The Lowe Down | Political cartoonist Chan Lowe's take on current issues and the news of the day | Sun Sentinel blogs

The Lowe Down


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November 30, 2010

Chan Lowe: The Wikileaks debacle

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I used to think that Hillary Clinton was too strident, too self-centered, too opinionated and too vindictive to be President. Since then, another personage of the female persuasion has grabbed the center stage of politics, and by comparison Hillary seems like an exemplar of cool-headedness under fire.

Considering the plateful the incoming President was handed back in January of 2009, it has become more apparent than ever that simple, cold competency was and is the foremost quality needed in our leader in these tough times. The jury’s still out on Barack Obama in that regard, but Hillary has left no doubt that she possesses it in abundance.

I make light of her in this cartoon, but right now I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather have in the hot seat when there’s so much ’splainin’ to do, as Ricky Ricardo might say. Not only is she handling a touchy situation with the same grace she displayed during the Monica Lewinsky circus, she might yet make a silk purse out of this mess.

Take, for example, the Gulf States’ constant behind-the-scenes badgering that we waste Iran and President I’m-A-Dinnerjacket for them. Now⎯thanks to the Wikileaks cables⎯ it’s out in the open that they, we, and Israel are all on the same side. You know that Arabic cliché, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend?” Peace agreements have been forged on shakier grounds than this, and Hillary definitely has the resourcefulness to uncover opportunities in our newly revealed camaraderie.

May the Force be with you, Madame Secretary.

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November 26, 2010

Chan Lowe: The first Black Friday

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I have a friend who spends the whole day Thursday exhausting herself making a complex Thanksgiving dinner for her family, then gets up in the middle of the night and rushes to the mall just so she can be there to start shopping when it opens before dawn on Black Friday.

I asked her why she did this, and she couldn’t give me a lucid answer. “I’ve always done it,” she said. “It’s a tradition.”

Why couldn’t she just wait until the weekend, I asked. Because then, it wouldn’t be Black Friday, she said.

Maybe it’s just one of inexplicable, gut things⎯like eating barbecue on the Fourth of July or complaining about religious symbols in public places around the holidays⎯ that we do to reaffirm our American-ness.

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November 25, 2010

Chan Lowe: A recession Thanksgiving

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This is an update on last year’s cartoon, where I first introduced the turkey dog as a visual metaphor for the Great Recession.

In the 2009 version, the dad was nostalgically showing the family a photo of what Thanksgiving dinners used to look like. This year, since the recession is technically over (at least, according to the bean counters) he’s cutting it up and distributing the trimmings.

On that note, a Happy Thanksgiving to all Lowe-Down readers!

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November 24, 2010

Chan Lowe: Free advice for President Obama

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Being president is one of those jobs that is far more complex than outside observers⎯particularly the Greek choruses on both ends of the political spectrum⎯will ever be able to understand.

They look at it through their narrow prisms: Is he being the president we wanted him to be? The one we voted for? Is he being even more irresponsibly extreme than we imagined?

Only when you’re in the hot seat, though, can you truly comprehend the expectation that you’re meant to be the President of the entire United States and all its citizens, not just the Tea Party, the moderates, your liberal base, or whatever pressure group one might think of.

This is why the White House has to field simultaneous complaints that Barack Obama is both the most radical socialist who ever occupied the building, and that he is a sellout who only pays lip service to progressive causes.

Every group has advice on how he can succeed, if he would just do it their way.

But then, none of these people is the leader of the free world, when every utterance and action can have grievous consequences, and must be weighed in advance with great deliberateness. So, it’s easy to carp when you’re just doing it to hear your brains rattle, and everything is risk-free.

Just ask Sarah Palin.

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November 23, 2010

Chan Lowe: Scans, pat-downs and self-delusion

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We have Umar Farouk Abumutallab to thank for all this. If the would-be terrorist hadn’t tried to turn his Jockey shorts into a Christmas surprise, we wouldn’t be screaming about blue-gloved TSA workers visiting regions that twenty percent of Americans can’t stomach.

It’s the same with the Shoe Bomber’s bungled attempt. Now we have to make sure our socks match before we fly.

When it comes to transportation security, we’re always countering the last brainstorm. While we ought to be imaginative and forward leaning, just like our adversaries, we are reactive⎯which is probably better than nothing, but not good enough by a long shot.

If you subscribe (as I do) to the notion that all of this is window dressing just to get the sheep to feel reasonably safe about flying, you figure it’s highly unlikely that the next terrorist is going to try any methods that have already been attempted. And if, God forbid, he or she is successful, then we’ll never know the technique of choice, anyway.

As a corollary to this, it is nonsensical and counterproductive to categorically exempt classes of people from inspection. Terrorists have used children as suicide bombers before. Ninety-nine percent of pilots, I’m sure, are stand-up people⎯but what if one of them cracks from the pressure, just like that flight attendant did (albeit in a more comical way)?

I would think that the most effective solution would be a combination of approaches: rigorous no-exemptions inspection, Israeli-style interrogation and psychological profiling, and top-notch intelligence gathering. But that’s expensive, dilatory, and it’s still not foolproof.

In the meantime, we’ll probably just go on kidding ourselves…and complaining.


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November 22, 2010

Chan Lowe: Reject Corner!!!!

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I ran the above past my editor, Antonio Fins, last week. His response:

"This one got canned because you needed to see the original one to really
understand it.

The original draft of this cartoon was one Chan sent as a joke. He knew
it would be too offensive to run. This is the cleaner,
made-for-a-family-newspaper version.

But it's too subtle. The only way you'd really get it is if you had seen
the original.

So, it's a no go. Sometimes, when you clean up a joke, it loses its
humor.

That's what happens to this one."


What do you think? Do you get it? Let me know.

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November 19, 2010

Chan Lowe: Extending unemployment benefits

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That the Wall Street plutocrats should get more than their fair share in both fat times and lean…it’s the way the system works, so we might as well get over it. The eternal imbalance is why the groundlings invented the concept of the Day of Judgment.

Looking at the other end of the scale, however, it isn’t just selfishness but a moral injustice that the unemployed should have their benefits curtailed when they most need them.

After all, it’s the financial industry that got us into this mess. Certainly, they who possess plenty beyond anyone’s mortal need ought to allow themselves to be taxed so that the victims of their greed might at least buy food for their families.

On another, less retributive level, it would seem that one of the most basic functions of a modern government is to provide subsistence for its citizenry during hard times. If there were ever a justification for deficit spending, this is it.

Then there’s the argument that extending unemployment benefits constitutes the most effective economic stimulus: Those who need the money the most will plow it right back into businesses, not blow it on Italian-built yachts, or stash it away in banks that sit on their capital until the climate improves.

This isn’t about progressive vs. conservative, rugged individualism vs. nanny state, Democrat vs. Republican. It’s about whether or not the better-off citizens of this country count themselves as members of the human race.


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November 18, 2010

Chan Lowe: So Fla's hottest car models

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It’s simple: If you live in Alaska, you require a big fat all-wheel-drive truck equipped with snow tires and chains. In New York City, a smaller car is better for squeezing into those elusive parking spaces. In Southern California, you make sure there’s a roof rack for the surfboard. You adapt to your environment.

Need I say more?

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November 17, 2010

Chan Lowe: Bristol Palin's triumph on DWTS

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All right, maybe this isn’t as important as abolishing congressional earmarks or extending tax cuts for the rich, but Bristol Palin’s advancement to the DWTS finals seemed to be all anyone was talking about down at the plant this morning.

Mrs. Lowe-Down, who is the household authority on this and American Idolatry issues, allowed as how the relative dancing prowess of the contestants left no doubt that poor old Brandy had gotten screwed. I did witness the live announcement that she had been eliminated, and the news was greeted in the studio with slack jaws and booing. And those were just the judges.

There are ugly rumors going around (which I have done my best to stoke in this cartoon) that it wasn’t Bristol, but in fact her mother for whom many of the viewers were voting. I don’t feel this is inappropriate, because the line between politics and entertainment has grown so fuzzy as to be indistinguishable of late.

Barack Obama has appeared on The View and The Daily Show, Sarah Palin has her own reality travelogue miniseries, and let’s not forget an earlier, albeit short-term contestant on DWTS…the Exterminator himself, Tom DeLay.

Since more Americans vote for these talent shows than even for the national elections, maybe we should just drop the pretense and use pols as contestants. Personally, I would enjoy a tension-packed tango face-off between Nancy Pelosi and Dick Cheney, or maybe Hillary Clinton slithering through a steamy paso doble with Dr. Rand Paul. The winning couple would face a final audience vote as to who gets to be president and vice president, respectively.

You don’t think the American people would take this seriously? While I was doing the final inking on this cartoon, somebody emailed me a story about a rural Wisconsin man who was so furious when he heard Bristol made it to the finals that he blew out his TV set with a shotgun.

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November 16, 2010

Chan Lowe: Google vs. Facebook

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One of the overlooked items in the recent stories about Facebook’s new “email killing” app, and Google’s attempts to counter it, is that young people now use texting as their preferred medium of interaction more than email, telephone or even face-to-face contact.

The domain within which they touch one another could come to define them the way older generations currently use race or religion to define their identities in society. It will be, in a sense, tribal, particularly if neither of the Internet Leviathans is able to knock the other out.

The more profound question is what will become of physical nodes of communication as we rely more and more on virtual connectivity. Will the great city centers of the world, the public forums⎯with the associated cultural ferment of masses of people convening, feeling, smelling each other, and conversing⎯wither and die?

Will friendships, love affairs, even marriages take place in a meta-world wherein the parties involved never experience one another in the flesh? Will all the nuances of human thought be reduced to easy-text abbreviations or crammed into snippets of 140 characters or less?

Maybe as young people discover that their lives lack the sheer experiential richness of their elders’, there will be a yearning to return to olden times, when embellished legends were handed down mouth-to-mouth over the centuries, and when groups of people sharing their thoughts in the rarefied atmosphere of physical togetherness reached heights of collective inspiration and spirituality.

Or maybe, thanks to their unprecedented connectivity, they’ll enable something sublime and heretofore unimaginable to flourish, like universal understanding and peace in our time.

Who knows?

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November 15, 2010

Chan Lowe: Rick Scott, Gov. Slice 'n' Dice

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Have I told you already that this guy is fun to draw?

Aside from the shiny pate, which opens things up to all manner of visual humor, there’s the dark, brooding, Karloffian stare that we haven’t seen in a Florida governor since the days of Bob Martinez.

Anyway, much as I’m going to enjoy the next four years with Governor Scott for selfish reasons, I’m still left scratching my head as to what logic lies behind his claim that starving the schools is going to help create jobs.

It would seem that the mediocrity of our state educational system is one of the impediments to industries locating in Florida. After all, if your workforce can’t be properly trained for lack of, say, reading comprehension or math skills, no amount of industrial tax breaks is going to change your mind. Unless, of course, you import your labor from Iowa or some other state willing to tax itself in the name of quality education.

The best thing Rick Scott has going for him is that his term will last until 2014. By then, the recession will be in its death throes, a rising national tide will have begun to lift all boats (even Florida’s…and believe me, we’ll be the last), and he’ll be able to take credit for just happening to be in the right place at the right time.

If, by 2014, we’re still in the economic state we are now, then reelection will be the least of Rick Scott’s problems as he tries to stay a few steps ahead of the pitchforks.


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November 12, 2010

Chan Lowe: Deficit reduction folly

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Are you good and angry about how those buffoons in Washington never seem to make any progress on deficit reduction? How they can’t manage to curb their wastrel ways, even though the money they’re blowing has to be borrowed from foreigners?

Well, shelve it. What would you do if your employer told you your job depended on how well you could plow through money to buy things that pleased him?

And what would you do if, at the same time, your boss wrote in your annual evaluation that while you were servicing him so effectively, he was getting ticked that you were busting the budget? And that if you didn’t cool it, he’d replace you with an employee who was less of a spendthrift?


You would conclude you were working for a schizo, and that your only recourse (if you wanted to remain employed) was to concoct a bunch of meaningless blather that might keep him appeased for the time being. You’d know that eventually someone would have to pay the piper, but if you were lucky, you’d be happily retired by then, and some other poor shlub would have your job and the responsibility for speaking the truth to the basket case in the front office.

C’mon. You know that’s exactly what you’d do.


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November 11, 2010

Chan Lowe: Graphic cigarette warnings

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Regarding the new, graphic cigarette warnings, it seems that nobody inhabiting the twisted halls of the Nanny State in Washington is thinking on all three cylinders.

First, let’s talk about young people. If you’ve ever experienced the pleasure and curse of being an adolescent boy, you know that, for this cohort, there is some inexplicable attraction to things that would cause a normal human being to retch. The more disgusting, the better, because said adolescent can show whatever it is to his friends and multiply the enjoyment. If he has a kid sister, he can use it to make her scream.

So, far from putting young males off cigarettes, the photos of human husks blowing smoke through tracheotomy holes or cadavers in morgues might actually spur them to buy more cigarettes in order to augment their collections.


Young girls, on the other hand, will simply buy a specially designed cutesy container, emblazoned with the name of some clothing retailer or studded with rhinestones, to slip over the pack of butts so they don’t have to spoil the experience of looking incredibly cool in front of their peers.

Older people are already hooked, and wouldn’t quit even if the packs came embedded with a chip that shouted, “YOU’RE GONNA DIE!” every time they pulled out a snipe. They already know smoking is bad for them, and being repeatedly reminded of that will just cause them to dig in their heels.

I’m sure I’m not the first person to figure this out. There are probably tobacco company shrinks who reached these conclusions years ago. In a reverse twist, they may feel they're throwing a bone to the smug anti-smoking forces who, thinking themselves victorious, will lay off for a while.

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November 10, 2010

Chan Lowe: Advice for Allen West

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Congratulations to Allen West for clobbering incumbent Democrat Ron Klein in the Florida Dist. 22 Congressional race last week.

It already sounds like Col. West is going to hit establishment Washington like a sledgehammer, having made his first order of organizational business the appointment of a local conservative radio talk show host as his chief of staff.

Col. West might be wise to remember that while he is on his libertarian crusade to change the way Washington works, the people of his district are more concerned with bread-and-butter issues than with Taking Their Country Back.

For advice, he might consult his able predecessor E. Clay Shaw, who was a consummate master of what is known in the trade as “constituent services.” This is defined as a representative’s responsiveness (meaning, his staff’s) to the mundane and picayune needs of his people when they interact with their government.

Another former rep who knew how to make the creaky wheels of bureaucracy turn like the gears of a Swiss watch for his people was the hated Fire-Breathing Liberal, Robert Wexler. Either of these gentlemen would tell Col. West that good constituent services may not necessarily ensure longevity in office, but bungling them can certainly cut one’s tenure short.

Regardless of how big or small government is or may become, District 22 depends on federal programs like Social Security and Medicare for a considerable portion of its income. If Col. West doesn’t pay close attention to this fact, no amount of principled rhetoric or legislative bomb throwing will save him two years from now.

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November 9, 2010

Chan Lowe: Bush's memoir

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For me, one of the most telling moments of the George W. Bush presidency occurred during a press conference. A newsman asked him if he could name any mistakes he had made, and the question took the President aback.

None that he could think of, he responded after some thought. Some would call this evidence of his resoluteness; others, of his foolhardiness.

In any case, we knew that his decision to invade Iraq was not something that kept him awake at night. What does keep him awake? Evidently, the verdict of history, because he is now seeking to shape it.


I haven’t read his memoir, but one of the mistakes he finally acknowledges⎯according to interviews⎯is allowing the release of the photo that was taken of him looking bemusedly down from Air Force One at New Orleans after Katrina. He hasn’t mentioned the way he bungled the Katrina response as one of his mistakes, but maybe that’s in the book.

It is Bush’s right to put his own gloss on his moment in history. We should take his effort with the same grain of salt that we view all Presidential memoirs. One pundit called it a first “baby step” in his attempt at rehabilitation.

Some would say he doesn’t need rehabilitating, which tells you how controversial a figure he remains, and will continue to remain for some time...memoir or no memoir.

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November 8, 2010

Chan Lowe: The Republican supermajority in the Florida Legislature

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Years ago, one of Broward County’s weirder sights was a scrubby empty lot adjacent to a stretch of Old Dixie Highway in Oakland Park.

Low-rise rental units surrounded the parcel, and an auto-parts store sat across the street. Nobody would argue that this was a rural area; it was smack in the middle of a built-out city.

Cars driving past the property were treated to the sight of a single Holstein cow contentedly chewing her cud, day after day. It was explained to me that by stationing the lone bovine on the empty lot, the owner (who was waiting for a developer to buy the land) could claim that it qualified for agricultural zoning. As such⎯under the vagaries of Florida law⎯it was liable for only a tiny fraction of the taxes that would normally be due were it to be assessed for its intended purpose.


The people of Florida voted last week, and they sent one of the most lopsided majorities of Republicans to their Legislature of any in the entire country. It’s veto-proof, which doesn’t really matter, since the incoming Governor and the entire Cabinet are Republicans, as well.

The Legislature’s first order of business is to override a raft of outgoing Gov. Crist’s vetoes, one of which barred the extension of the law whose absurd ramifications I described above. It’s easy to see how, in the aggregate, this law costs local Florida governments millions.

But we knew this Legislature would be business-friendly when we voted it in, didn’t we? And we won’t mind when they gut regulatory agencies that were put in place to protect consumers, either, because we knew what the Republicans stood for when we gave them the thumbs-up. And we won’t mind when they vote to allow offshore drilling all around our coastline, or to let property insurance companies raise their rates without asking the state first.

Just wait until the screaming starts. Unfortunately, we won’t have anyone to scream at except each other.

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November 5, 2010

Chan Lowe: Post-election reality check

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My favorite period of any election cycle is the first few days after the polls have closed and the outcome is decided, when the party that won drops the façade and begins carefully recalibrating its campaign rhetoric to reflect reality.

This is when we find out how they really plan to use their newfound “mandate,” and what they admit that they can’t possibly do and never really thought they could but didn’t want to tell us until it was too late to take our votes back.

The Republicans in both houses of Congress know they can’t affect the unemployment figures or create jobs, any more than the Democrats could. They also know they can neither balance the budget nor meaningfully reduce the deficit. The will isn’t there in either party, certainly not to inflict the pain necessary to succeed in that endeavor.

All that’s left for them is to do the bidding of their wealthy paymasters (to extend their tax cuts), and to give us bread and circuses with a few subpoenas and investigations of the Obama Administration. Turning health care reform into a piñata may briefly divert the public from the fact that nothing substantial is being achieved on the fiscal front.

It was only two years ago that Barack Obama ran on the promise that he would change the way business is done in Washington. As Sarah Palin would say, “How’s that hope-y change-y thing goin’ for ya?”

Ah, Sarah Palin… I’m really looking forward to hearing her promises in the next election cycle.

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November 4, 2010

Chan Lowe: Welcome, Governor-elect Rick Scott

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The election’s over, and Rick Scott bought it fair and square. The people have spoken, and now it’s time for the people to find out whom they voted for.

Gradually, and in the fullness of time, Governor-elect Scott’s actions will reveal insights into his true nature. So far, he has done a pretty good job of veiling his character, but from now on, he will be under a microscope.

He has told us that as chief executive of Columbia/HCA, he knew nothing of the practices of the company he headed that culminated in its paying one of the largest fines ever for defrauding Medicare. As I’ve said before, he’s either rewriting history or he was an incredibly incompetent chief executive…take your pick. Whichever you believe, it’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for running a sprawling organism like state government.

But the citizens of Florida have shown they don’t need ringing endorsements. They just want change. Rick Scott has promised to shake up government, although in his recent press conference announcing his transition team, some of the same tired old insider names cropped up.

Maybe this is an admission by Mr. I Did It My Way that you can’t get anything done in Tallahassee without insiders on your team. During the campaign, he reminded us that he was the only candidate who didn’t owe anybody anything. That doesn’t go a long way in a state government where business is conducted through deals and favors.

If you want to put a positive gloss on it, it’s reassuring that Scott is sufficiently aware of his limitations that he’s willing to rely on people who have some experience.

Could be he’s a quick study, or maybe he plans to delegate authority. We don’t know for sure. Frankly, when it comes to Rick Scott, we don’t know anything for sure.

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November 3, 2010

Chan Lowe: Republican victory

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Reduce the deficit! Halt runaway spending! Starve the beast! Shrink government! It’s time to take our country back!

All lovely-sounding slogans, designed to snag votes. Something that House Speaker-elect Boehner and the rest of the Republican establishment know, however, is that actually making good on the exhortations is a much tougher proposition than shouting them out from the cheap seats.

We have learned from this election that in these times of extreme hardship, the American people are nothing if not impatient. It doesn’t matter who got us into the mess, it only matters that two years have passed since the last election and things aren’t getting better.

The Republicans and their Tea Party wing did an admirable job of getting themselves elected without having to delve into specifics. Let’s face it, there are two ways to reduce the deficit: raising revenue and lowering expenditures.

Since a Republican House will never raise taxes, that leaves cutting programs (the part they avoided talking about during the campaign). The military and national security are off the table, they tell us, so that leaves…

Social Security? Can’t cut people already getting it, or even people who are old enough to smell it. They’ve all paid into the system already. Young people? How can you expect them to keep paying in if you welsh on their future benefits?

Medicare? “Huh, whassat? We’re gonna have to start paying for Grandma’s dialysis? NO WAY, BOZO!”

And--finally--earmarks, which amount to almost nothing compared to the rest of the budget, anyway. “You mean we ain’t gonna get that civic center (or fairgrounds, or underpass, or highway spur) our congressman promised us after all?!!? We’re votin’ Democrat next time!”

Congratulations, Mr. Speaker…and our condolences.


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November 2, 2010

Chan Lowe: Health insurance shock

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One of the great bamboozlements of the last couple of years has been the success of special interests in convincing ordinary Americans that health care reform was an attempt by Big Government to purloin their personal freedoms.

The strategy can be encapsulated in the simplistic, bumper-sticker slogan, “Do you want a government bureaucrat making medical decisions instead of your doctor?”

Not only is this an inaccurate scare tactic, it conveniently ignores the reality that private insurance company bean counters are already making life-and-death decisions that should be made only between you and your doctor, and have been doing so for decades.

The fear strategy was so successful that candidates who voted to pass the legislation⎯rather than taking credit for their vote⎯have been shying away from it in the 2010 election campaign.

And maybe they should. Once the public option was dropped in order to get the bill through Congress, the future law was rendered toothless in terms of its ability to contain private rates through competition.

Sure, there are a few things we can be happy about (elimination of the pre-existing conditions restriction, for example), but those yearning for true reform might also want to use the pejorative “Obamacare,” in this case, to describe what might have been but wasn’t⎯by a long shot.

Think I’m wrong on this public option thing? Americans with employer-provided health plans are currently in the middle of their open enrollment periods for next year’s coverage, and what they’re seeing ain’t pretty.

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November 1, 2010

Chan Lowe: Political attack ads

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Some of the races around the country are predicted to be so close that there’s a good chance we’ll be treated to some post-season recount ugliness.

Here in Florida, for example, we’re anticipating a cliffhanger between the two gubernatorial candidates, Alex Sink and Rick Scott.

When it comes to recount strategy, Floridians have fond memories of Bush v. Gore, when the Republicans showed us that prevailing in a recount is not just a battle of numbers, but of winning hearts and minds through a strategy of shaping the argument and creating the perception of inevitability.

Back in 2000, Poppy Bush called in the family consigliere, James Baker, to arrive in Tallahassee to mastermind the post-campaign campaign, which he did with his usual efficiency. It seemed as though he had his legal and public relations machinery up and smoothly running before the Gore campaign could even figure out where to find Tallahassee on a map. His operation didn’t come cheap.

There’s no reason to believe that, after blowing so much of his own money already, Scott won’t be delighted to finance a protracted post-election battle out of his own pocket if he comes up a vote or two short.

Which makes one wonder why he would spend $73 million to buy a job whose salary is only in the low six figures in the first place. Maybe $73 million doesn’t mean as much to the fabulously wealthy as it does to you and me, particularly when it comes to running a vanity campaign.

If that’s so, why do the über-wealthy fight tooth and nail to hang onto their piece of the Bush tax cuts? Whether they keep it or not isn’t going to affect what brand of champagne they order to wash down their next meal.

I’m getting off topic. Nevertheless, it bears some thought.


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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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