See All Topics

Home / Section: Editorial cartooning

CSotD: Reply Hazy; Try Again

As Joe Biden approaches his first year in office, Gary Varvel (Creators) points out how badly things have gone.

And he’s right: Biden walked into Trump’s naive agreement to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan with barely any conditions, whereupon the Kabul government collapsed and the Taliban took over before we could arrange a peaceful evacuation of our allies.

We managed to get about 124,000 refugees out fairly quickly, and there remain quiet efforts to help others escape, but Biden has taken a lot of blame for, as Varvel phrases it, the debacle.

He also inherited a Supreme Court stacked with partisan conservatives by Mitch McConnell, including Neil Gorsuch, who took the seat McConnell blocked under Obama, and Amy Coney Barrett, jammed through despite McConnell’s previously stated principles about appointments during election cycles. Plus, y’know.

Bare shelves, as noted here previously, have plagued nations around the world, but, again, Biden is being blamed for the supply issues in this country, and is taking lumps for inflation from the same people who object to the Fed’s efforts to stem it.

He’s also, as Varvel notes, stymied by a filibuster being upheld by two Senators from his own party, which would be less of a problem if the Republicans were not voting in lockstep and threatening any members who defy party orders.

 

There was a time when Senators voted their consciences, not party loyalty: The 1965 Voting Rights Act was opposed by the remnants of the Dixiecrat caucus, but the vote in general did not fall upon party lines.

A filibuster from staunch segregationalist James Eastland (D-Miss) was quickly shut down by a 70/30 closure vote that crossed party lines and the act was approved in both houses on a cross-party vote.

As Varvel suggests, those days are long gone and, today, anyone daring to challenge the filibuster is likely to be long gone as well.

Meanwhile, the dangling mask symbolizes the futility of attempting to stem the pandemic in a nation where common sense health measures have become a partisan issue rather than a matter of science, social consciousness and moral duty.

 

All of which, as Varvel notes, has left Biden with sagging approval ratings that are nearly as low as Donald Trump’s were at this point of his administration.

Varvel is correct: Biden is taking a lot of grief for not having rescued the sinking Titanic, which he took command of a year ago, despite an attempted, ongoing mutiny.

 

Meanwhile, Ann Telnaes notes how turning that aforementioned pandemic into a partisan, rather than medical, issue has revealed the level of incivility on the Supreme Court, referring to Justice Gorsuch as the “maskless manspreader” and getting dual usage out of that latter term.

As first reported by NPR’s Nina Totenberg, then confirmed by Ariane DeVogue at CNN, Chief Justice John Roberts asked the justices to wear masks in the courtroom and in their discussion chambers, because Justice Sonia Sotomayor is diabetic and therefore in potentially serious peril from the coronavirus.

However, Justice Neil Gorsuch, who sits next to Sotomayor on the bench, has declined to do so, forcing her to meet with the court remotely.

This does not necessarily signal that Gorsuch is determined to dutifully obey the GOP in all things. It’s not as if his wife had signed a letter defending the January 6 insurrectionists and raised questions as to whether she had actively assisted in the attempted coup.

From the point of view of virology and medical science, there are two sides to the issue of masks: One composed of experts who have studied and who understand the science involved, and another for those who share the opinion that you can get rid of warts by swinging a dead cat over your head in a cemetery at midnight.

But even so, if someone asks you, for instance, not to smoke in their presence because it triggers their asthma, it’s not an invitation to debate the medical issue.

It’s an opportunity to prove that you were not brought up in a barn. Assuming you were not.

It’s probably best for Gorsuch’s ego to avoid social media for the moment. God knows, he wouldn’t pull such an ill-mannered stunt if ego were not a prime factor in his thinking.

One would think — though perhaps I’m that One and stand alone — that not only would you wear the mask out of civility, good manners and adult behavior, but that you might do it in order to avoid giving the impression that the highest court in the land is a partisan chop shop, with a majority dedicated to dismantling the Constitution in obedience to the political party that put them on the bench.

You might. Unless you’re confident that your patrons would block any attempts to limit their newly-won branch of the government.

Oh well. I’m sure Justice Gorsuch would defend Justice Sotomayor’s right to do whatever she needs to do in order to protect her health.

I mean, it’s not like she’s pregnant.

 

There is room for honest debate, even within the actual science of the coronavirus, and the issue of masks, vaccines and mandates in schools has crossed party lines.

Pat Bagley may be swimming against the current with this cartoon, but, as I’ve said at some length before, I agree that there is more value in stemming the spread of the virus than there is in keeping kids physically in the classroom.

It’s impossible for schools to know what families have unvaccinated members in the household who could be at serious, even deadly, risk should one of these little angels bring home the virus.

Is distance learning as good as in-class teaching? Nobody suggests that.

Is it better than killing Grandpa? Is it better than fostering a system that prolongs the pandemic?

I would be willing to make either argument.

Mostly, I’d want to know where these self-appointed educational experts sit when they are asked to fund pre-K education, to modernize old schools, to update archaic textbooks and lab equipment and to raise teacher salaries to meet local cost of living.

Just kidding. I’ve sat in plenty of school board meetings. I’ve seen how people vote on school budgets.

Neil Gorsuch speaks for them.

 

 

Community Comments

#1 Janet Ober
January/19/2022
@ 8:51 am

So many good points made today. It does my heart good that someone at least acknowledges them. Thank you.

#2 Rich Furman
January/19/2022
@ 9:30 am

Way to read Varvel against the grain!

Barack Obama was able to pull this country out of the tailspin it was in because his predecessor had NOT taken a sledgehammer to every control in the cockpit before handing over the stick. Biden was not so fortunate.

#3 Ed Rush
January/19/2022
@ 3:56 pm

I keep wondering if there are a couple of Republicans who like the voting bills but are afraid of McConnell and his Whip, who might just be out sick on the Senate’s voting day, so the Democrats would only need 48 votes.

#4 George Paczolt
January/20/2022
@ 6:21 am

Thinking back to the Seventies when Creedence Clearwater Revival was current and culturally predominant, ‘Fortunate Son’ was a very well thought of, but not terribly important B-side track.

Ever since 2016, it’s become the most important song that John Fogarty has written.

Funny that.

#5 Ignatz
January/20/2022
@ 7:41 am

Why is Sotomayor the one who has to work remotely, and not Gorsuch?

#6 Nicholas Merritt
January/20/2022
@ 8:39 am

Ignatz: because she cares about her health, while he cares about his wealth.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.