CSotD: Matters of Clarity (Clarity Matters)

So everyone has had fun now, making Josh Hawley jokes, and the Senator has, predictably, offered the PeeWee Herman “I meant to do it” defense.

Clay Jones offers the best cartoon I’ve seen so far that captures this bold cowardice.


Beyond that, Will Bunch encapsulates what I’m hearing on the street, which is that the biggest revelation the other night was of the level of threat to Mike Pence, as seen in the very real fear of his security detail, while the rest was largely confirmation and documentation of what we already knew.


It’s less a response of “So what?” as “So what are you going to do about it?” and an impatience shared with JD Crowe over the apparent lack of action within the Justice Department.

As noted here the other day, Garland did make a statement intended to reassure people that DOJ is on the case, but it hasn’t reached very far, in part because it isn’t being echoed by cartoonists or columnists or anyone else.

The result is that a lot of people feel helpless, understanding what has happened but feeling that the people who could do something are doing nothing.

This is partly, of course, Garland’s fault for not being more vocal, even if he wisely declines to reveal his hand before the showdown.

Still, if Donald Trump can tell traitors and terrorists to “stand back and stand by,” it seems those who prize democracy and justice could send a similar message to people who want to trust in the system rather than overturn it.


It is not the job of political cartoonists to uphold national sovereignty and faith in the rule of law, and Clay Bennett (CTFP) demonstrates the failure of Republicans to set their lust for power aside long enough to speak up in support of the public good.

We can, of course, hope that they will be hoist with their own petard by voters, for instance, who use contraception themselves or who resent oil company profiteering, but that assumes people know that the GOP is voting in lockstep against such proposals.

Which is the sort of thing political cartoonists do need to be telling them, and which brings us to this


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Phil Hands – Tribune)


(Nick Anderson – Counterpoint)

Hands and Anderson offer a good analysis of GOP messaging, with Hands noting how effectively the rightwing convinced people that rising gas prices were Biden’s fault and both observing that the current dip in prices — about 12% here — has now been attributed to global market forces, and not, for instance, to Biden’s decision, given the effect of the war in Ukraine on petroleum supplies, to suspend his reluctance to negotiate with Saudi Arabia.

It’s a failure in Democratic messaging, an inability to come up with anything as compelling as Tucker Carlson’s appeals to fear and loathing.

But cartoonists can’t throw up their hands: It’s still their job to make statements that effectively advance whichever agenda they adopt.

Clarity in messaging, however, matters as much as intentions, as seen in our second


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Chris Britt – Creators)


(Mike Lester – Creators)

Britt’s intention is to point out the things that have stood in Biden’s path, including deliberate obstruction, political third-rails and unavoidable global issues, but I question whether he sends that message of “It’s not Biden’s fault” so much as “Biden is a failure.”

Lester is clearly intending to send the failure message, and the irony is that both cartoonists capitalize on a minor incident in which the president caught a foot in the toe clip of his bicycle and went to the ground.


This widely-seen, edited video ends at the moment he goes down, leaving a false impression of a real fall.


But the full video shows that he bounced back up and began chatting to a crowd of people, clearly unhurt and only mildly annoyed by the toe clips, saying he ought to have them removed.

Lester then doubles down by combining the bike incident with Biden’s covid diagnosis, suggesting that vaccines don’t work when Biden — only inconvenienced, not sidelined — has attributed the mildness of his case to the fact that he has been fully immunized.

Whether Lester’s approach amounts to “spin” or to “lying” depends on your point of view, but his intended messaging is absolutely clear.

Messaging matters, as seen in this non-political


Juxtaposition of the Century

(Carl Rose/EB White — 1928)

(Mark Anderson — 2022)

What’s wrong with broccoli?

I’ll grant you that, in 1928, the sodden mess that came out of a can of spinach was a hard sell, particularly with Popeye yet a year away, but the New Yorker cartoon went viral, with a message of the hell with both vegetables.

It’s not clear that broccoli, introduced to American tables at the time of the original cartoon, was ever anything but fresh, or, for that matter, that New Yorker readers were feeding their upscale tykes anything but fresh, crisp spinach from local shops.

Doesn’t matter. Word was out that spinach is yukky and, while I’m blaming neither Rose nor White, their cartoon implicated broccoli, even though many children like being giants who eat trees.

Rose and White weren’t intending to turn kids against either vegetable, but the path to Hell is now paved with spinach and broccoli.

And with non-partisan jokes about Joe Biden’s approval ratings.


As Robert Ariail (AMS) might put it, “with all due respect.”


And Dave Granlund casts a skeptical eye at those who parrot the “too old” line while still supporting Trump 2024.

To be accurate, Biden is just under four years older than Trump, but, at 79 and 76 respectively, that age difference is meaningless.

As is the fact that a lot of Democrats also think Biden should step aside after one term and enjoy retirement. Perhaps starting by removing the toe clips from his bicycle, since he’ll probably continue to enjoy riding it.

And walking down ramps. And drinking water one-handed.


Meanwhile, the whole world is watching

Peter Brookes, cartooning for the Times of London, reminds us that, in the words of Muhammed Ali, “He can run, but he can’t hide.”

From Fox viewers, perhaps, but not from the world.


Maybe UK politics make the observers a little sharper. (Pros & Cons – KFS)


One thought on “CSotD: Matters of Clarity (Clarity Matters)

  1. Cal Thomas had a column in one local paper today with the headline “Time for Biden to step down!” and alleging that even his wife (Biden’s not Thomas’s, but probably her too) says so.

    So just out of curiosity I googled how old Cal Thiomas is. He was born in 1942 so that makes him – guess what ? OLDER than Joe Biden ! Don’t trip going down those steps Cal !

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