CSotD: Mister, we could use a man like Lyndon Johnson again

I like this Matt Wuerker (Politico) cartoon, though I wish he’d been less specific about the crisis at hand, because that donkey has been pondering the filibuster for some six months, and climate change is only one of the issues going unaddressed while Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Senima play at being president.

One hangover from the Obama Era is a need to be liked. Obama tried to form a bipartisan cabinet and was shot down by the GOP’s refusal to serve, and he continued to attempt bipartisan legislation until the midterms cost him his majority and GOP intransigence cost him any future successes, highlighted (lowlighted?) by the partisan blockage of Merritt Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

It’s not that Obama wasn’t intelligent. But Jimmy Carter was equally brilliant, and they’re both remembered, too, as really nice people.

It’s reminiscent of Leo Durocher’s prediction about Mel Ott’s 1946 Giants team, “Nice guys finish last.”

Which, the record shows, they did.

By contrast, nobody ever accused LBJ of being a nice guy, and when the Civil Rights Act was hung up and he was, through tragedy, a brand new president, he picked up the phone and demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that he did not have to be in the same room to have a firm grasp on a Senator’s most tender parts.

Joe Biden comes across as a nice guy, but I think that’s a bluff and I’d sure like for him to prove me right.

When the Senate voted on forming a commission to study the January 6 riot, six Republican Senators — Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Rob Portman of Ohio, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Ben Sasse of Nebraska — voted in favor and nine other GOP Senators suddenly remembered they had somewhere else to be.

It wouldn’t take 60 votes to end the filibuster, only a simple majority.

Don’t tell me a guy who spent 36 years in the Senate and eight more as its formal head could not make 15 phone calls and walk away with two measly votes to replace those of Manchin and Senima.

To riff on an old song, “I want a brave man, I want a cave man: Joey show me that you care, really care, for me.”


Juxtaposition of the Day #1

(Ann Telnaes)


(Lalo Alcaraz)

Here’s what’s happening in the other half of the Senate and a substantial portion of the House: The GOP is running on a platform of deliberate lies and unthinking paranoia.

Telnaes expresses it with gallows humor, depicting a crook running under a crooked banner to solidify the pro-Trump hold on Congress and on the nation. I get a kick out of her grim sarcasm, but, while there is good reason to comfort the afflicted — like inspiring them to turn out at the polls — the approach does little to afflict the comfortable.

Then again, I’m not sure what Alcaraz’s gruesome statement does, beyond proclaiming what people who want to know already know.

Jonathan Swift wrote, “Reasoning will never make a man correct an ill opinion, which by reasoning he never acquired: for in the course of things, men always grow vicious before they become unbelievers.”

Case in Point: Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Meet the Press that 99% of the people who died of Covid in June were unvaccinated, which would send sane people to the clinics, except that the sane people are already clamoring for shots if they haven’t already had them.

While the GOP’s true believers are, instead, becoming vicious.


As Mike Thompson puts it, the GOP is promoting the lie that Fauci is, at best, incompetent and, perhaps, part of a plot to something something something awful and scary and bad.

The fact that these proto-fascists can find their way to the Capitol building (Okay, bad example: They’ve got drivers) … the fact that they can find their way to a microphone (Anybody gonna dispute that?) … is proof that they are intelligent enough to know that they are lying about the virus, lying about the assault on the Capitol, lying about voter fraud, lying about transgender children and lying about critical race theory.

To go back to the top of the page, I’m not disputing the seriousness of climate change, but they’re lying about that, too, and if Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Senima claim that a congress full of deliberate liars is not a grave crisis, add them to the list of people who place the security of their own jobs and income above the good of their country.


Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Scott Stantis – Tribune)


(Maarten Wolterink)

Meanwhile, as we end our nation-building effort in Afghanistan, we get two different views of the matter, one from an American cartoonist, one from the Netherlands.

I’m going with the Dutchman.

Stantis compares our withdrawal with the evacuation of staff and supporters from Saigon in the final hours of that war, but I’m not buying it. The two situations have only hubristic adventurism in common.

Our intervention in Vietnam was an example of John Foster Dulles‘s maniacal Cold War obsession, specifically, his belief that Mao’s conquest of China forecast a communist takeover in South Vietnam.

The error in this theory is that there was no nation of South Vietnam: The withdrawal of the French under the Geneva accords only split Vietnam temporarily, until elections could determine its eventual governance.

That the majority of Vietnamese people would support Ho Chi Minh caused Dulles, and hence Eisenhower, to cancel those elections and to shore up Saigon against Hanoi.

While, having driven out the French, Ho’s forces were not about to knuckle under.

Meanwhile, the best that can be said of our intervention in Afghanistan is that at least we had some sort of reasonable cause, the Taliban having sheltered al Qaeda, which was better than the Cheney Administration’s phony excuse for invading Iraq.

Which is a pretty weak defense of a pretty stupid move, given that we’d just watched the Soviet Union totally implode over their failure in the region.

Wolterink offers, instead, the analogy of a person who adopts a dog and then simply abandons it to fate when it becomes inconvenient.

An excellent analogy.

Speaking of which, and of whom …


6 thoughts on “CSotD: Mister, we could use a man like Lyndon Johnson again

  1. All right, hands up all of those who think Mitch McConnell wouldn’t eliminate the filibuster if he were in power and doing so would give him something he really wanted.


    Me neither.

  2. We shut off the lights and crept out of Afghanistan in the middle of the night, just ten years after The Onion predicted we’d do exactly that.

  3. Wolterink’s abandoned dog is not just any dog. It is, I believe, an Afghan Hound, as evidenced by its black facial mask; thick, long hair; and tail with a curl at the end. That is what makes the cartoon especially meaningful.

  4. Yes, it’s an Afghan Hound. And there’s a special circle of hell dedicated to people who abandon dogs.

  5. I wish this site had an Edit function. Right after I hit Submit I came up with a much better comment with one word change:

    Yes, it’s an Afghan Hound. And there’s a special circle of hell dedicated to people who abandon them.

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