Comic Strip of the Day: The End of the Beginning

“This is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end,
but it is perhaps the end of the beginning.”
— Winston Churchill, Nov. 10, 1942

Ann Telnaes reflects my own mood at the moment: He’s completely hemmed in, but it hasn’t stopped him from tweeting.

I’ll confess that, when Nixon was up against the wall, I expected him to escape. He’d already won his second term, so there was no grand reckoning to come at the hands of the voters, and I felt the loyalty of his followers, the reluctance of Republicans to kick over the table and the lack of a smoking gun would keep him in place, even with a Democratic House pondering impeachment.

Nixon had a helluva good hole card: He was able to announce a peace treaty with Vietnam in January, 1973, which hardly saved our allies in the South but included the release of the POWs over the next few months.

Trump hasn’t got anything nearly that amazing up his sleeve: Bragging about mythical coal mining jobs and a rising stock market gives his faithful something to cling to, but it’s simply not in the same league.

Also Watergate had more outrageous, less technical crimes.

It was more than simply paying some anti-Castro activists to break into an office.

By the time it had played out, it involved burglary at Daniel Ellsburg’s psychiatrist’s office, undermining of Democratic candidates with forged documents and an absolutely clear line between the President and the felons.

And while Trump has his birthers and other tin-hat loyalists behind him, there was never an explanation for the stifling of Martha Mitchell, much less the death of Howard Hunt’s wife, that satisfied conspiracy theorists.

(The Martha Mitchell part isn’t completely out of date, by the way.)

Anyway, the answer to the kids in the back of the car is, no, we’re not there yet.

We’re only at the John Dean part. (June, 1973)

We’re not quite at the Alexander Butterfield’s revelation of the taping system part (July, 1973), which, in turn, was a full year away from the Supreme Court’s unanimous order that the tapes be turned over.



Though I agree with Matt Davies that Mueller is compiling a good collection of accomplishments. We’ll see where it goes.

And I particularly like Davies’ take because, while several cartoonists have depicted Mueller as a successful “witch hunter,” I don’t see him waving any trophies. That’s good.

It’s just another day at the office as he quietly, methodically goes about his business.


It reminds me of a Nigerian folktale Marina Tay and I retold a few years ago, in which a hawk is warned by his friends to prey on the chickens, who raise all kinds of hysterical hell when he raids their flock, rather than the owls, who simply sit and watch.

“Let that be your food and you will have a long and prosperous life.”

The hawk looked at him quizzically. “But I have just told you how they shouted and threatened and chased after me!”

“Indeed,” his wise friend said. “And that is all they did, was to shout and threaten and chase. You have no need to fear them. No, the ones you must fear are those who, like the owl, sit and watch and say nothing while you do them harm. They will be silent now, but when it becomes dark and you have fallen asleep, they will come to settle the score.”

Hurry, Sundown


Speaking of Martha Mitchell

(Jeff Danziger)

(Lee Judge)

It’s nice to see a couple of cartoonists stand up for Melania.

I wouldn’t go as far as the woman in Lee Judge’s cartoon. For one thing, Melania’s foreign-born and thus ineligible, and, besides, we don’t live in the kind of backwards Banana Republic where the followers of a popular president would try to elect his wife in order to continue the legacy.

Given her preferences, I suspect Melania would rather be a Laura Bush or Pat Nixon, an almost-ghost who appears for photos and makes the bare minimal gestures of First-Ladyness, but, nonetheless, she’s drawn flak in part for being Mrs. Donald Trump and, I think, in part for being a model.

People call her hypocritical for her cyberbullying campaign, but they’ve also attacked her for having once echoed her husband’s birther theory, so she’s wrong whether she implicitly attacks or defends him.

Okay, she fell for the birther thing. But she wouldn’t be Mrs. Donald Trump if she weren’t a little bit gullible, and the issue isn’t whether you can be fooled but whether you wake the hell up.

My scorecard for Melania includes this:

She reportedly wept when he won the election.
She refused to disrupt her son’s school year and rush to DC like a dutiful little wife.
She has slapped his hand away multiple times rather than be his photo-op bride.
She touched off a rage when he found she’d been watching CNN rather than Fox.

Plus I’m putting an asterisk after “kidney problem*” because I’m not immune to conspiracy theories myself and I suspect she is brave to occasionally speak out in favor of decent behavior.

And to watch CNN instead of Fox.

She’s not the first First Lady to sleep in a different room, so you can’t go by that.

Still, she’s the first one whose husband is up at all hours eating junk food and tweeting nonsense.

I suspect she just doesn’t like crumbs in her bed.

One in particular.



I’d love to see Mueller land this fish, but I’m with Edison Lee.

For one thing, if Congress remains in the hands of the GOP, Mueller could produce that body on Fifth Avenue, a gun with fingerprints and video of the shooting and there still wouldn’t be a grumble from the Capitol.

And, for another, there was a reason they forced Spiro Agnew to step down before they began leaning on Nixon. I’m not eager to live under President Pence.

If voters restore a balance of power in November, we’ll get through.

If not, then we’ll have the government we deserve.


2 thoughts on “Comic Strip of the Day: The End of the Beginning

  1. Little known fact about Melania: her marriage to Little Lord Tuperoy was part of a business deal between him and her father, who was a developer in East Europe and wanted the Trump brand on a project of his own. So in addition to the usual money and attention, he threw in his daughter as well. Nice guy.

    People wonder why she stays with him. My guess is that it’s twofold: (1) a pre nup that gives her nothing whatsoever if she leaves, coupled with (2) an autistic, special needs son. Cheeto doesnt really care about the kid — you can see that in the videos of the two of them together — no doubt because he’s not some perfect prop like Donnie Jr or Ivanka, and he wouldnt think twice about cutting them both off if she decieed to leave.

    She’s doing what any abused mother would do: staying in the situation because she thinks she has no other options. And I”m sure Donnie’s micro-managed her into believing that, just as much as he micro-managed her speeches cribbed from Michelle and manipulated her into mouthing the whole birther thing.

    But it’s been interesting seeing her getting a little of her own back. The day she brought a present to the Obamas during the transition of power shocked everyone, but I suspect it was the first step to the clear friendship we saw a year later when, on her own, she clearly had a great time with them at some official event. I think she’s figuring out, cautiously, who her allies are, and I dont think it’s too much of a conspiracy to believe that those days when she was supposed recuperating from kidney surgery that Donnie had no idea where she was… while she was a houseguest of your former president.

  2. Sean – you mean the “autistic special needs son” ISN’T Don Jr. ?
    Cause he sure ain’t no Mensa candidate.

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