has been four years of a wrongheaded acceleration of dangerous indebtedness to almost no discernible positive effects, a withdrawal from America’s traditional role of global leadership with a consequent increase in international instability, an even greater political divisiveness with no end in sight, a piling on of thousands of pages of regulations that act as sludge in an already stagnant economy, etc. The resultant diminishment of his cartoon image is due to one sad fact – he’s a much-diminished president who has done enormous damage over the last four years in his efforts to turn us into a European welfare state (those countries are doing great, aren’t they?) and who knows how much more damage to come in the next four.

  2. No, Jim, a “hopeless ideologue” is someone who, presented with a thoughtful professional dialogue from both sides of the aisle on a site dedicated to cartooning issues doesn’t even begin to address the professional issues presented — possibly didn’t even bother to read the summary, much less listen to the actual audio of what was a short but interesting conversation — but simply flies off into a tirade about the politics of the presidents mentioned in the brief summary.

    It’s someone who can’t conduct an intelligent, relevant conversation. As opposed to a “hopeless optimist” who thinks pointing it out might in some way change things, even when he knows the meaning of “hopeless.”

    Yes. In other words, I’m a communist.

  3. Confession is good for the soul.

    The audio link didn’t work for me, I did read the article.The article didn’t cover every single angle of the concept of how this president is presented by ed cartoonists. Examples were given that as the years wore on and previous presidents started screwing up their images changed to reflect that. But as Obama’s failures solidify into the new normal, the cartoonists who were so uncritical of him four years ago generally remain so to this day (I hardly call having fun with his goofy smile and making his ears bigger much in the way of critique). To that end you are correct, the hopeless ideologues in the cheering section for Obama refuse to be the searing satirical iconoclasts they think they are and have just become pillow fluffers for The Man.

  4. Obama’s successes:
    1. Saved the USA from a second Great Depression and stabilized the economy.
    2. Passed reforms that will finally give all Americans access to health care insurance.
    3. Ended 2 wars, one of which was fought by what could very charitably called mistake.
    4. Advanced legislation to secure the civil rights of a number of groups previously denied them.
    5. Appointed 2 Supreme Court justices who don’t want to return the United States to 1787.
    6. Ended the destructive domination of 30+ years of neo-laissez faire economics and made it respectable to discuss the role government really plays in the nation’s economic welfare.

    I could, of course, go on. I do agree with the tin foil hat crowd about one thing, though–Obama’s got really big ears.

  5. My head continues to spin from all of this political fencing. I am still trying to figure out how Conservatives blame the Democrats for all of this excess government, when they are the ones who took us into an 8 year war that yielded no results, yet you claim to demand results. I also can’t understand how they want less government spending when Republicans have outspent Democrats 3 to 2 over the last 30 years. But let’s talk politics on a cartoonists forum…..It’s a good way to make friends.

  6. Let’s blame our spouse, get another credit card and max it out, too! Obama’s definitely been caricatured and portrayed more honestly by cartoonists than in the mainstream media. He did a remarkable job covering up the Benghazi and Petraeus scandals before the election.

  7. Your repy is not responsive. In fact it is sophmoric Fox-news fed jingoism. As Secretary Clinton asked today, ‘What difference does it make now?’

    That is the elephant in the room. There is no non-partisan answer to that. But I clearly recall intense GOP pressure to intervene in Libya, but not a peep about increasing spending for more embasy security there or anywhere else in the world.

  8. Sophomoric? Integrity and taking responsibility for your own actions is something I learned in Kindergarten. Along with debt, maybe we can raise the deceit ceiling.

  9. The President cannot spend a dime. It is all Congress. Again GOP dominated going back a decade. Honestly fund two wars? Nonsense write bad checks and cry the other side is irresponsible. Obama looks to me to be taking responsibility for his GOP predecessors.

    It is fine to believe what you want to believe. Unfortunately I have a long memory; and do not ever watch television news.

  10. A stale, condescending political lesson doesn’t answer the question. I guess it’ll be four more years of “What difference does it make now?” Must be the ALCU’s excuse for ignoring the amateur video scapegoat jailed for freedom of expression. .

  11. @Joe Engesser
    I’m dumbfounded by the insistence of the folks who are trying to manufacture a cover up of the events in Benghazi that it’s just ridiculous to suggest an “amateur video” could’ve inspired the attack. Not only have even sillier productions inspired even worse violence(i.e.the Muhammed cartoons), but that particular video set off nearly 2 weeks of rioting all across the Muslim world. In fact, the attack on Benghazi was at least partially inspired by the attack on the embassy in Cairo that immediately proceeded it, which no one disputes was a reaction to the video. Obviously, there was a problem with security with that embassy, but equally obviously, it wasn’t Watergate. Which is why, outside of folks who think the Americans With Disabilities Act is a UN conspiracy, it’s a non-issue.

  12. Hey, one man’s condescending political lesson is another man’s Constitution of the United States.

    As to partisanship, I am a proud non-voter since the Carter-Ford election. I watch all aspects of government and to a lessor degree politics and think about it for myself.

    You still have not expressed any reason for your position except to indicate the conservative party line; that has no reason beyond ‘make Obama a one term President.’ And even that abject failure does not change their rhetoric; which is not about governance, but only to fend off a more radical opponent in the next primary election.

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