CSotD: Herd Impunity

I haven’t been too blown away by very many of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg tribute cartoons or by very many of the cartoons about replacing her.

I discussed obituary cartoons the other day; they’re rarely worth including in your Pulitzer entry, but they’re a necessary reader service.

But if pointing out that a beloved figure has died is obvious, pointing out the hypocrisy in the GOP’s change of stances from 2016 to 2020 also seems to bring out “So what?” cartoons, particularly when there’s nothing to be done about it.

However, Mike Thompson approaches the issue from a different POV and I like it: McConnell has long sat on needed legislation — not simply the Merrick Garland nomination — in a sort of sustained procedural filibuster to keep bills passed by the House from ever seeing debate, much less a vote, on the floor of the Senate.

The joke being that his sudden action on this matter is not a magic reversal at all, because his approach to governance has been “If I have the power to do something self-serving, I must do it.”

In a Bulwark-Plus column, Jonathan Last writes that hypocrisy is a good thing, because it indicates that we still have norms and values, even if we honor them in the breach. What he objects to, he says, is shamelessly “deploying situational ethics in a nihilistic pursuit of power.”

As for the GOP’s might-makes-right attitude, Last notes that there are any number of things that are legal but not advisable because of their outcomes, and suggests that even the GOP would question the practice once the shoe was on the other foot:

The next time a Republican tells you that of course there has to be a vote on the SCOTUS nominee, because it’s allowable, ask them if they believe that the next Democratic president has an affirmative duty to launch a criminal prosecution against Donald Trump.

BTW, the Bulwark itself is free, Bulwark-Plus provides some additional goodies, and the whole thing is run by GOP Anti-Trumpers behind the Lincoln Project. It’s thoughtful stuff.

And Last’s argument leads to this

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Mike Lester)


(Chip Bok)

I don’t have any argument with either cartoon, but they raise an interesting question: Have conservatives conceded the November 3 elections?

McConnell explained why it is not necessary to await the upcoming elections:

Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise. President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.

But, assuming he’s right and that the GOP has the loyalty and support of the American people, why not wait until they re-affirm that confidence November 3?

McConnell’s need for haste echoes an assumption that underlies both of those cartoons: That the Republicans need to move fast before they are voted out.

Hey, I don’t write’em. I just explain’em.


Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Ann Telnaes)


(Jack Ohman)

Whether or not the population at large is going along with the GOP, there is chilling unanimity within GOP ranks.

In case you missed it, one of the nominees for the presidency said “herd mentality” in place of “herd immunity” the other day, and it wasn’t the one we’re repeatedly told is senile.

No, it was the stable genius.

Anyway, it was such a telling misstatement that Telnaes applies it to the docile herd in the Senate, where it doesn’t matter that Mitch never gives them anything to debate because they never debate anything.

There is a substantial difference between sharing a political vision and being in lockstep fealty to Dear Leader, and we’re seeing it.

Ohman applies it to the Deplorables, and to their lemming-like urge for self-destruction. Lemmings don’t really do that, but, then again, the fact that it’s a Disneyesque myth makes it that much more applicable to those disgusting people Trump is glad he doesn’t have to shake hands with.

Whether Trump is the cause or the outcome, the GOP has managed to amass power, and, in the process, has driven independent thinkers from the party and its voter base.


Loyalty among the Deplorables is harder to understand, and Pat Bagley imagines a futile attempt to reason with them.

Did they get their jobs back in the coal mines? No, and they also didn’t get the retraining Clinton had offered. You’d think they’d see that.

You’d think they’d have noticed that they were promised a new health care plan that never happened, or that he dishonored veterans or that he has never addressed reports that Russia placed bounties on them.

Well, never mind. People in North Korea don’t question their leader, either, hence the borrowing of the title “Dear Leader.”


As Darrin Bell notes, the Deplorables have their own reality based on their own media reports, and that’s how you keep the herd moving in the direction you want them to go.

Dear Leader’s loyalists trumpet a peace deal where there was no war, and salute the First Son-in-Law for having brokered a deal to make formal what had already been happening quietly for several years. And all it cost was selling out the Palestinians by backing down on settlement issues and acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, while also pulling out of a multi-nation deal that was keeping Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

All for a deal that basically accomplished nothing.

Meanwhile, Bell reminds us, Trump has openly declared that he doesn’t care what happens in Blue States, and even threatened to withhold federal funds (which he probably can’t) from states and cities that did not support him in 2016.

This solidifies his position as President of My Supporters rather than of the whole country, which sounds like treason but satisfies his followers’ sole goal of owning the libs.

The joke in the cartoon being that, while they follow talk radio, Fox television and Qanon videos, they never read newspapers.


Keep your eyes on the prize.


3 thoughts on “CSotD: Herd Impunity

  1. Of course the GOP is conceding the 2020 election. They’re conceding this one, and every one after that. That’s why it’s so important for them to control the judiciary. If you look at the shifting demographics, the GOP is literally dying of old age. Their only hope of retaining any power whatsoever lies in the over-representation of rural areas in the Senate. They will eventually lose the House and the Presidency forever. Their plan is to legislate by lawsuit, once they become a permanent minority.

  2. Note that the Senate was not set up to represent the “people”, the House does that, and they did not give the Republicans their majority on 2016 or 2018. Of the last 22 (non contiguous) years the Republicans have controlled the Senate, a majority of Americans voted for them for 2 of those years.

  3. You’re right, Greg, the Senate was not designed to represent the people, and it doesn’t. The demographics of the Senate are in the GOP’s favor, and will remain so, despite their shrinking numbers. There are also projections of shifts in population density that will make it worse. The only way to change that is statehood for D.C. and the five territories. I hope it happens.

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