CSotD: The Coming Election (if you want one)

Jeff Koterba joins the ongoing theme of “Who cares?” with the by-now familiar message that it really doesn’t matter who wins the next election, that Trump and Biden have run against each other before and so why bother voting in November?

However, the past 24 hours have seen a shift in other cartoons, following Biden’s lively State of the Union Address.

He even reached cartoonists like Andy Davey, who has been hard on him but had to admit that the old fellow still has some fight in him.

Note, BTW, that Davey uses the term “predecessor” that Biden used in the SOTU. It’s a clue that he drew the cartoon after the speech, which matters because not all cartoonists waited to see what would actually happen.

Jeff Stahler (AMS) posted this on his Facebook page Friday morning, so he may have done it during the speech or perhaps in anticipation, because it wouldn’t take a crystal ball to see this problem emerging for the GOP, though it wasn’t clear ahead of time how much Biden would lean into how well things have been going.

Some critics have said that it was more of a campaign speech than a description of the nation’s current status, and some fact checkers have found a fair amount of blue sky and spin in Biden’s descriptions of things.

However, even in hard times, SOTU is an upbeat event full of applause and hot air.

Those who like Biden liked the speech, and David Horsey combines that fiery speech itself with Kamala’s ongoing support, while putting an uncomfortable Mike Johnson on a thick book to make him appear tall enough to belong in that chair.

Biden did respond to Trump’s challenge of a debate, saying he would agree but “It would depend on his behavior.”

One assumes that means a limit to interruptions and stunts, and I don’t know how you’d enforce it on a live broadcast, but I think the risk would be worth it to offer viewers a chance to compare someone stumbling over a word or two with someone unable to construct coherent sentences.

Nick Anderson points out the contrast between the GOP-constructed image of “Sleepy Joe” and Biden’s solid performance on Thursday evening.

Pat Bagley also proclaims Biden to have administered a beating, and I prefer his over Anderson’s because it brings in the element of surprise while not declaring the battle over. The elephant may be shocked, but he hasn’t been counted out yet.

Bob Gorrell (Creators)‘s cartoon was a prediction, that Biden would claim good news on the beach of a ruined civilization.

Gary Varvel (Creators) also anticipated the speech, suggesting that America’s enemies would enjoy seeing how low America has fallen, though he doesn’t explain how shelling Houthi positions and supporting actions against Hamas would please Iran, how bringing home more chip manufacturing would amuse China or how pressure to help Ukraine resist foreign aggression would make Putin laugh.

Meanwhile, following the speech, the folks at Fox and elsewhere in the MAGAtsphere began promoting the idea that Biden was obviously drugged, since he was so much more alert, energetic and articulate than the stereotype they’ve been pushing for the past six years.

In the end, Mike Smith (KFS) may have the clearest wrap-up of the SOTU speech and the coming election: The people who most needed to see it probably didn’t.

Back in the days of three networks, there wouldn’t have been a lot of alternatives to the speech, because all three networks, plus PBS, would have carried it and only a handful of independent channels would offer something else. It was hard to avoid.

But today we’re so stuck in our silos that we don’t seek information that might shake our sense of How It All Fits Together. Those with firm beliefs won’t change them and those with no beliefs aren’t paying attention.

A debate might attract a larger audience, but even if Trump could be persuaded to stay at his lectern and not continually interrupt Biden, there’d be no neutral fact-checker on stage to monitor responses.

Besides, we live in the world of “alternative facts.” The other day, Elise Stefanik asked “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” and was roundly mocked by people who remembered that, four years ago, we were locked in our houses, we were out of toilet paper and people killed by Covid were being stored in refrigerated vans.

But she hadn’t been looking for real answers: It’s a throwaway line. It’s like fans of a 3-10 team shouting “We’re Number One!”

It’s just an applause line.

It doesn’t even rise to the level of a rhetorical question.

We had a brief Moment of Truth in the immediate wake of the insurrection, and Ann Telnaes remembers that moment and how fleeting it was. Mitch McConnell may have accidentally said something about “Four legs good, two legs bad,” or maybe you misheard him.

But no: What he surely said was “Four legs good, two legs better,” and if you don’t remember it that way, you’re simply wrong and you’re also probably disloyal.

Michael Ramirez (Creators) explains it: Hunter Biden and Tish James are monsters and Joe Biden likes them because he likes monsters. But we don’t like monsters, do we?

So don’t ask why we think monsters are bad or what they did that makes us call them monsters.

That would be disloyal!

Chip Bok (Counterpoint) makes the point that, much as we want to believe our system of government is surviving, the scorched earth tactics with which we have been pursuing power make it hard to see a healthy nation ahead.

Even at the height of the 60s, hostility only dwelt at the fringes; most people tried to get along, and the Watergate revelations were traumatic because we still believed government should operate honestly. Perhaps you had to be there.

Today, things are much more simple: If everyone is corrupt and they’re all the same, we don’t have to think about it.

We don’t even have to vote, because what difference would it make?

It mattered to Thomas Paine, but he’s an old dead white man.

But why risk it? Tell yourself: They’re all the same. They’re all corrupt. It’s not my fault.

Or you could stand up.

8 thoughts on “CSotD: The Coming Election (if you want one)

  1. The Ramirez cartoon is probably referring to brother James Biden, not Letitia James, since it’s captioned “family portrait.”

    1. That one was so confusing to me. I get it’s just more “HUNTER BAD” but it doesn’t even make sense.

  2. I can always count on Lisa Benson, Steve Kelly, and Gary Varvel to take the hard line “hate the libs” attitude. Including the times when it doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense.

    1. If there is a debate, both candidates should play by the same rules. Both will be locked in a sound proof booth, and the microphone will be turned on only during the time allotted for them to speak. Microphones will be turned off promptly at the end of the allotted time.
      I don’t think that DJT would accept those terms, because he would no longer be able to bully his opponents, and take up more time than what is allowed.

  3. The Predecessor-In-Chief Himself seems to have been the source of the “Biden was on PEDs” frenzy, having posted on his pet antisocial medium “THE DRUGS ARE WEARING OFF!” after a Biden stumble.

  4. Wonder when we’re going get some cartoons of Katie Britt and her “Stepford wife broadcasting from a model home kitchen” routine that passed for a rebuttal. SNL did a pretty good job though.

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