CSotD: Awaiting the next issue

Things are quiet at the moment and, as Pat Bagley indicates, the Republican base is restoring its bearings in anticipation of new fights to come.

This seems a bit harsh, but only if you are channeling moderate viewpoints.

If you keep track of commentary from both sides, what you find is that some moderate conservatives are trying to stick to less partisan topics, but the True Believers are presenting a viewpoint that honestly makes you wonder if they are deliberately lying or are genuinely that uninformed.

That is, we’re still seeing climate change denial, which, like believing that Obama was born in Kenya, has simply become part of the wallpaper, but there are also plenty of cartoons that show a refusal to investigate the news before you draw, such as portraying AOC’s 70% tax proposal as a rate on all income instead of on income over a certain level.

A misunderstanding, perhaps, in the first few days, but, by now, a case of either deliberate dishonesty, unprofessional laziness or incredible stupidity.

You can’t be that wrong by happenstance.

Ditto with pretending to think a wall, practical or not, could be brought in on the President’s plucked-from-the-sky price tag.

Has nobody asked to see an engineering report? Or even asked if there is one?


Mike Marland notes that the shutdown cost twice as much as Trump was demanding for his wall, though there’s never been an indication that “impact on the economy” is among his policy considerations.

As I’ve said before, I’d like to interview some of the contractors who worked with Trump on casinos and see how often he walked in with a set of finished engineering blueprints vs how often he just started spinning elaborate concepts out of thin air and then submitting change orders.


Ed Hall depicts Trump as Nero, fiddling while Rome burns, and, though he builds on a myth, he’s also hit on truth, because the story, shorn of the inaccuracies that built up over the centuries, is of an eccentric, narcissistic, incompetent, deeply immoral leader who welcomed the destruction because he had such amazing plans to rebuild a model city.



And Kevin Siers suggests the administration’s imminent collapse, but I like the concept more than I trust in the reality.

That is, I agree that he’s losing support and that his base is eroding, but, to follow the conceit, it’s like the way you look at how much you have left to do and how much battery power remains and try to figure out if things will shut down before you get there.

I suspect he’s got enough to finish out the term, because his base will remain faithful even if a substantial number of GOP legislators waiver as they face re-election.

Though, to invoke another metaphor, that of not being able to turn an oil tanker on a dime, the GOP’s move to block primary challenges to Trump’s renomination must surely have sounded like a better idea back when they started the process.


However, there is hope for Dear Leader’s re-election, as billionaire nitwit Howard Schultz enters the fray.

There have been a number of cartoons on the topic, mostly using cups, but Andy Marlette‘s amused me because he brought in the stupid size names that should have been our warning.

Schultz attracts more pure negative reaction on Twitter than Dear Leader, but has declared that he won’t be dissuaded by public opinion.

My suspicion is that, if he doesn’t go away, people will begin to take it out on his (former) coffee shops and the current owners will pressure him to STFU.

Meanwhile, he’s a cheerful distraction from the nation’s actual problems, since, if you never learned to play the fiddle, you can always make coffee while Rome burns.

Ann Telnaes is hardly the only cartoonist to play with Roger Stone’s well-known tattoo of Richard Nixon. There have been a variety of cartoons on the topic, some having Nixon comment, some putting Putin on Trump’s back.

Telnaes, however, has the advantage of being someone who, in the first place, specializes in iconographic commentary and who then takes a wider vision than simply comparing Roger Stone to Donald Trump, applying the concept to illustrating the loyalties of a variety of administration characters.

Each of these is a wise-ass comment, but the totality is political analysis.

Not to suggest that I don’t like wise-ass comments, be they in the form of tattoos or coffee cups, but wise-ass political analysis is even better.


Not the market I was thinking of

Yesterday, I suggested that political cartoonists will have to find other places to appear if newspapers no longer want to employ them, but this piece from the University of Arkansas is not what I had in mind.

The paper examines newspaper political advertisements from the 50s and 60s that used cartoons, which the professors acknowledge was based on television not quite having universal market penetration in Arkansas at the time.

But cartoon ads were not confined to Arkansas politics.


Or to grown-up publications.

The interesting point here is that, rather than simply hiring random artists to draw these cartoons, the campaigns were hiring known cartoonists from the state’s major papers. These advertorial cartoons were unsigned, but it wasn’t hard to tell who drew what.

If political cartoonists ever went back to that well, it would bring up the troubling vision of a time when we could no longer tell independent commentary from paid advertising.

But, then again, we’ve already got cartoonists who deliberately misinterpret climate change, marginal tax rates and border security.

Maybe they should get paid directly, at which point attaching the sponsor’s name would be a form of ethical disclosure.

(Yes, there are fringe cartoonists on the left as well, but they tend towards nihilism and various formless, gormless utopian solutions for which they are unlikely to find sponsorship.)


We can hardly leave on that note

So here’s an interview with Patrick Chappatte on courage in cartooning. Which there still is.

2 thoughts on “CSotD: Awaiting the next issue

  1. Looking at the figures: 26% stuck with Nixon, even after he resigned in disgrace. GW Bush had about 24% support at the end of his term.

    Lincoln might as well have said “You can fool around 25% of the public all of the time.”

  2. Over at NY TIMES “On Politics with Lisa Lerer,” she noted Howard Schultz will be traveling the country considering running for President while he sells his new memoir.

    I have fewer problems with fake news than the clueless media who pays more attention to twitter than real issues. Now he is selling books and using the press, let’s wait until he signs up for a primary – then it is news.

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