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CSotD: Plain Speaking

David Rowe is best loved in these parts for adding a level of vitriolic abuse most American editors would spike, though it’s a part of editorial cartooning tradition that lives on in Australia and Britain.

Vitriol often comes at the expense of commentary, which is to say that an insulting portrait of a leader — however deserving — can sometimes be the entire point, regardless of what may be on the table at the moment.

However, this particular piece delights me because he portrays Nancy Pelosi as heroic and astride a noble steed, while the ugly gargoyles of Trumpism with their mudpots and their incoherent banners sneer down at her.

And she certainly has them on the defensive, but angry and ugly as they are, Rowe offers no prediction.


For that matter, he offered no prediction back in 2016, the day after the election, merely an astute observation.

Looking back, she may have awoken with shock and regret, but, you know, there’s always a reason you find yourself in such a position and we are, three years later, still in a deep state of denial.

And yet we haven’t gotten up and left, and while we may have sworn “Never again” three years ago, it’s not all that clear that we won’t snuggle up again a year from now.


Bloomberg’s entry into the race is almost certainly too little, too late, but, then again, stranger things have happened, and if The Scream is used way too often in political cartooning, Jimmy Margulies puts it to good use here.

Bloomberg is a centrist at a time when centrists are out of favor.

But it’s also a time when the Democrats may be in danger of nominating someone that nobody wants. Clinton and Obama excited the voters and brought them to the polls.

They weren’t simply better than the other guy. Not being Trump may not be enough.

Last time around, the Democratic National Committee, in their infinite wisdom, pre-selected a candidate who — whatever her actual capabilities and credentials — had already spent nearly a quarter of a century trapped in the Republican Smear Factory.

Apparently they decided to correct the error this time around by offering the Tower of Babel Special, in which everyone talks at once and nobody can pick out what’s being said by whom.

Except that there’s something going on with health insurance that is being explained by someone who previously taught commercial law at Harvard and it probably makes sense to people who might take graduate courses in commercial law at Harvard or even at Yale or Princeton but the rest of us dunno what the hell she’s talking about.

It’s not because we’re stupid, and that’s the point. That’s where this whole thing is falling apart.

First of all, there are things I know and that you don’t, and I don’t know the things you know, which, in a sensible world, would be a cause for cooperation and teamwork.

I’d use a sports analogy about bringing in players with different skills, but then the people who don’t understand sports would get pissed.

You know, the folks George Wallace called “pointy-head college professors who can’t even park a bicycle straight.”

George Wallace, who carried five states and won 46 Electoral College votes, nearly throwing the 1968 Presidential Elections into the House of Representatives.

Unlike the smart, well-educated George McGovern four years later, whom everyone loved and respected and who only carried one state plus DC and brought in 17 Electoral College votes.

And, by the way, you can’t condemn the Founders for having an elitist view of who ought to be voting and then turn around and condemn the results when people you think of as stupid go out and cast their ballots.

(Fun Fact: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, whose birthday is this coming Tuesday, grew to believe that, while both men and women should be eligible to vote, there needed to be a way to stop stupid people from voting. And said so. Loudly and often enough that, as she got older and increasingly crotchety, a fair amount of suffragist energy went into getting her to STFU.)


Much as I admire Mike Luckovich‘s work, this one makes my point better than I suspect it makes his.

I’ll certainly concede that there is a core group of genuine, certifiable nitwits among Trump followers, but, you know what? There’s a substantial group of anti-Trump nitwits on social media who began this campaign by insisting that they did not want the Democrats to nominate an electible candidate.

When you condemn “electibility” in a candidate, you’ve got nothing to say about anyone else’s intelligence.

And, anyway, if you are trying to convert Trump supporters, start with the pragmatic point that insulting people isn’t the way to make friends.

And to understand them, start with the fact that, when photographers cherry-pick the most outrageous images from a crowd, they get great, dramatic, eye-catching pictures, but they misrepresent the group.

It was true at Woodstock, where only a small percentage of the crowd had hair to their waists and was naked.

It’s true at Comic Conventions, where only a small percentage of people are in full cosplay.

And while political organizers often move the zanies up front to give the impression of excitement and dedication at a rally, the bulk of the people there are perfectly normal looking and may be more curious than devoted.

As for those transcripts, I wish people were more media-savvy and I wish they didn’t trust Donald Trump.

And I especially wish he were not so good at shouting Lugenpresse!  I wish he were not a con man and a liar. I wish he were not so good at fleecing those who trust him.

However, I’m not sure where to draw the line between “gullible” and “trusting,” but it has little to do with intelligence, because I’ve known some whip-smart people who stumbled into ridiculous beliefs.

And way too many of their children who have found solidarity, if not comfort, in this movie, which is available on Amazon.


Community Comments

#1 Sean Martin
@ 9:11 am

Bloomberg does make an interesting addition to the fray, and good on him for going for it. HuffPost’s comment sections was replete with “Oh look, yet another old white guy”, but now we’re talking about an old white guy with over a decades’ experience running arguably the biggest government outside of Washington, and doing so pretty darn well. And this is someone who, when he says his campaign will be self-funded, probably means it.

Interesting times we live in.

#2 Paul Berge
@ 1:00 pm

Gotta love David Rowe for including Jim Jordan and John “Not the One You’re Thinking of” Kennedy.

How many British back-benchers would you recognize?

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