Tim Campbell‘s cartoon might be more of a general comment on the focus following the death of al-Baghdadi had he not used the term “bellyaching” to describe the reaction to Trump’s announcement.
As many commentators have said, the operation itself should have been, and seems to have been, viewed as positive.
Only one or two very leftwing fringers have questioned it, and a number of cartoonists who have been extremely critical of the president are celebrating it, showing al-Baghdadi in Hell, with or without 72 wives.
But Campbell is right that the announcement seems to be getting most of the attention, largely because his upper line, a narrow and precise action by special forces, was overwhelmed by a clumsy, semi-coherent announcement in which the President seemingly deflected much of the credit to himself, as noted in this hilarious, much-shared editing job from Jimmy Kimmel:
Apparently, the White House had prepared a script, but Trump went completely off it, with the results as seen, and this is hardly the first time the President has not said what he had been advised to say.
However, whether it is “bellyaching” or “pushback,” Trump’s unusual approach to presidential behavior is beginning to attract more criticism than excitement, and if you have been reflexively avoiding the comments on political cartoons, you will likely be surprised at the change in tone from a year or so ago.
As I’m writing this, Campbell’s cartoon has attracted 26 comments at GoComics, all but one negative.
This isn’t a matter of the validity of either cartoon, but an observation.
However, it’s an observation that matters: You do not, indeed, need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
There is a significant difference between having people criticize political moves and being mocked in the general media, and if Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Kimmel and others have often made fun of Trump, there is yet a sense that it has begun to pick up a certain momentum.
Trump, for example, is hardly the first president to attract booing at a baseball game, but chants of “Lock Him Up!” are new and, as Clay Jones suggests, somewhat of his own making: You really can’t demand to be treated with the dignity due a president if you have never behaved with the dignity expected of one, and it’s Trump who has taught and incited crowds to act in just this way.
Cartoonists are beginning to use his behavior against him, as seen in Keith Knight’s latest K Chronicles. Again, it’s not as if Knight had been sending Trump love letters up until now, but Trump has handed him a club that he is not afraid to use.
Which leads us to our first
Juxtaposition of the Day
Both cartoonists use the excesses of Trump’s al-Baghdadi announcement as a springboard to discuss the victimhood with which he bemoans all criticism, the mounting evidence against him in the impeachment investigations and his prospects for the 2020 elections.
It’s not a matter of whether they are “right” or “wrong” in their assessments. Opinions, however, can be judged by whether or not they are based on facts.
For instance, claiming that Elizabeth Warren is lying when she says she had to leave a job because she got pregnant flies in the face of the simple fact that, in that time, pregnant women were not simply encouraged but often required to stay home. To attempt to parse the exact language and circumstances she happened to face is ridiculous.
Similarly, you can object to comparing Trump’s response to criticism and to the investigations with his dramatic description of al-Baghdadi’s last moments, but you’re simply bitching, not lodging an objective, disqualifying complaint.
What does that mean? Perhaps nothing, but it certainly suggests, if not a change in the national mood, an increasing unwillingness to sit back and let someone else carry the load of speaking up.
And Jen Sorensen somewhat echoes Winston Churchill’s modified joy, in that it is not the end, or even the beginning of the end, but perhaps the end of the beginning, not mention Churchill’s caution that there is much yet to endure and much yet that must be done.
Still, whether you call it “whining” or not, there is an increasing level of desperation among Trump’s supporters, and they seem to be overplaying their hand in attempting to smear and undercut the witnesses against him, leading us to
Juxtaposition of the Day #2
Bramhall and Telnaes is not a collective freight train I’d step in front of, but, once again, it matters less that Trump has drawn their ire, because he’s done so in the past and walked away.
But now it’s beginning to stick.
It’s only, perhaps, the end of the beginning: Trump launched his campaign in 2016 by sliming a Gold Star family whose Muslim son had died in the service of our country.
Ghastly as it seemed at the time, his Deplorables ate it up and put him in the White House.
But the attacks by Trump and his minions against Alexander Vindman are not apparently falling on the same fertile soil.
Again, we should remember the blatant, naked lies of the Swift Boat Veterans against John Kerry and how — no matter how well defended and clearly refuted — they were gobbled up by those who wanted to believe them.
And that Trump is supported by people who believe that Obama was born in Kenya, that Hillary Trump murdered Vince Foster and that the Moon landing was faked on a Hollywood sound stage.
Still, as Mike Luckovich suggests, the puppet show is beginning to wear thin, and, while there will always be a core group of Deplorables, they are perhaps fading to a negligible minority.
We shall see, though, again, we should do more than sit back and watch.