The Lowe Down

Category: 2008 Presidential Campaign (79)

John Edwards' cheatin' heart

rielle.gifIf commenting on dry-as-dust topics like jobs policy or health care reform is the journalistic equivalent of eating your vegetables, then for me this stuff is like the rich dessert your mom gave you as a reward for having choked down all those lima beans.

John was just a little too slick. He had a little too much of the cornpone, Brylcreemed, small-town life-insurance salesman about him.

We vaguely felt it, and it hovered there in the back of our minds, but we couldn't quite get a fix on it--the rags to riches story, the perfect family, the way he switched on that youthful, exuberant glow when the klieg lights came on.

There might be something to be said for letting the whole process begin in Iowa. Evidently those hard-bitten farmers remained unmoved, notwithstanding all the months Edwards spent in their state courting them. When you have to wake up before dawn every day to sling slop to hogs, there ain't much time for romance. Instead, you develop a keen, clear-eyed ability to cut right through the shellac.

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Chan Lowe cartoon: Not such a gay old time

promises.gifThe Obama administration has made it abundantly clear that it's a whole lot easier to make rash promises as a candidate than it is to actually run a country.

When George W. Bush uttered the pathetic, plaintive statement in a 2004 campaign debate that
"It's HAAAARD!" being president, you could almost see his arms flailing.

Balancing the competing priorities of America's constituencies, especially if they number among one's supporters, has to be among the tougher tasks of any chief executive.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender groups, having campaigned their hearts out to get Barack Obama elected, are rightfully miffed that their man has relegated their issues to the back burner. Democrats seem to do this with the GLBT crowd, the same way Republicans pay lip service to social conservatives when they need to get elected.

From Obama's viewpoint, he's using every ounce of his capital to get health care reform passed, and while he is surely sympathetic to gays, he feels he would so squander his clout if he took a side foray into that minefield that in the end, he'd get nothing accomplished. Remember what happened to Bill Clinton and Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Sure it makes political sense from a coldly analytical perspective, but cold analysis wasn't what Obama was delivering in those roof-raising speeches about "This Is Our Time!"

And, as every cynical White House has said since the dawn of the republic when the base feels dissed: "Where else are they gonna go?"

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The remaking of Caribou Barbie


It has always been a goal of mine to contrive a way to use Burkina Faso in a cartoon. Never heard of the place? Maybe you remember it by its former moniker, Upper Volta (although, to my knowledge, a Lower Volta has never existed).

Or, maybe you don't. I felt that the more obscure-sounding places I could list, the better the humor would work. In other words, forget Egypt or Algeria.

Having now fulfilled my lifelong career aspiration, there is really nothing left to live for, professionally speaking. That aside, my feeling is that the more Sarah Palin mentions how she was wrongly characterized by her handlers in the recent campaign, the more it will remind us, four years from now, that she had a reputation as a hopelessly ditzy fashion diva back in 2008.

Helpful hint to you rabid Palinophiles out there: Those places I named are all countries in Africa.

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Election night fun and games, Part II

Once again, follow along as this remarkably articulate fellow guides you through the vicissitudes of working on Election Night deadline.

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G.O.P. circular firing squad


Ah...just when we thought all the excitement of the campaign was over, and it was time to settle down and eat our lima beans while President-elect Obama dragged us through the fleshing-out of his cabinet...

Now comes the glass of fine liqueur at the end of a rich, multi-course meal for us political junkies. The Republicans unsheathe the long knives and begin the much-anticipated scapegoating of their own. She doesn't know Africa is a continent? Can't name the countries in NAFTA? He refused her pleas to play the Rev. Wright card? His henchpeople mishandled her?

One can only hope it lasts through the Transition, which the economic news is making drearier by the day.

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The cartoon you'll never see in the newspaper


On Election Day, I had to be ready with several alternative cartoons, just in case. The deadline for the Opinion Pages was 1 a.m. Wednesday, and there were three contingencies.
No.1: Obama wins. No.2: McCain wins. No.3: They're still counting, and we don't know by deadline.

What you see here is the sketch I had ready for an eleventh-hour McCain upset. Obviously, I never had to bother to ink it because they called the election for Obama relatively early on, so we ran that cartoon instead.

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Hurry up and wait!


Rarely have Americans been called upon to perform a small service that will have such a consequential outcome for the republic as they have in this election. Think of your vote as the tangible expression of your hopes and dreams for your way of life, your friends, your loved ones, and even people you may not ever meet. It isn't just a right, it's a gift.

I voted last week, and waited in line a couple of hours to do so. Far from being tedious, it was a pleasant experience. All the folks in my section of the line were friends by the end of our trip to the ballot box (or, in our case, scanning machine).

The lady ahead of me, a delightful naturalized American citizen from Argentina named Roberta, gave me her recipe for chimichurri steak sauce, which is still burning my mouth (that must be the "warm feeling" one gets after doing one's civic duty). Nobody in line groused, and there wasn't even a thrill ride waiting for us at the end.

Most important, if I'm not happy about the outcome of this election, I now have a right to complain about it.

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The campaign's final days...thank God


My colleagues on the Editorial Board and I remember clearly last spring, when John McCain sat before us in a small room and declared, with a straight face, that he would run a clean and honorable campaign, one worthy of the American people.

This must have been before the Rovian pod people took posession of his brain, although one could argue that his campaign has, in fact, been worthy of the American people. We'll see after Tuesday.

Assuming, for the sake of argument, that he loses, he'll have to go back to the Senate. His own party will shun him for blowing the race with his craven choice of Palin--plus they always detested him, anyway. The Democrats will despise him for the name-calling, the robocalls, the whisper campaigns, and the gutter politics. That leaves only Joe Lieberman to eat Senate bean soup with, which is like sharing lunch with that droning U.S. History teacher in high school who taught by staying one textbook chapter ahead of the class.

Technical note: Normally, I draw using brushes, old-fashioned steel pen points and India ink. Today, I thought I'd try doing the whole thing with a ball-point pen, because of the detail. Plus, the adolescent in me thought it would be cool to draw a trebuchet.

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Governor Crist gets shabby treatment


If you're like most Floridians, your opinion of Gov. Charlie runs somewhere between vanilla and French vanilla. He's a reasonably inoffensive, likable gent. Not exactly a barn-burner, but as a person, he's quite charming.

Compared to Sarah Palin, however, he looks positively Lincolnesque. Just try to put yourself in his shoes after he used his considerable prestige in our contentious state to pull John McCain's chestnuts out of the fire during the primary, when everyone had given his candidacy up for dead. This is the thanks he gets? Princess Needless Markup who played hooky during junior high civics class?

You can bet that if Charlie had been the VP pick, he'd have been able to tell Katie Couric what the Vice-President's statutory role is, and he wouldn't be dragging down the public discourse by calling his opponent a socialist, terrorist, Marxist teacher of sex ed to kindergartners.

That's probably why McCain didn't give him the job. Buck up, Governor. You're too good for it.

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What happens AFTER the election?


Whenever the White House changes hands, there's this charming little ritual that occurs during the interregnum, usually a couple of weeks after the election.

The lame-duck incumbent invites the President-elect to lunch, presumably to show him where the Clinton Memorial Bathroom is off the Oval Office, to tell him that we do in fact have space aliens in the deep-freeze at some air force base in New Mexico, and to whisper in his ear that all those piles of ingots deposited at Fort Knox are really spray-painted blocks of wood.

Whatever goes on during this private conversation, the new kid always comes out a couple of hours later looking about ten years older. Happens every time. So add that stuff to what we already KNOW the new President will have to face, and you begin to question the sanity of anyone who is fighting so hard to land that dead-end job. Surely it isn't for the fancy plane, or knowing you can exterminate mankind in retaliation if somebody cuts your motorcade off on the Interstate.

Maybe it's having your own theme song. I could get into having the Marine Band strike up "Hail to the Chief" every time I strolled into the newsroom.

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For such a choice, I waited three hours in line?!!?


Normally, I don't like to rely on so many words in cartoons, but I couldn't think of a more effective way to make the point about negative campaigning... without resorting to cliches (like avalanches of mud pouring out of the TV set).

Why not list, in simplistic terms, the way each side has tried to frame its opponent in our minds? When you lay it out this way, we really see how absurd this type of campaigning is when we're staring a possible depression in the face.

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Sarah Palin's $150K political trousseau


Just when things are starting to settle in for the final grind to the finish line, somebody comes forth bearing a luscious little tidbit on a silver platter.

Evidently, the McCain campaign went through some bookkeeping legerdemain to make the $150,000 it spent on Sarah Palin's wardrobe legal (you see, the Feds take a dim view toward the purchasing of personal items with campaign funds). As if that weren't enough, her shopping assistant is the same guy who dreamed up the robocall campaign. It says something about what the McCain people think of Palin's judgment that they can't even trust her to choose her own wardrobe properly.

What, were they afraid she'd just take the hundred and fifty grand and go straight to Frederick's of Hollywood? That's a lot of bustiers.

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Early voting blues


One of my colleagues voted early yesterday, and she spoke afterward of how moved she was that so many people were willing to stand in line out in the sun for so long to make sure that their vote was counted.

This election, especially the circumstances surrounding it, may have finally gotten people to understand how much government--and who is leading it-- can affect their everyday lives. The economic crisis hits home in a way nothing else can. It isn't abstract, it isn't something that only the chattering classes yak about on Sunday morning talk shows. Never have the choices been so stark, or the outcome of greater consequence.

Hence, the connection I made in the cartoon between voting and the economy. Go stand in line to vote. It's a lot better for your health than standing in line for fast food.

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The curse of robocalls


The nation has been pretty evenly divided between the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates for several election cycles, and the winner has been determined by the unaffiliated sliver in the middle. This is the group that is now being fought over with all the ads and robocalls.

The leader of the free world may be determined by people who are still so up in the air about their decision that they are actually susceptible to this stuff. It's almost as scary as someone who believes we are entering the biblical end of times being a heartbeat away from having her finger on the nuclear button.

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Political slurs examined


Have you ever finished a project, and been so proud of it that you can't wait to show it to your friends, because you know it'll confirm to them, unequivocally, that you really are the genius your mother told you you were when you presented her with that first crayon drawing of a flower?

That was the case with this cartoon. It's also the curse of the cartoonist, who always gets the cartoon because he's the one who dreamed it up in the first place.

Imagine my dismay when I ran it past my distinguished colleagues, Antonio Fins and Nicole Brochu, and the sketch was greeted with no more than a yawn and a scratch of the head. Tony told me to go ahead and run it if I wanted to; it was my call. Maybe I wasn't as brilliant as I thought, after all.

Conversely, there are times when, pushing deadline, I pull an idea out of a dark place that, to me, is the most moronic, simplistic excuse for a cartoon--and for some reason, it hits everybody's funny bone.

If any of the readers of this blog care to weigh in on the topic, I'd be interested in hearing what you think. SPOILER ALERT!!! DON'T READ PAST THIS PARAGRAPH IF YOU DON'T WANT TO SEE THE EXPLANATION OF THIS CARTOON!!! I feel I owe it to you, though.

The point is that it is as absurd to question Barack Obama's patriotism because his middle name is Hussein, as to believe that John McCain is a closet Australian because his middle name is Sydney. Neither man had his choice of names. Sydney, by the way, is a large city in Australia. Which is a foreign country.

Okay, it's a stretch.

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America meets Joe the Plumber


Meet America's newest celebrity. I'm sure you'll be seeing him on Larry King and Katie Couric. Maybe the ladies of The View can get him to unclog the john in the dressing room. Never did Andy Warhol's dictum about fifteen minutes of fame ring more true.

I think Obama and McCain fully entered a bizarre parallel universe when they began addressing Joe directly, as a stand-in for the American people. Pick up the phone, I say. Don't waste my time with Joe's tax woes. He makes a lot more money than most of us do. Of course, Joe--being a plumber--would have started the meter running from the moment he answered the phone, so maybe McCain was just trying to save his campaign money by talking to him through the TV networks.

For those of us old enough to remember, I envision a sitcom involving Joe, his mother, Josephine the Lady Plumber, and his grandmother, Rosie the Riveter, who all share the same huge mcmansion. They sit around the proverbial kitchen table, scheming a way to hornswoggle the government into bailing out their toxic mortgage by rescheduling it at the house's new, depressed value.

With special guest appearances by U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson as Mr. Clean and Sarah Palin as Betty Crocker. It's a green-light project for sure.

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Presidential debate


Crisis over. With the Dow surging an unprecedented 938 points today, we can, with our characteristically short national attention span, move on to the next topic.

That means, our candidates can once again spar over ephemera like lipstick on pigs or who went to a cocktail party at whose house or who flew on whose private plane way back when.

I propose (considering how stilted and boring the debates have been so far), that rather than listening to those two stiffs yak at each other about their past associations, we draft the actual principals to get up on stage and do battle as surrogates. Ayres can even wear a Che Guevara t-shirt if he wants to.

If this idea grabs high ratings, we could schedule as a bonus for the American people--who have had to endure so much for so long--a debate between the Rev. Wright and Sarah Palin's witch-hunting pastor from Wasilla. They could sell it on Pay-Per-View, foreign objects from outside the ring allowed.

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Sarah Palin the pit bull


You don't have to be in the tank for one candidate or the other to be repulsed by what John McCain's vice-presidential running mate, Sarah Palin, has been doing on the stump lately.

According to news reports, she has incited her adoring crowds into yelling terms like "traitor," "terrorist," and "kill him" when she utters the name of her opponent at the top of the ticket, Barack Obama.

Nobody is against tough campaigning, but I think many would agree that this kind of rabble-rousing is beyond the pale. It is an attempt to awaken the ugliest side of the American character, and once one gets over the spine chills at the idea of what this kind of rhetoric could unleash in the body politic, one is overcome with sadness that a man as honorable as John McCain, who has given so much to his country, has stooped this low in his single-minded quest for the brass ring.

For, surely, it is John McCain who allows Sarah Palin to continue in this vein. His advisers may have seduced him with the siren song, "You can either be principled, or you can win," but had he not chosen to look the other way while she did his dirty work for him, it would surely not happen. He probably figures there is plenty of time to regain his integrity after he's elected, but we've now seen what he's capable of.

I liked the John McCain of 2000, along with many of my compatriots. I heard one wag on TV say, "Back in 2000, John McCain said there was a special place in hell for those Bush campaign operatives who smeared him. It seems that place is now in the McCain campaign, because they're all working for him."

Yes, it's all very sad.

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Obama and the financial crisis


Let's face it: the Wall Street meltdown has been good for the Democrats and the Obama campaign. His poll numbers suddenly surged as the numbers in our 401K's diminished.

I doubt Obama has any better idea how to fix the problem than McCain, but campaigns have little to do with truth and everything to do with perception. The fact that the Illinois senator cautiously stood back while Sen. Can-do McCain charged into the fray like a runaway rhino now makes him look like a wise elder statesman.

You can't help but think that, way down in their guts, die-hard Dems are praying that we teeter on the edge of the Apocalypse until November 5, when the clouds miraculously part and the future once again beckons under a President-elect Obama.

And not a day sooner--we know that the American electorate has the attention span of a flea. They might get seduced by another come-hither wink from Sarah Palin.

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Gay marriage


It reminds one of the life cycle of the cicada. Every four years, the gay marriage issue rears up and threatens the very existence of our republic. A furious burst of political activity ensues, characterized by a flurry of would-be laws being placed on state ballots nationwide for consideration by a vote of the people.

Some succeed, others don't. The real purpose is to turn out "The Base," which will, while they are angrily wearing a hole with their pencil into the optical scan ballot at the place that would ratify the anti-gay question, vote for the Republican candidate before they go back to sleep, politically speaking.

We should take one moment to think about not just how cynical, but how patronizing of "The Base" this strategy is. It assumes that there is a large portion of the electorate that will not even bother to turn out to vote in a presidential election unless there is a sweetener involved.

For the rest of us, the question would seem almost quaint and irrelevant, under current circumstances, if it didn't have such a potentially disastrous effect on people.

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Vice-presidential debate


Joe Biden and Sarah Palin are polar opposites, but as we slouch toward the Vice-presidential debate, we know they have one thing in common: when they open their mouths, it's likely to be entertaining, and in some cases, cringe-inducing.

This may be the most-watched Vice-presidential debate in history, not because of what we as a nation wish to learn about our on-deck leaders, but because of a NASCAR-like hope that there will be a spectacular crack-up at some point during the race. Even if Palin obeys her trainers and says nothing absurd, Biden may oblige and step over his own tongue for us.

Let's break out the popcorn and enjoy our American Civics, demolition-derby style.

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Reject corner redux


A note from Opinion Page Editor Tony Fins:

Following our Reject Corner posting this week, Chan took issue with my version of events. He points out, rightly so, that his comment about Obama and not seeing anything to criticize referred to the previous few days worth of news leading up to the drawing of the cartoon and not the entire campaign. That's true. Chan has drawn critical cartoons of the Democratic nominee throughout this election.

The larger point I was trying to make is that, as editor of the Opinion pages, one of my duties is to look at the broad menu of viewpoints and topics that we offer day-to-day. It's my role to make sure that the paper offers as comprehensive a take on political commentary as possible.

This is why I shot down the Palin cartoon. I felt that we needed more diversity of topics and themes that week. For the record, I thought the cartoon was effective and funny. Just ill timed, considering what we had printed the few days leading up to this one.

My comments:

I think Tony’s statement provides an effective response to those who feel that the Sun Sentinel rushes headlong into so-called doctrinaire editorial positions. Our Opinion staff and I, personally, have been accused of holding irrational viewpoints at all ends of the ideological spectrum. In fact, we arrive at the Sun Sentinel’s institutional positions through a collegial process that reflects the varied backgrounds of the members of our staff. Tony, as he has mentioned, maintains a sense of our overall balance and direction as our editor.

In my particular case, since I sign my work, my cartoons reflect my own point of view rather than that of the institution for which I work. I am not so irrational as to dismiss out of hand the viewpoints of those who disagree with me. In fact, a commentator’s maturity derives from his ability to incorporate new thinking and opinion into his worldview when it appears to make sense. This is essential to maintaining one’s credibility as a provider of meaningful opinion. I do not dispute that I have leaned more heavily, of late, on the candidacy of John McCain. This is because he has done such an effective job of executing the news-grabbing turn of strategy that begs for an editorial response (the choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate being one of them).

As a testament to Tony’s remark about timing, the cartoon presented here--which was the subject of the aforementioned Reject Corner--will be running, appropriately, on the Sun Sentinel’s Opinion Page on Thursday, the day of the Vice-presidential debate.

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John McCain suspends his campaign


This cartoon is a smorgasbord of images: a little something for everyone.

In searching for a vehicle to make my point, I intentionally harked back to those heroic equestrian statues of George Washington, because the Washingtonian resoluteness in the face of adversity is what John McCain is trying to evoke by suspending his campaign and returning to the capital. Here is the great leader marshaling his troops, rousing their morale when things seem at their most hopeless. He did, curiously, use the word, "patriotic," when he made the announcement that he was temporarily folding his tent for the greater good of the nation.

Of course, the image of the mounted leader is also reminiscent of Napoleon, and we all know what happened to him.

In keeping with McCain's militaristic persona, I dressed him in a 19th Century U.S. Cavalry uniform, and Baby Boomers will recognize Cpl. Agarn's buffoonish head cover stylization from the television series F Troop.

Finally, for you art historians, I wasn't consciously channeling Picasso here (God forbid!), but when I finished the drawing, I realized that the horse definitely has the same facial expression as the rearing steed in Guernica, which brings an element of chaos to the picture.

After all that, what the hell does the cartoon mean?

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John McCain gets religion


Up until about forty-eight hours ago, John McCain had a reputation for being Mr. Laissez-Faire. He fought government regulation tooth and nail. But, like his previous stance on offshore drilling, the scales have suddenly fallen from his eyes.

Funny thing how nobody's using the term "flip-flopper" this year. Remember 2004, when people dressed as huge sandals followed John Kerry around on the campaign trail? Remember the windsurfing ad? Oh-- wait a minute--he was a DEMOCRAT! When it's the Republican candidate, we call it a "strategic reassessment of the situation on the ground."

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Barack Obama's dilemma


There’s something the Obama campaign knows, and the McCain people know it too. It’s that little secret many Americans don’t know about themselves: Way down deep in parts of their souls they never visit, they’re prejudiced.

They don’t know it because the prejudice, until now, has remained dormant, waiting to be triggered. Racism comes in many forms. It isn’t just the overt kind-- the bigoted redneck shouting slurs.

Once activated, it’s cunning, pernicious. It steals into our thinking, cloaked in euphemism and rationalization.

As long as Barack Obama stays cool, speaks like a Harvard graduate and wears nice, tailored clothing, he doesn’t present a threat to the average white American. If John McCain gets angry, he’s just a patriotic war hero expressing righteous indignation for the lamentable state into which his country has fallen.

If Barack Obama gets angry, suddenly he’s a Black Panther about to hurl a Molotov cocktail into our gated community. He’s Rev. Wright, Jesse Jackson, Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan, and Al Sharpton rolled into one. “Martha! I knew it all along! He’s that guy hanging out at the intersection that we roll up the windows and lock the doors against! And HE wants US to give him the keys to the CAR???”’

It’s Obama’s job not to be goaded into rising to the bait that the McCain camp is so generously scattering on the waters, and lose his temper. He’s hobbled in that he can’t really sling it back the same way it’s being shoveled at him. He’s a new kind of politician, remember?

At the same time, nobody wants a man for President who appears weak. If he can’t stand up to John McCain, how will he keep Vlad Putin from using him as a chew toy? Americans like to see a little fire in their Presidential candidates. Well, in some of them.

It’s an almost impossible act to finesse. The race issue, much as we’d like to deny it, is just sitting there, throbbing softly... the cobra in the corner. Whatever the outcome in November, it’s going to take some time and honest self-examination as a people before we realize how truly groundbreaking the Obama candidacy has been in our society.

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Sarah Palin at sea


Well, she didn't fall on her face during the Gibson interview, but she didn't exactly come off sounding like she'd be ready to occupy the Oval Office "from day one," to quote another notorious political female.

One has to wonder what kind of attacks the Republicans would have launched had Barack Obama chosen someone with Palin's... um...qualifications... to be his running mate.

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Palm Beach County votes...?


It would be nice if the words, "Palm Beach County," evoked images of swaying palms, pristine beaches, and the good life when uttered abroad.

If only. Last week, I opened a lecture in Austria with an explanation of how George W. Bush got elected back in 2000. "I happen to be from Palm Beach County," I said, and immediately heads in the crowd started nodding up and down. "Ach, ja, ja," they said knowingly. "Der Falterfischwahlzettel! (the butterfly ballot!)" It sounds so much worse in German, doesn't it?

Here it is, eight years later, and we're still appealing to anybody who will listen to help us out of our electoral morass. Maybe the Jimmy Carter Center will come to our rescue.

Say what you will about Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Maryland) and his weaselly residency irregularities; that's small potatoes compared to his greatest sin, foisting Elections Supervisor Without Peer Dr. Arthur Anderson upon us. Safely ensconced in Civil Service Pension Valhalla, Theresa LePore is having a good laugh.

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Sarah Palin and Hillary


There is a delicious irony in this whole business about Sarah Palin. I can't remember in which play Shakespeare used the phrase, "hoist on his own petard," but it certainly describes Hillary's present situation.

If she hadn't hung on all the way to the end, if she hadn't made that bitter non-concession speech, if she hadn't talked about the need for "catharsis," then maybe those of her followers who remain disgruntled females might not have been up for the taking.

John McCain might have picked another boring rich white guy, and everything would have trundled along as expected. But, no. He picked a woman, and now Hillary finds herself too clever by half. If McCain wins, she won't be the first woman anything.

Now, she's forced to work her heart out for Obama, and sincerely, really sincerely (AAACK!), hope that he wins. And wait eight whole years now for her chance at the brass ring.

Even Bill, the political genius, couldn't have prognosticated this one.

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Hillary's immortal words live on...


OK, politics had the day off yesterday. I'm back to bashing your favorite political icon.

Actually, this was a rare opportunity to hit both sides at once: first, Hillary for being so disloyal to her own party as to indicate she thought the Republican was more qualified than her Democratic opponent to be President. There's nothing wrong with ambition, but I think this was unprecedented in a primary campaign.

Second, John McCain for concentrating on the insults Hillary hurled months ago in the heat of a primary battle, when what the country desperately needs to know is how he plans to get us out of our mess.

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Democratic Convention unity


From a journalistic perspective, you have to be grateful to Hillary and her most ardent followers for at least creating some news at what is otherwise a very predictable coronation ceremony. I hope they scream, wave signs, try to drown out the presumptive nominee, and make a general spectacle of themselves.

There will likely be no such antics at the Republican convention, plus they're trotting out Dick Cheney to keep the disgruntled conservatives fat, happy and in line.

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John McCain's housing problem


For those of you old enough to remember, this could turn out to be the $600 toilet seat of the 2008 election. Or not. Back in the 1980's, when waste and bloat were problems with military procurement (as if those problems ever went away), the American people had a hard time getting their arms around billions and trillions of dollars being spent on defense. Too abstract to compute.

Then a $600 contractor's invoice came to light for a bomber toilet seat, an everyday item that cost less than ten bucks at the time down at the local hardware store. Finally, Joe Taxpayer could visualize the waste. All hell broke loose in Congress as constituents began bombarding their representatives with phone calls and mail. John McCain's not being able to remember how many houses he owns could be another toilet seat moment, the tipping point when Americans grasp how out of touch he is with the rest of us. Or not. After all, it's probably a common problem for fat cat Republicans. Why single McCain out for ridicule? Shame on me.

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Hillary diehards


First, the idea floated by Hillary herself that her supporters need some kind of "catharsis" before they can be convinced to vote for the presumptive Democratic candidate is patronizing (matronizing?) on its face. It's exactly the kind of notion that feeds prejudices about why a woman would make a lousy president: that a female is more likely than a male to sacrifice common sense and reason to the altar of emotion, and God help us if her finger is on the button when she's having one of her...days.

It's surprising that a woman as smart as Hillary would buy into that line. Or, maybe it isn't so surprising if you believe that she's really out for Hillary and that the whole "Joan of Arc of the Women's Movement" trope is just her vehicle for getting where she wants to be.

For those "dead-enders" (to quote Donald Rumsfeld, which I try not to do too often), who would rather vote for John McCain or sit on their hands than settle for half a loaf, I have three words: "Supreme Court nominee."

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McCain's shame


You don't have to be a big Obama supporter to agree that McCain's current line casting doubt upon his opponent's patriotism is beneath the integrity of a war hero who served his country with distinction, and contrary to the "campaign of issues" he pledged to conduct what seems like eons ago.

There are two possible conclusions to draw here: the charitable one, which is that McCain is truly a man of honor and principle who listens to his advisers too much, which means he's a patsy. Or, that he's a charlatan who's sold his soul to fulfill his dream of becoming President.

So, this is what they call "experience."

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The Edwards scandal and Bill Clinton


This cartoon tries to combine two ongoing issue threads at the same time: the Edwards scandal in all of its blossoming glory, and Bill Clinton's petulant refusal to recognize that Barack Obama is qualified to be President, even though he repeated throughout the primaries that his wife was ready to take over from Day One.

In a quest for impact, I tried to boil the drawing down to its barest essential elements. All you need to "feel" Bill Clinton is those narrowed eyes, the light-bulb nose, and the authoritative (sometimes accusatory) finger pointed in your face. No point in cluttering it up with distractions like shoulders, shirt, background, or even a neck.

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The Edwards "mistake" goes local


It wasn't much of a surprise when the news came out that Rielle Hunter, the Ken Doll's paramour, was born in Ft. Lauderdale. If it's sleazy, there's got to be a South Florida connection. All we had to do was wait long enough, and we knew it would bubble to the surface like swamp gas.

As I'm suggesting in this cartoon, our area's tendency to be the festering sore whence spreadeth all infections should be celebrated rather than hidden. Our very seaminess should be thought of as an asset. The kind of people who are attracted to it spend money when they're not stealing it.

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The Olympics and Politics


To paraphrase the Roman poet Juvenal (I think): an anxious populace, having long ago abdicated its duty to govern itself, awaits only bread and circuses.

Why Juvenal? Because I'd rather paraphrase him than Paris Hilton or Britney Spears.
Actually, he's proof that societies have been practicing avoidance techniques for thousands of years. Let's face it-- McCain and Obama are a couple of downers who spend all their time telling us what a mess we're in, and how the other guy will make things even worse. Who wants to listen to that day in and day out?

Light the torch, nuke the popcorn, and let the games begin! There's plenty of time for self-government later.

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Democratic Convention 2008


Assuming (along with the conventional wisdom) that Barack Obama is not going to pick Hillary to be his running mate, then whomever he does pick should be pitied, for he/she will instantly be rendered as obscure a figure at the convention as Michael Dukakis.

There is no downside here for Bill and Hill: either they can set her up as Queen-I-Told-You-So in the event that Obama loses later on, or at the very least, they can rain on his parade in his moment of glory.

She worked hard for this moment, and by God, she's going to have it. To quote Ronald Reagan, "I paid for this microphone!"

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Obama returns from overseas


It's called "The Trudeau Effect," for those old enough to remember. It's named after the late Canadian prime minister, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, a hip and charismatic figure whose popularity increased in direct proportion with the square of his distance from Ottawa. In other words, the rest of the world loved him, while Canadians used a variety of epithets (and in the case of French Canadians--gestures) to describe him. Not that Obama has reached this extreme yet, but you can bet he eventually will if he becomes President.

So our Golden Boy has returned from abroad, and his feet must now, once again, touch the ground. No more soaring visions, no more paeans to the Unity of Man. He's gotta talk about national defense, pump prices, foreclosures, job outsourcing, education money, and all the other humdrum stuff that average Americans base their voting decisions upon. If you don't get mud on your boots, you can't reach for the stars.

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Barack Obama's World Tour


You have to feel for the McCain campaign. He visits a marketplace in Baghdad, and the only thing that gets mentioned is that he had to wear body armor and walk with a protective cover of helicopter gunships. Or, that he can't tell Shia from Sunni and has to be reminded of the difference by Joe Lieberman.

Obama, on the other hand, takes a little trip abroad and the media types start acting like teenyboppers at a rock concert who can't wait to throw their underwear onto the stage. No, it ain't fair, but unfortunately war heroes, while worthy of our respect, don't make for sexy TV ratings.

Our better angels tell us the media are supposed to be a public trust, but in the end, only the BBC can afford to be boring, because it's government subsidized. Obama, God bless him, moves car insurance, Boniva, retirement plans, erectile dysfunction meds, Activia, Touch of Gray, and all the other essential components of American life that undergird the First Amendment. McCain, unfortunately, only reminds people that they need them.

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Jesse Jackson


Looking over my archives a while back, I realized I've been drawing Jesse Jackson for over thirty years. Like all of us, he's changed over time, and he has matured along with the civil rights movement he nurtured. My first drawing of him was as a young militant with an Afro, fist thrust in the air. Now, he has mellowed, and become one of the living monuments--some would say dinosaurs--of the struggle.

Again, like all of us, Jesse is a man with an abundance of flaws. But there is no denying that the ascent of a politician like Barack Obama (who was a small boy when Jesse was in the trenches) could not have been possible without the sharp elbows of men like Jackson who went before him, who never backed down when the odds seemed insurmountable. Whatever you think of Jesse Jackson or his methods, Obama's modern candidacy rests on the shoulders of people like him.

Now, it is Jackson's responsibility to himself, to his movement, and to his legacy to accept the gratitude and respect of those he has helped, and to pass the torch to the next generation with grace. It's just another challenge for a man who has faced many of them in a long and distinguished public life. I think he can handle it.

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The Quicksands of Satire


Below is a column I wrote that will run on the Opinion Page of the Sun-Sentinel on Wednesday, July 16:

In keeping with the superheated rhetoric of the campaign season, an enormous brouhaha has erupted over the latest cover of the New Yorker magazine, which depicts a turbaned Barack Obama in the Oval Office fist-bumping his wife Michelle. Her hair is coiffed in an Afro, and she is toting an AK-47. There is an ornately framed portrait of Osama bin Laden on the wall, and an American flag is burning in the fireplace. The cartoon has been described as inflammatory, and has been condemned by both the Obama and McCain campaigns as insulting and in poor taste.

Satire as a rhetorical device has been around since the ancient Greeks. Probably before that, even, when some Neanderthal stand-up comedian mimicked the effeminate spear-throwing style of his tribal chieftain and got bonked on the head with a club. Speaking as an editorial cartoonist, I have learned, painfully, that there are two kinds of people in this world: those who understand satire, and those who don’t. It would be easy to take the elitist route, and say that an understanding of satire comes as the result of education, but I remember that there were plenty of people in college who relentlessly took things they saw and heard at face value. They were a minority, to be sure, but I think the inability to read the intent of a message as being the opposite of what they are being presented with is a genetic thing. It should not be looked down upon any more than the inability to distinguish colors. You either have the gene, or you don’t.

I suspect that the Obama campaign understood the satire the way it was intended, as a device to showcase exactly how absurd are the many accusations being made about Barack Obama’s (and his wife’s) general suitability to be the President and First Lady. They are running a campaign, however, and they know that when the “satirically challenged” vote, their vote is worth just as much as those who “got” the cartoon. Hence, the show of huffiness. As for the McCain campaign, they’re just making some cheap points, pretending to be great humanitarians while knowing full well that the cartoon reinforces the subliminal and enduring message that opponents of Obama’s candidacy have been so effectively spreading.

As satire, I thought it was a good cartoon. It could have been drawn better, but that’s just a matter of personal taste. Whether it should have run at all is a more nuanced matter. If I were an editor of the New Yorker, I would be fully aware that my readership is a self-selecting group that would more than likely not only understand the satire of the cartoon, but get a hoot out of it. Being familiar with the editorial and visual content of the New Yorker, I am guessing that those who lack the satire gene are unlikely to spend their money on the magazine, so no harm done except when the cover is displayed in public, or becomes the property of the blogosphere and cable TV, as it now has.

From an editor’s point of view, the cover has pleased the magazine’s readership, become controversial, and as a result, sold more magazines—which is the goal of publishing a magazine. From the point of view of a concerned citizen who is interested in making sure the best man for our country is elected President, regardless of who he might be, anything that gets the less-capable person elected for the wrong reasons is to be avoided.

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Barack Obama tacks way to the right


The thing that makes Barack Obama such a brilliant politician is that he managed to fool so many people for so long into believing that he was more than just a brilliant politician.

You have to give Hillary credit--at least she made it clear that she was a cynical, pragmatic pol ready to do anything, including extolling the virtues of her would-be Republican opponent over those of her rival, to get nominated. So, yeah, now that he's got the liberal base eating crumbs out of his hand, Barack's heading for the Dark Side. It makes excellent political sense. Only--which Barack Obama is going to sit in the Oval Office, if elected? Does he really believe all that stuff he's been shoveling about a new kind of politics?

A note on this cartoon: some people saw the Bush eyebrows and ears, signifying Obama's transformation, and some didn't. One of my colleagues said, "Nobody can get into your (weird) world. Maybe ten people will catch that, and they'll all be other cartoonists."

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Gas Prices and Campaign '08


Those two guys can yak all they want about Kyoto, NAFTA, Iraq, immigration, capital gains, health care insurance, and whether or not there is intelligent life on Mars.

In the end, if gas is pushing five bucks a gallon by November, the one who lies to us the most convincingly that he's got the answer to bringing that price down is going to be the winner.

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Barack Obama and patriotism


You know what that Obama fella's problem is? His message is too subtle, too nuanced. He's talking to an electorate that cares whether or not he wears a little enameled pin on his lapel, and he's trying to explain why they should get all misty-eyed over ten little chunks of dry eighteenth-century prose on a piece of parchment. Except for the second one, it's pretty hard stuff to get a lump in your throat over.

Wouldn't you, as a red-blooded American, rather see a platoon of cheerleaders in cowboy boots and fringe marching across the field carrying the red, white and blue? I know I would.

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Reject corner!!!!


I showed this specimen last week to my editor, Antonio Fins, thinking it was going to be a shoo-in. I was wrong. Herewith, Tony's justification for spiking it:

"This one I axed cause it is time to come up with a new topic in presidential politics. We've run dozens of Hillary-themed cartoons this year. Not just Chan's but also ones we picked up from the wires for secondary art. (Today we even have Bill on the page.) After I nixed this one, Chan drew the one about Obama and campaign finance reform, which ended up in the New York Times. He can thank me for that.

Hillary's campaign is over. It's time to focus on Obama and McCain. That is, if you ever recover from seeing today's artist's rendition of Bill's ass."

The "ass" Tony refers to appears in the posting below this one, which was approved by Editor Earl Maucker (to my amazement). As for the Hillary cartoon, I beg to differ on Tony's take that her campaign is over. The whole point is that some of her more fervent supporters refuse to let it die. To me, their disgruntlement is part of the aftermath of a tough campaign that is worthy of comment. My guess is that Tony is just as tired of this extended political season as everyone else, and wishes it would end, like our eight-month Florida summers.

Tell me what you think.

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Campaign 2008, Bill Clinton and the Obama endorsement


You could say that this cartoon dances on the ragged edge of good taste, and you would be right. I was so cocksure that this baby would get spiked that I had already gotten on my high horse and crafted a sharp-as-a-tack comment in its defense for my Reject Corner.

Imagine my surprise when my editor looked at it and said, "I have no problem with it." After almost twenty-five years at this place, I thought I had him figured out. Pleasant little surprises like these are what keep the job interesting.

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Campaign 2008, Barack Obama, and Public Campaign Financing


A new kind of politics. Yes, we can. Change We Can Believe In. In the end, it's the same old story--it' all about the Benjamins. It was a smart move for the Obama campaign to renege on the pledge now. Considering the short memory span of the American people, this will all be obscured by the mists of history come November.

It's hardly a sexy enough topic for the Republicans to keep bringing up...they'd do the same if they thought it would benefit them. Still, it's time the Obamaphiles took off the rose-colored spectacles.

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Charlie Crist, offshore oil drilling, Florida, and the environment


Who would have thought Governor Charlie would want to be Vice-President so badly that he'd pull this kind of craven flip-flop on coastal oil drilling? Personally, I never gave him credit for having that much ambition.

If McCain chooses him in hopes he'll deliver Florida for the Republicans in November, he might find the Governor to be damaged goods in his home state after this news gets around.

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Campaign 2008, Obama, rumors and smears


I applaud the Obama campaign's new anti-smear website, but there are some people who will never be disabused. A friend of mine said she patiently explained to a co-worker that Obama was a member of the United Church of Christ, etc. She responded, "Well, he'll always be a Muslim to me." No need for supporting evidence.

Here's the side of this reasoning that perplexes me: if he really WERE a Muslim, how do they think he would have ever made it this far? Wouldn't some patriot have managed to blow his cover by now?

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McCain, Crist, and the Vice-Presidency


As any consultant will tell you, it's perceptions, not facts, that matter in politics. Too much snow on the rooftop to win an election, telegenic as Gov. Charlie might be. To make matters worse, as one of my colleagues remarked, "Crist's healthy tan makes McCain look sallow and frail by comparison."

Case closed.

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McCain, Obama, and the economy


When it comes to affecting economic cycles, there is very little a President can realistically do. Candidates for President can do even less, so they bloviate like whales spouting on a distant horizon.

The debate between McCain and Obama on this topic has an abstruse, how-many-angels-can-dance-on-the-head-of-a-pin quality about it. We should move on to topics that matter to the American People, like whether Cindy McCain looks like a Stepford Wife, or whether Michelle Obama is too radical and edgy to be a First Lady.

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Barack Obama, for better or worse


Hillary's concession speech over the weekend is sure to create further strife in already divided households. As if that weren't enough, there is that pernicious "secret Muslim" rumor, which is particularly rampant here in South Florida. Just thought I'd stir the soup a little.

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Campaign 2008 and the "Dream Ticket"


Talking about Hillary Clinton with someone is like talking to your friends about whether or not they want anchovies on their pizza. Everybody has a violent opinion, and nobody is indifferent. From what I can tell, Clinton supporters are well-meaning and honestly feel that a Clinton/Obama ticket would be greater than the sum of its parts.

In their zeal, however, they forget that there are others in the electorate who so viscerally detest her that it would drag people out of the woodwork who might otherwise not care that much whether Barack Obama or John McCain became President.

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Campaign 2008 enters a new phase


We'll have to rewrite all the cliches... It's over and it STILL ain't over. Not only has the fat lady sung, but the audience and orchestra have packed up and gone home and they've shut down the opera house. Nothing succeeds like failure.

For people in my business, this is a godsend. It's the most exciting kind of sudden-death overtime, and if we're lucky, it won't end until the convention. I don't mean to imply it's the best thing for the country.

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Campaign 2008: Bush and McCain, the Two Amigos


Seventy-two percent of Americans are sick of President Bush. Among the remaining twenty-eight percent are the ones with all the money. One of the more amusing diversions of this campaign will be to watch John McCain's contortions as he tries to embrace the fundraising pig without getting the smell all over him.

I would almost feel sorry for W. (stands for "Who?" in McCain's vocabulary) if his bumblings had not been so destructive. Even his own former flack is stabbing him in the back to sell books ("Et tu, McClellan?"). So much for the vaunted Bush team loyalty.

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Phoenix Mars Lander meets Campaign 2008


I'm back in the saddle. Thanks to all of you who read my flashbacks on the blog while I was away.

One of the more enjoyable aspects of this job is combining seemingly unrelated topics in the news. I have developed these generic Martian characters over the years, and employed them in a variety of contexts. Originally, they had two eye stalks and a hand coming out of the chest, along with a mouth somewhere in the abdominal region and a single prognathous tooth. Now they boast only one optical appendage and a right foot.

I cannot take credit, however, for the character in the pantsuit.

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Barack Obama comes to South Florida


There's no question that the almost-presumptive Democratic nominee has a lot of work to do in in the three South Florida counties to achieve a comfort level with the voters here. Without Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade, there's no chance he can win the state in November.

I intentionally left this drawing in black and white, the way it appears in the paper, because I thought it more effective than color. Sometimes, as Mies van der Rohe liked to say, "Less is more."

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McCain, Obama, and the general election


I guess we're in for a long campaign. You'd think McCain would let independently funded groups do his Swiftboating for him so he can hang onto his fig leaf, but he just can't seem to wait. Let's play on the Muslim rumor to get that Straight Talk General Election Express rolling. If he's a Muslim, he MUST be a closet terrorist, right? After all, he's Hamas' poster boy.

I would imagine there are more than a few Klan members who plan to vote for McCain. That doesn't mean I'm going to be drawing him wearing a hood and burning crosses any time soon.

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The Clinton and Obama Campaigns


After the North Carolina and Indiana primaries, we all watch in fascination, some of us in horror, as Hillary Clinton refuses to read the writing on the wall. Depending on your point of view, she is either to be admired for her toughness and resilience, or vilified for her selfishness and egotism.

I particularly enjoy this colorful image, which I snagged from the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza's blog, The Fix: "Nor are there many among unaffiliated Democratic consultants who believe she is ready to bail out. 'She is the Japanese soldier in the Pacific island that hasn't been told the war is over,' said Democratic pollster John Anzalone. 'Occasionally she picks off a few islanders and considers it a victory. Well, yesterday she found out the war was over.'"

I only disagree with the last sentence.

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The Gas Tax Pander


Asking a politician not to pander is like asking a shark not to bite into your thigh. I just wish they wouldn't so brazenly insult our intelligence. They assume we're all THAT'S elitism.

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Obama and the Rev. Wright


Well, he's gone and done it. He definitively "divorced" himself from the Rev. Nutcase. If it were anybody else--say, a white person running for President-- that would probably be enough. But he isn't just anybody else. For many Americans, he brings with him the fear of the unknown, the strange.

Many in the chattering classes will continue asking the question, "Is it enough?" Since they're the ones who will decide if this story has legs, maybe they should be asking themselves that question, through the prism of their own prejudices. Speaking for the rest of us who put our pants on one leg at a time, I think there are more important things to worry about.

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McChicanery in the campaign


So let's just assume, for the sake of the argument, that I'm way off-base in thinking that John McCain wants to have it both ways. He tells the North Carolina Republican Party not to run a particularly damaging anti-Obama ad featuring the rantings of Rev. Wright, so that he can take a bow for being a stand-up guy, while knowing they'll run it anyway.

If, in fact, he told them in all sincerity that he doesn't want them to run the ad, yet they ignore their so-called standard-bearer, then what kind of a leader is he? If he can't handle some two-bit state GOP organization, how is he going to handle Congress, or for that matter, a stubborn, unpredictable world?

Take your pick: Mr. Straight Talk is either disingenuous or ineffectual.

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Pennsylvania primary results


This race is driving the Democratic Party bigwigs bonkers. The only Democrat who might have had the clout to step in and stop the carnage happens to be married to one of the candidates, and his stature is diminishing by the day, anyway.

Behind it all runs a leitmotif of Machiavellian psychobabble:

1: "She knows she'll lose, and she wants to make sure to destroy Obama on the way out. That way, McCain wins the general, and she comes back in four years as St. Hillary, the patron saint of I Told You So."

2: "Spite. If she's going to lose, she wants to take him and the party down with her as punishment for not picking her in the first place. How dare the vermin stand in her way?"

3: "She'll do anything to win, and worry about dealing with the hurt feelings later. The Clintons defined winning dirty. Her base, the shoulder-pad feminists of a certain age, see this as simply being tough in a tough world."

4: "The longer she manages to stay in, the higher the price she can exact for agreeing to get out. Governor of New York? Senate Majority Leader? Chief Justice Clinton?"

I believe all of it.

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Pennsylvania Democratic primary


This year, countries governed by all types of political systems are captivated by our electoral process. We stand before the world as a shining beacon of government of the people, for the...well, you know the script. Let's show them what REALLY matters, that is, when we're not thinking about American Idol.

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Politics, the campaign, and instant patriotism


Last night, at what was luridly billed as the "Showdown in Philly," the subject of why Barack Obama doesn't wear an American flag lapel pin came up. The condensed version of his answer, which he also gave during the debate, was that a person's deeds and the content of his heart are what define a patriot, not what he wears on his lapel or his automobile bumper.

This is a difficult, subtle, and nuanced argument to make in a political atmosphere where oversimplification reigns. He'll catch some heat from the Republicans for it, assuming he makes it to the general election. A good counter to this attack is that a thousand lapel pins won't cover up for the sins of promoting a war while neglecting the care and welfare of the wounded soldiers who executed it.

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Barack Obama ...loose lips sink ships


He ALMOST had it in the bag, and then the Fates played the hubris card, stepped in and handed Hillary a lifesaver. You'd think a guy as hip to modern technology as Obama would know that with all the personal gadgets people carry, there's no such thing as a closed-door fund raiser any more. Maybe he was lulled into complacency by the rivers of caviar and champagne at the Marin County Limousine Liberal get-together. As Ricky Ricardo might say, he's gotta lotta 'splainin' to do.

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Iraq and domestic politics


You'd have to be a little off to want to be President at a time like this. Fortunately, there are a lot of unrestrained egos out there. It's not hard to see the cynical plot developing on the part of the Republicans. Stay the course in Iraq that has no defined ending. Put up some doddering warhorse like McCain who will go down in flames like Bob Dole before him, and leave the impossible choices to the Democrats, who will have gotten elected on the promise that they would clean things up. The resulting chaos in the Middle East and high gas prices will guarantee G.O.P. electoral victories for decades to come.

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Hillary's tax returns


As one woman I know (and obviously not a Hillary fan) put it, "She grows up in an upper middle-class suburb of Chicago. She attends a prestigious Seven Sisters college. She goes to law school, meets and marries this guy who goes on to become governor of Arkansas. He wins the Presidency. After she's through being First Lady, she searches around for a Democratic state to carpetbag into and wins the Senate race based on her last name. Now she's running for President with that same basic qualification: her last name. Give ME some of that discrimination!"

Let's hear from you, Girls.

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Campaign 2008, Florida, and the Convention


Everything we do in Florida--waiting in a movie line, driving on the Interstate, even performing our jobs now that we're about to have a guns in the workplace law, follows a kind of social Darwinism. It makes just as much sense to predicate the seating of our delegation upon this principle as upon any of the other solutions they're discussing. It would make for great TV, too.

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The big lie


Yesterday, I heard on National Socialist Radio (a.k.a. NPR), my broadcast news provider of choice, that one in 10 Americans still believes that Barack Obama is a Muslim, despite all the recent brouhaha in the news about his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and his inflammatory comments. I checked with our editorial assistant in charge of handling nutty calls from readers, and she said that there had, in fact, been a down-tick lately in the almost three per day she had been fielding, demanding to know why we didn't do an expose on Sheik B. Hussein Obama's "Secret plan to turn America into an Arab country." (That's a direct quote).

Anyway, this got me thinking about the continuing misapprehension on the part of many of our compatriots that the Saudi terrorists on the 9/11 planes were actually Iraqis. I suddenly realized that with a brain-trust like this, the Bush Administration must think we'll believe just about anything they feed us. Well, almost.

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Vietnam redux


The risk with running a cartoon like this is that there are some younger readers who won't make the historical connection and therefore miss the point. I have to strike a delicate balance between losing some people and beating others with a sledgehammer. If you don't let the reader perform the final connection in his own head, you make him a passive observer rather than a participant in the cartoon. Obviousness is the enemy of wit.

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McCain, Clinton, and Obama...the same old pols


No, I didn't draw this in response to angry Hillarylovers who ask why I'm always beating up on their warrior woman. I just call 'em as I see 'em, and right now I'm not seeing anything new or refreshing from anybody.

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Obama's speech on race


You don't necessarily have to be an Obama fan to agree that it was a great American speech, without any hyphenated qualifiers in front of the word, "American." The question is whether Americans were ready to hear it.

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Obama and Religion


However you may feel about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's preachings, at least it may help to drive a stake through the heart of that asinine rumor about Obama being a secret Muslim.
I'm sure some people will still manage to figure out a way to attack him on both counts, though.

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Hillary Clinton and race


When I finished this cartoon, I realized it wasn't so much an opinion as a statement about the Clintons' political philosophy, which is "Win now at any cost. Smooth over hurt feelings later. Once you've won, people forget about the means you used." They could be wrong this time.

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Florida Democratic Primary mail-in re-vote


If you thought it was chaos with the hanging chads, just wait for this little fiasco-in-the-making. Am I wrong?

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Hillary Clinton: Monster mash


It always makes my day to aim a cheap shot at Hillary, who lately has been deserving it, but even more attractive was the opportunity to poke fun at the politics of victimhood and political correctness.

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Big Bill Clinton


I jump at any chance to do a cartoon about Bill Clinton. Whatever you think of him, his personality is larger than life, and his face is a caricature in itself. The best thing about Hillary's candidacy is that it's put him back on the political front burner, sucking all of the oxygen out of the room as usual. I think it was John Nance Garner who said the Vice-Presidency wasn't worth a bucket of warm...whatever. Whoever is crazy or desperate enough to accept the No.2 position on a Hillary Clinton ticket would probably be relegated to running the elevators in the Senate Office Building.

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Barack Obama: Turban renewal


Barack Obama isn't exactly the gift of caricature to editorial cartoonists that John Kerry was, but he is still interesting to draw. His face is angular, and he has those distinctive well-defined eyebrows that almost look like he uses eyebrow pencil on them.

I drew this before the losses in Texas and Ohio, and at the time, he still looked like he could take anything thrown at him and flip it to his advantage, like political jiujitsu.

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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