The Week in Editorial Cartoons – Mission Accomplished

(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Crossposted at Daily Kos and Docudharma

Chris Britt

The Oil Crisis is Solved by Chris Britt,, see reader comments in the State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL)


PLEASE READ THIS: There are another 25-30 editorial cartoons and videos in the comments section of this diary over on Daily Kos.

Check them out.

:: ::


This weekly diary takes a look at the past week’s important news stories from the perspective of our leading editorial cartoonists (including a few foreign ones) with analysis and commentary added in by me.

When evaluating a cartoon, ask yourself these questions:

1. Does a cartoon add to my existing knowledge base and help crystallize my thinking about the issue depicted?

2. Does the cartoonist have any obvious biases that distort reality?

3. Is the cartoonist reflecting prevailing public opinion or trying to shape it?

The answers will help determine the effectiveness of the cartoonist’s message.

Marshall Ramsey

Marshall Ramsey, (Clarion Ledger, Jackson, MS)

Rick McKee, Augusta Chronicle (GA), Buy this cartoon

Jeff Stahler

Jeff Stahler, (Columbus Dispatch)

Ken Catalino, Nationally Syndicated Cartoonist, Buy this cartoon

:: ::


Walt Handelsman, (Newsday)

As relieved as residents of the Gulf Coast region were, I’m sure, to hear that the oil leak had been temporarily stopped, editorial cartoonists were decidedly unimpressed by British Petroleum’s actions. Enormous environmental damage has been done to the Gulf Coast ecosystems and it will take a very long time to undo it.  

Paul the Octopus by Bob Englehart, Hartford Courant, Buy this cartoon

:: ::

Englehart states the obvious on his paper’s blog

The damage already has been done.  It has ruined the water for years to come; whole areas of the coast have been destroyed.  A way of life in the bordering states will have to change somehow.  To what, I don’t know.

Whining by Clay Jones, Freelance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA), Buy this cartoon

:: ::

Jones makes a sarcastic comment on his blog, fully aware that it will take years (if not decades) before ecosystems and life around the Gulf of Mexico will be restored to its pre-spill levels, if at all!

Now that the leak is capped, maybe all the fine BP executives can get their lives back.

:: ::

Fox News by Jimmy Margulies, New Jersey Record, Buy this cartoon

Discrimination has to do with one’s behavior and can be countered by enacting laws that level the playing field for people of all races in this country.  Racism, on the other hand, can sometimes be hard to decipher and pinpoint as it emanates from less-transparent beliefs and attitudes.  Rogers punctures a fairly common belief among certain whites that in order to not appear nor act racist, all they have to do is say that they know some people of color.  By invoking this “some of my best friends are black” defense, it might pacify a few people but such phony shows of concern did not impress the NAACP as it called upon leaders of the Tea Party to condemn racist elements within its ranks

Rob Rogers,, see reader comments in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

:: ::

Black Tea

The Tea Party folks are upset because the NAACP asked them to reign in some of their more racist members.  Seems like a fair request, especially to a group of people who have been seen holding signs depicting Obama as Hitler.  Not to mention they are almost exclusively white.

:: ::

Bill Day

Bill Day, (Memphis Commercial-Appeal)

:: ::

Finance Reform by Rob Rogers, (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Rogers sees Finance Reform as a step in the right direction and one which he hopes will rein in some of Wall Street’s excesses

Wall Street reform is finally here.  It is about time.  No, I don’t think big government is the answer to all this county’s ills, but after watching deregulation destroy the economy, I am all for government regulation.  And while you’re at it, take back their bonuses.

There were a fairly large number of editorial cartoons late last night and this morning pertaining to the Shirley Sherrod fiasco.  See my comments in the last section of this diary just above the diary poll. Hope you like this week’s edition.  Thanks.

:: ::


Ed Stein

Containment by Ed Stein, (formerly of the Rocky Mountain News), see reader comments on Stein’s blog

:: ::

Borrow a Page from Harry Truman’s Playbook, Mr. President

Stein implies on his blog that President Barack Obama ought to borrow a page from President Harry Truman’s 1948 playbook and vigorously defend his administration’s record while giving the Republicans all kinds of hell.  While both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives passed extension of unemployment benefits in the past couple of days — one signed by President Barack Obama — Stein’s advice is still relevant for the Democratic Party to adopt a get-tough approach towards the Republican Party

Once again, I’m perplexed by the inability of the Senate to do what has always been routine-extend unemployment benefits during a recession.  I’m equally perplexed by the silence from the White House on the issue — Obama should be out there every day demanding that the benefits be extended, and chiding Republicans and recalcitrant Democrats for their inaction, which compounds the cruelty of this deep economic hole we’re in.  Americans should be outraged that our politics have become so dysfunctional that the people who’ve lost their jobs are held hostage to satisfy the electoral aspirations of a few.

The aftermath of World War II was to prove quite messy for governing political parties of two of the major victorious allies.  Not only did Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the Tory Party lose to Clement Attlee’s Labour Party a month before the war had ended in August 1945, demobilization of troops, labor union strikes, and post-war economic conditions in the United States all contributed to President Harry Truman’s approval ratings slipping down to 32% just before the 1946 Congressional Elections. Under Truman, after almost a decade and a half of legislative control, the Democrats lost both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives in the 1946 Elections.  

In this 1948 editorial cartoon by Clifford K. Berryman of the Washington Star, Truman seems unfazed by bad polls, negative statements announcing his political demise, or taunting by his opponent, Governor Tom Dewey (R-NY), who most political pundits (including many Democrats) were expecting to see elected as their next president.  There’s something quite attractive about a political leader who exudes calm and quiet confidence.  

Gearing up almost two years later for the 1948 Presidential Election, Truman painted the Republican-controlled 80th Congress as the “Do Nothing” Congress in harshly partisan tones and one which seemed incapable of passing any substantive legislation

The campaign of 1948 was a study in contrasts.  Dewey, as befitted a clear front runner, staged a very subdued campaign, hoping to assure victory by avoiding discussion of troublesome issues.  Truman did the opposite, figuring that he had little to lose.  He embarked on a 31,000-mile train trip across the nation and delivered hundreds of off-the-cuff speeches to crowds that often greeted the president with cries of “Give ’em Hell, Harry!”  And Truman did.  He lambasted the “do-nothing, good-for-nothing” Eightieth Congress for its inaction and hoped that his opponent would be tarnished in the process.

Truman raised the stakes by summoning a special session of Congress in July, proclaiming that he was offering the legislators an opportunity to enact some of the liberal planks they had proposed in the Republican platform.  The results were meager, reinforcing the allegation that Congress did nothing.

At his whistle-stop rallies, Truman spoke out on behalf of civil rights legislation, for repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act and in support of farm aid programs. By trumpeting these issues, the president helped to revive the old New Deal coalition of Southern blacks, labor unionists and farmers.

:: ::

Note: There are more editorial cartoons about the 1948 Election in this diary — The Week in Editorial Cartoons – Confronting Racism — that I wrote last year.  Among other issues, it looked at Harry Truman’s decision to desegregate the U.S. Armed Services in 1948.

In any two elections, the political dynamic is never the same as circumstances, the players involved, voter demographics, and a number of other factors change and, thus, the approach to it.  Even so, adopting something like Truman’s winning strategy is a political winner for the Democratic Party.  It is true that unlike 1948, the Democrats control both legislative chambers in 2010 (a non-presidential election year) but it is also clear to almost everyone which side is acting as the obstructionist political party.  It is the know-nothing, do-nothing Republican Party.

In the 1948 Election, taking it to the GOP only enabled Truman to pull off what many political analysts consider to be the greatest upset in American political history. Democrats not only regained control of Congress but Truman defeated heavily-favored Republican nominee Tom Dewey.  In spite of party support being diluted due to defections by members of Strom Thurmond’s States Right Party (Dixiecrats) on the right and Henry Wallace’s Progressive Party on the left (as shown in this 1948 Chicago Tribune editorial cartoon on the right), Truman largely directed his fire towards the GOP.  The Democrats picked 9 seats in the U.S. Senate (54-42 majority) and 75 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives (271-173 majority).

It is indeed time for President Obama and Congressional Democrats to take the gloves off when referring to the Republican Party.  It has become abundantly clear to many on this blog that trying to reach the elusive goal of bipartisanship is not only unachievable but simply foolish. Half-hearted efforts, timidity and equivocation will not fire up nor, importantly, excite the Democratic base.  Drawing sharp contrasts with and initiating an all-out political attack on the “Party of No” could put the GOP on the defensive.

A recent poll showed that 63% of Americans believe that the country is headed in the wrong direction.  What can the Democrats do to reverse this trend?  Voters need to be presented with a clear choice among the two parties.  Only by taking an aggressive approach and vigorously defending its record, the Democratic Party can ensure high(er) voter turnout than present trends indicate and, in doing so, achieve some degree of success in this November’s Elections.

:: ::

1. Cartoons of the Week

Steve Breen

Steve Breen, (San Diego Union-Tribune)

That other great chronicler of the American south, William Faulkner, writes of racism as though it were an inevitable occurrence, a foundation already laid by the heavens, and merely portrayed and explored in fiction, while Lee writes with a fiercely progressive ink, in which there is nothing inevitable about racism and its very foundation is open to question.

an article in the Guardian newspaper celebrating Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning classic novel published in 1960

John Sherffius

John Sheffius, (Boulder Daily Camera)

Fox News Bus by Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune, Buy this cartoon

Jack Ohman, (Portland Oregonian)

Sarah Palin – Bard of Wasilla by Taylor Jones,, Buy this cartoon

Jeff Stahler

Jeff Stahler, (Columbus Dispatch)

Jeff Sessions v Elena Kagan by Taylor Jones,, Buy this cartoon

Tom Toles, Slate – Washington Post and Tony Auth, Slate – Philadelphia Inquirer

(click links to enlarge cartoons)

Joe Heller, Green Bay Press-Gazette, Buy this cartoon

Nick Anderson

Ruff Day by Nick Anderson,, see reader comments in the Houston Chronicle

John Sherffius, (Boulder Daily Camera)

Steve Benson, (Arizona Republic)

:: ::

2. Is the Worst Over for People of the Gulf Region?

Ed Stein

Science to the Rescue by Ed Stein, (formerly of the Rocky Mountain News), see reader comments on Stein’s blog

In the face of mounting and (largely) irrefutable scientific evidence that Climate Change poses a very serious and permanent threat to the planet’s well-being, Stein cautions us that in a society with blind faith in miracles that new and improved technology can seemingly perform, there is one thing lacking: common sense and political will.  Technology, by itself, is no substitute for human judgment and cannot protect us from our own failings.  Technology is, he tells us, a means to an end; those seeing it as an end in itself do so at their own peril

It’s becoming increasingly clear that global warming is real, and that human activity does have a profound effect on the global environment.  Remember the recent dustup over the veracity of climate change experts, in which emails seemed to show that some scientists were doctoring the results?  Two independent analyses have absolved them completely, and confirmed that the scientific findings of accelerated global warming are indeed accurate.  

The only people left who still believe that climate change is a hoax are those who don’t want to pay the price of cleaning up their businesses and their political allies (and the gullible citizens they continue to manipulate).  Yet we dither, as the damage mounts, and reaches a point at which it is irreversible.  We continue to believe that new technologies will somehow bail us out at the eleventh hour.  We also believed that the space shuttle wouldn’t fail.  And that our understanding of the economy, aided by number-crunching super computers, had become so sophisticated that the markets were immune to risk.  And we believed that oil drilling was safe, that the technology was so advanced that something like the disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico was highly improbable, if not impossible.

Global Warming by John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune, Buy this cartoon

Marshall Ramsey

Marshall Ramsey, (Clarion Ledger, Jackson, MS)

Energy Independence Day by Mike Keefe, Denver Post, Buy this cartoon

Marshall Ramsey

Marshall Ramsey, (Clarion Ledger, Jackson, MS)

Matt Bors

Matt Bors, (Idiot Box)

Clay Bennett

Plug the Hole by Clay Bennett,, see reader comments in the Chattanooga Times Free Press

BP Stops Oil Leak by Dave Granlund,, Buy this cartoon

:: ::

3. The Shirley Sherrod Affair: Shame on FOX News and Their Racist Allies

Kevin Siers, Charlotte Observer, Buy this cartoon

Conservative Blogger Andrew Breitbart Simpson by RJ Matson, New York Observer, Buy this cartoon

Victory! by Clay Bennett,, see reader comments in the Chattanooga Times Free Press

Rob Rogers, (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack by Taylor Jones,, Buy this cartoon

Shirley Sherrod by Bob Englehart, Hartford Courant, Buy this cartoon

Signe Wilkinson, (Philadelphia Daily News)

Tony Auth, Slate – Phildelphia Inquirer

(click link to enlarge cartoon)

Teachable moment by Nick Anderson,, see reader comments in the Houston Chronicle

Reality Bites by Tom Toles, Slate – Washington Post

(click link to enlarge cartoon)

Conservatives won the racism battle this week, because they embarrassed the White House with the Shirley Sherrod firing and apology.  The issue of conservative media embarrassing themselves is not even a question, because they are past embarrassment.  So another short-term victory for you at the expense of long-term damage to everyone else.

Toles writes on his blog that for the time being, conservatives may feel giddy for embarrassing the White House but it may not really help their cause in the long-term

Stuart Carlson, Washington Post – Universal Press Syndicate

(click link to enlarge cartoon)

Bruce Plante, Tulsa World, Buy this cartoon

Jeff Danziger, Slate – New York Times Syndicate

(click link to enlarge cartoon)

MIke Luckovich, (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Pat Oliphant, Slate – Universal Press Syndicate

(click link to enlarge cartoon)

Mike Keefe, Denver Post, Buy this cartoon

:: ::

4. Tea Party Racism

Tea Party Caucus by Chan Lowe, (South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Lowe simply cannot understand why elected Republican members of Congress rail against the evils of Big Government while drawing a pretty good salary and not to mention the enormous perks that come with the office.  Hypocrisy, thy name is the Republican Party!

It does seem ironic that these politicians are jumping on the Tea Party bandwagon in hopes they’ll get reelected and be able to spend two more years mismanaging the same Evil Empire against which they rail.  If I had a job with their salary, perks, and benefits, I wouldn’t want to leave it, either.  Sure beats taking your chances in the private sector.

Small government is for the little people, not elected cheeses, particularly if along with the job comes a tidy staff allowance to hire lackeys who can handle the nuts and bolts, thereby leaving you free to demagogue your pet issues.

The new caucus members had better hope that their tri-corned constituents never find out the full extent of those benefits they pull down-the free gym membership, the more-than-generous pension, the health care, the travel allowance, the taxpayer-financed self-serving puff piece mailings, to name only those I’ve heard of.

They might just find themselves on the wrong end of a pitchfork.

Mike Thompson,, see reader comments in the Detroit Free Press

Rex Babin, Sacramento Bee, Buy this cartoon

House Fire by Nick Anderson,, see reader comments in the Houston Chronicle

Clay Jones, Freelance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA), Buy this cartoon

Mark Williams Drives the Tea Party Express Bus by Chris Britt,, see reader comments in the State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL)

Tim Eagan, Deep Cover, Buy this cartoon

Chan Lowe

Tea Party Racist? by Chan Lowe,, read Lowe’s blog entry commenting on this cartoon in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Mike Thompson,, see cartoon animation in the Detroit Free Press

:: ::

5. The Bard of Wasilla: To Tweet or Not to Tweet

Mike Luckovich

Ground Zero Mosque by Nate Beeler, Washington Examiner, Buy this cartoon

Signe Wilkinson, (Philadelphia Daily News)

Jeff Darcy, Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Buy this cartoon

Palin Refudiates by Dan Wasserman, (Boston Globe)

Language of Palin by Nate Beeler, Washington Examiner, Buy this cartoon

:: ::

6. Michael Steele and His Wingnut Friends

Michael Steele Leads RNC Parade by RJ Matson, Roll Call, Buy this cartoon

Michael Steele by Bruce Plante, see reader comments in Tulsa World, Buy this cartoon

John Sherffius, (Boulder Daily Camera)

Tea Party Racist Elements by John Cole, Scranton Times-Tribune, Buy this cartoon

Glenn Beck Saves Jesus by Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune, Buy this cartoon

Matt Bors

WisconSIN by Matt Bors, (Idiot Box)

:: ::

Bors writes on his blog about hypocritical beliefs held by many like Pagels in the GOP

A few blogs turned up evidence of a fringe candidate named Ernest J Pagels, Jr., who is running for the Senate in Wisconsin.  The guy doesn’t have a website, but he does have a hard-on for outlawing fun things like porn and being gay.

:: ::

7. A Bit of Relief for the Unemployed in a Fragile Economy

Throw the Bums Out! by Matt Bors, (Idiot Box)

Bors has some harsh words for the Republican Party and sees it as indifferent to the plight of the poor and unemployed

Republicans believe we should give tax cuts for the rich and starve — literally starve — the unemployed and poor to motivate them to go get jobs.  You might say that is hyperbole, but I don’t know what else you can call cutting off the only lifeline millions of Americans depend on when there are simply not enough jobs to go around…

John Kenneth Galbraith famously said Conservatism is a philosophy about finding a “superior moral justification for selfishness.”  In this case it’s a selective concern for the deficit that masks their contempt for the poor.  This is the party Americans will vote for in November.

Stuart Carlson, Slate – Universal Press Syndicate

(click link to enlarge cartoon)

The Unemployed Living Like Kings by Bruce Plante, see the large number of reader comments in Tulsa World, Buy this cartoon

Out Of Power Point by RJ Matson, Roll Call, Buy this cartoon

Retirement is for Losers by Tom Tomorrow, This Modern World, see reader comments in Salon magazine

(click this link to enlarge cartoon)

Deficit Hawks by Tim Eagan, Deep Cover, Buy this cartoon

Obama and the Stimulus by Bruce Plante, see the large number of reader comments in Tulsa World, Buy this cartoon

Altie Cartoonist Matt Bors didn’t draw it but posted this cartoon on his blog

(click this link to enlarge cartoon)

:: ::

This cartoon was pulled from the AAEC site earlier today. I believe “Keynesian” is the word he was going for here.

I suppose “Canzian” could be the economic theory based on stocking up on canned goods when you can’t find a goddamn job because the American populace is too dumb to support unemployment benefits, let alone Google a simple term.

:: ::

8. Financial Reform: An Obama Administration Achievement

Today’s Lesson by RJ Matson, Roll Call, Buy this cartoon

Bruce Beattie, (Daytona Beach News-Journal)

:: ::

9. Final Thoughts

Finally, will the Bard of Wasilla let us know why the ignorant around her are so angry?  I await her tweets.

Shannon Wheeler, Too Much Coffee Man!, Buy this cartoon

:: ::

A Note About the Diary Poll

White House Fears FOX News by RJ Matson, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Buy this cartoon

Some of you may think that R.J. Matson is being unusually harsh in portraying President Barack Obama as cowering under his desk because of potentially negative television coverage on Fox News.  All presidents get the accolades for successes and blame for failures in their administrations.  That goes without saying.

Truth be told, as disingenuous and, yes, racist as Fox News’ behavior was in this sorry episode, this was nothing short of a train wreck for the White House.  To be sure, President Obama didn’t make the decision to fire Shirley Sherrod but he was served rather poorly by his lieutenants at both the U.S.D.A and at the White House.

Have we, as a political party, forgotten the poisonous and destructive role that Fox News has repeatedly played in this country’s politics for well over a decade?  From its coverage of the Clinton Impeachment to the Florida Recount, Texas Redistricting, California Recall Election, and on through the years, FOX has never — and will never in the future — cast the Democratic Party in a positive light. Why did we think it would do so now? Should it not have rung serious alarm bells at the White House when they first heard of Andrew Breitbart’s phony attempt to counter charges of racism by the NAACP and malign a decent and loyal employee?  Whatever happened to those finely-tuned political antennae that the 2008 Obama Campaign was famously known for only a couple of years ago?

As Congressman Paul Hodes wrote in his diary — Weak Knees — we need to fight back hard

The firing of Sherrod over what turned out to be a heavily (and deceptively) edited video of her remarks is the latest example.  When the far right bulldozes, too many of us buckle.

Democrats need to stop panicking every time we find the right-wing media in our face. The only way to beat back the misinformation they spread is by calling them out and holding them accountable – not caving to pressure from their echo chambers.

We have no excuse for not fully understanding what the far-right is capable of in terms of hateful and deceitful rhetoric.  From Glenn Beck to Rush Limbaugh to Andrew Breitbart – they’ve shown us time and again exactly how willing they are to distort the truth.

:: ::

David Horsey, see reader comments in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (editorial cartoon on right)

More to the point, what I am interested in learning from you is your opinion of future responses by the Obama Administration to such displays of thuggery by its political opponents.  Will it — and Congressional Democrats — learn the right lessons and toughen their spines in the future?

Remember to take the diary poll.

Choose One Lobster to Represent Neil Gorsuch on the All Dog Supreme Court

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...


Skip to comment form

  1. Should you run into Sharron Angle, GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate and Teabagger extraordinaire

    Don Wright

    Don Wright, (Tribune Media Services)

    :: ::

    Tips and the like here.  I’ll try to post the next edition of this diary early next week.  Thanks.  

  2. Fu#@*n Red Sox!

    Steve Breen

    Steve Breen, (San Diego Union-Tribune)

    Scott Stantis

    Scott Stantis, (Chicago Tribune)

  3. Rob Rogers

    Rob Rogers, (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

    The FBI uncovered a ring of Russian spies living in the USA, mostly in suburbs.  As it turns out, these spies were not really in touch with anyone important and they were still using old spy techniques like invisible ink and trash can drops.  My guess is they were probably using spy decoder rings they found in cereal boxes.  No, this is NOT your father’s Cold War.

    Mike Luckovich

    Mike Luckovich, (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

    Mark Streeter, Savannah Morning News, Buy this cartoon

    Pat Oliphant, Universal Press Syndicate

    (click link to enlarge cartoon)

    Ten Russian Spies by Rainer Hachfeld, Neues Deutschland (Germany), Buy this cartoon

    The Spies Next Door by John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune, Buy this cartoon

    1. my favorite Russian spies

  4. I will finish reading tis in the AM when my eyes aren’t so blurry from lack of sleep

    1. … for promoting this diary.

      Here’s an interesting interview with editorial cartoonist Chris Britt of the State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL).  I’ve posted dozens of his cartoons over the past year and few cartoonists portray the bizarre behavior of wingnuts better than he does.

      This interview also answers the question that some of you have asked in recent weeks: are editorial cartoons supposed to be funny or, at times, evoke other kinds of emotions?

      :: ::

      The State Journal-Register‘s cartoonist, Chris Britt, talks about the motivation behind his cartoons, his thoughts on their place in the newspaper as compared to op-ed pieces and editorials, and the impact that cartoons have on his readers.  Included in the video is a timelapse from start to finish as Chris draws one of his daily cartoons on camera.

      1. If I had it every week I’d put it up at 2 pm every week.

        Unless there’s a time you’d like better.

Comments have been disabled.