CSotD: Awoke in the Wake

Steve Breen (Creators) seems to have the best take on what just happened: A crisis was averted, and both sides can take some kudos for having swallowed a bit of pride for the common good, but, then again, the matter has only been set aside and not permanently addressed.

As noted here yesterday, the media was quick to interview the dissenters, some of whom (lookin’ at you, Bernie) were loud in condemning the deal, and one of whom (oh, Lauren!) missed the vote anyway.

Neither side got everything they wanted, but that’s how compromise works, and there will be opportunities to address specific issues. Meanwhile, we’ll likely never know who voted against it as a performative gesture, knowing it would pass anyway.

The deal is not as solid a block of the overall crisis as Clay Bennett (CTFP) suggests: Those scissors are not broken but simply set aside.

Biden was cautious not to oversell the compromise before the vote, fearing too much celebration would spook conservatives into rising up against the deal, and while that may have helped cement the final tally, it dampened down what might have been progressive celebrations.

Even his address to the nation last night seemed flavorless, and while his fans might have wanted him to spike the football, his lack of gloating could lead to smaller victories down the road.

However, David Rowe suggests that Kevin McCarthy may find out who voted against the deal not as a symbolic gesture but in all sincerity, once he returns to Congress and faces the Freedom Caucus and other conservatives who regret having given Biden a victory.

The hardliners were looking forward to blaming Biden for the fiscal disaster that surely would have followed even a temporary default, and what are they left with now?

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Steve Kelley — Creators)

(Gary Varvel — Creators)

(Chip Bok — Creators)

Biden handed his opponents a consolation gift by stumbling over a sandbag on the stage at the Air Force Academy as he moved around to shake hands. He’s certainly not the first world leader to take an unexpected tumble, and it’s easy to recall how Gerald Ford — who had turned down the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions following his football career at Michigan — became a stumblebum in the public mind, thanks in large part to Saturday Night Live.

Kelley repeats that simple insult approach, while Varvel does address some substantive element, tying it to concerns over Biden’s age and the ongoing conservative portrayal of him as senile.

Bok, meanwhile, claims it to be part of Biden’s falling approval ratings, despite the fact that Biden’s approval and disapproval ratings have not changed markedly in the past year.

Biden’s popularity, as it happens, is statistically equivalent to Donald Trump’s at this point in his administration, though the significance of that may depend on who you believe won the presidential election in 2020.

If you expect a rematch in 2024, it’s worth pointing out that, in raw vote totals, Biden only gained 51.3% of the vote compared to Trump’s 46.9% and a rematch wouldn’t necessarily favor either of them.

Scott Stantis raises a basic question about 2024 in today’s Prickly City (AMS), because the GOP has taken such extreme positions that moderates may join Carmen in feeling abandoned, though they may be more confused about which candidates to support rather than what party to join, since 41% of voters consider themselves independent rather than party members.

Nick Anderson (Counterpoint) suggests that the anti-woke movement is a nonsensical crusade being mounted by Republicans against a non-existent, ill-defined foe, and he may be correct, given the inability of most conservatives to define what “woke” means, at least in a sense that doesn’t suggest opposition to civil rights.

Much of the current social controversy seems ill-defined and contradictory, as Drew Sheneman points out.

We seem inundated with men who brag of being “involuntary celibates,” who, as Sheneman suggests, are heavily armed to emphasize their manly manliness, and who are expected to take cues on masculinity from Josh Hawley, who famously raised a fist in solidarity with the Jan 6 rioters, then ran like a rabbit when they entered the Capitol.

And who seem so easily terrified that they can’t even go to the store without packing heat.

And while many progressives and liberals fear a fascist takeover of government, Brian McFadden simply mocks conservative fears and obsessions.

Clay Jones also sees a chance to mock the insecurity of the MAGAt crowd, getting both a laugh and a rollicking, occasionally profane essay out of the bizarre controversy by which rightwingers have added Chik-fil-A to their boycott list because they just discovered that the company hired a diversity official, though it happened some time ago.

The double laugh, he acknowledges, is that Chik-fil-A has been on progressive boycott lists because of its former donations to anti-LGBTQ+ groups, though the company has long since ended that support and, in fact, has — as the MAGAts suddenly noted — hired an executive to direct their diversity, equity, and inclusion policy.

Phew. You need a scorecard these days just to know who to hate.

As for that likely rematch between Biden and Trump, the near-heat in approval ratings may not presage a repeat of the close results of their last contest. There would be the factor of Biden’s age, though that’s largely a perceptual issue, since Trump is both a fumble-mouth and seemingly less in shape.

A more important factor will be in whether fear of LGBTQ+ people will drive conservatives to the polls at the same rate that liberals are motivated, as Ann Telnaes suggests, by loss of personal freedom and women’s rights.

Plus, as Steve Brodner chronicles, people may insist on a right to public education governed by majority interests rather than authoritarian dictates, and by sound educational practice rather than irrational presumptions and mob rule.

The question, as we head into primary season and from there to the 2024 elections, is whether voters are more likely to be turned out by rumors of what they have heard might possibly be happening or by fear of what they can clearly see definitely is happening?

And, most important, whether they are willing to stop and lend a hand, or would be content to tsk-tsk as they drive on past?

Popeye Watch: Comics Kingdom still hasn’t realized that their Thimble Theater Vintage feature got hung up at the end of 1939. Here’s the Jan 2, 1940 episode:

11 thoughts on “CSotD: Awoke in the Wake

  1. Bingo! First to comment in less than a minute from your posting. I appreciate you, Mike.

  2. “Neither side got everything they wanted…”

    The Democrats didn’t want ANYTHING but the debt ceiling raised. They got it.

    1. And why can’t moderates join the Democratic Party. Have you seen the Democratic president? Schumer? Even Jeffries is pretty moderate.

    1. Cartoonists have the opportunity to influence public perceptions. I wish some would make the point that the “debt crisis” is primarily the result insufficient income, and not too much spending.

      In the good old days that the MAGA crowd seeks, there was no “debt crisis” because, except in times of emergency, income was sufficient.

    2. Newspapers.com — kind of expensive if you aren’t going to use it often, but I think it comes bundled with Ancestry.com for genealogy fans.

      1. Another option, which is free, is google newspaper archives. The Reading (PA) Eagle carried Thimble Theater. You can find that strip at news.google.com/newspapers?nid=ZuSUVyMx-TgC&dat=19400102 . You’ll need to scroll to image 16.

  3. I have been reading a lot about the ‘debt ceiling debacle’. It seems to me that the whole thing was a dastardly ‘political circus act’. Many point out and I agree that the debt ceiling issue should not have even touched on the budget negotiations. Matt Gaetz even admitted that they were just terrorists in their ‘hostage taking’. The dem side folded like a limp napkin apparently just to prevent ‘bad optics’. I have NO respect for the ‘power players’ in the political arena.
    I know that is harsh. Mike, I respect your opinions and would like your take on these points.

    1. I think Biden’s response was less folding that jiu jitsu — using their force against them. They really gained little, he got what he needed with a minimum cost, most of it reversible. It seems much of what they gave up was stuff they’d have lost in honest budget debates anyway.

  4. One more comment and then I’ll quietly read.
    Mike points out about the ‘brave manly men’: And who seem so easily terrified that they can’t even go to the store without packing heat.
    I don’t mind people who responsibly own guns. BUT, I must relate a personal experience: A neighbor of mine (luckily moved to a southern state recently) who warned me I should not approach him in the grocery store because he ‘WAS PACKIN” And, he was inviting other neighbors to go shooting with him since he had ‘1,600 rounds of large caliber high velocity ammo in his garage’. I’m just glad he didn’t have a fire in his garage. Who knows how many neighbors would be shot by those rounds ‘cooking off’?

Comments are closed.