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CSotD: Spitballing

Kal Kallaugher takes on the hypocrisy of an administration that has broken its campaign promise to release the President’s tax records and that refuses to cooperate with requests for specific records and testimony, but then feels free to accuse the fact-finding committees of secrecy and stonewalling.

Granted, Dear Leader is not an attorney himself, and also granted that he has fired or otherwise driven out anyone who would provide him with advice he didn’t want to hear.

But there are still on his staff people who know the difference between an investigation, a grand jury hearing and a trial.

In the case of Watergate, Howard Baker — who was, let’s not forget, a senior member of Nixon’s own Republican Party — boiled things down to a memorable question: “What did the President know and when did he know it?”

I don’t know what political party Casey Stengel belonged to, but his question seems more relevant in the current case: “Can’t anybody here play this game?”

But of course they can, and if you want a truly relevant Casey Stengel, it’s this one: “I don’t know if he throws a spitball, but he sure spits on the ball.”

 

Andy Marlette doesn’t have a lot of praise for Matt Gaetz and his band of merry henchmen, and, while a Floridian may be more embarrassed by the minicoup in which these preppies temporarily tossed a wrench into the workings of government, he’s hardly alone.

The event, which I noted yesterday was termed a “panty raid” by Pat Bagley — a commentator and thus not expected to maintain neutrality — has been called a “stunt” even by relatively centrist and ostensibly objective news sources.

Marlette shares with Ann Telnaes (see yesterday’s CSotD) the depiction of those henchmen as rats, and he adds the fillip of Gaetz proudly taking a selfie and a flag proclaiming that MAGAts are more loyal to Russia than to the US.

In short, this stunt, this panty raid, this exercise in prideful childish showing off, does not appear to have gone over very well, and not just with leftwing firebrands.

And yet …

 

I’m not going to single out anyone in particular, but you’d have no trouble digging up a simpleminded rightwing cartoon echoing the Big Lie that the hearings are being conducted as some deep, dark-state Star Chamber event.

Now, the whole “dark state” conspiracy theory is as screwy as the contention that Obama was born in Kenya, that Hillary Clinton shot Vince Foster and that there is a pedophile torture chamber under a pizza parlor that does not have a basement.

However, you don’t have to be off your meds to believe that the committees considering impeachment are doing so in a deliberately, dishonestly, illegally secretive manner.

You simply have to have complete faith in people who are lying to you, and no goddam idea what the hell you’re talking about or interest in finding out.

One of the flaws in Matt Gaetz’s stunt was that, as any number of people including this blog have pointed out, a substantial number of those who “broke in” to find out the secrets being hidden from them are members of the committees and so could have simply walked in, and, assuming they were attending the meetings and paying attention like good little congresscritters, should have been well aware of everything happening in those hearings.

Anybody — including political cartoonists — who continues to promote the idea that this stuff is happening in some nefarious, unprecedented secrecy is either a liar, a damn fool or a collaborator.

I fear I am in danger of outliving my country.

I’m nearly the age my grandfather was when he observed that he had managed to span an era in which he got to see the first automobiles and also to see a man walk on the Moon.

I’m old enough to remember when we took the flag in when it rained, and I’m old enough to remember when Daniel Patrick Moynihan said that you are entitled to your own opinions but you are not entitled to your own facts.

My grandfather was lucky: It’s not nearly as much fun to span an era that goes from the passage of the Civil Rights Act to the ignorant, self-serving, destructive lies of Donald Trump and the willing, eager collaboration that makes them work.

 

And as Patrick Chappatte observes, this isn’t some temporary dirt mark that will wash off.

I like his metaphor, and I particularly like that Uncle Sam has other tats, more traditional types: A heart that you might get in the youthful exuberance of a first love, an eagle you might have picked up while serving in the Navy.

Which means that you knew what you were doing when you added this latest one, this one which is not a reminder of naive romance or a souvenir of national service but, rather, a symbol of a time best forgotten.

And it reminds me of a guy I worked for when I first got out of college, who had to wear long sleeves all the time because he had been in and out of prison since he was 14 years old and was covered in prison tattoos.

As Chappatte noted the other day, it’s not just that Trump has forfeited the world’s trust, but that, through him, through having trusted him, through our willingness to be forever marked by him, we have forfeited that trust as well.

It is what I suppose Casey Stengel would call “an unforced error.”

 

Community Comments

#1 Mary McNeil
October/27/2019
@ 5:58 pm

Any possibility of ever listening to anything Matt Gaetz said left when he got into an argument with a Parkland father, insisting that it was illegal immigrants who had killed the guy’s daughter. The father was escorted out of the hearing room, in the interest of order, response, but Gaetz isn’t self-aware enough to be thankful the Dad didn’t have a gun.

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