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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April 29, 2011

Chan Lowe: Tornado devastation


How do you think it would go over if Barack Obama said to the tornado victims, “You red states down there can just go and kiss my overreaching, socialist big-government behind and fend for yourselves?”

We can’t even imagine it. That’s because the president is the leader of all of us…not just those who voted for him but also those who feel indifferent toward him, merely dislike him, and hate him to their very core. As the head of government, he cannot cherry-pick.

No, he can’t indulge in petty, parochial maneuvers like passing needlessly restrictive laws designed to disenfranchise whole classes of Americans. He can’t, while paying obeisance to some no-tax dogma, rob soon-to-be-elderly citizens of the medical care they have spent their entire lives paying for with the reasonable expectation that their country will look after them in their dotage.

Because he is the president of all the United States, he will fly down to visit the devastation in the southern region of the country he heads, and he will shake hands with many people who may still believe he was born abroad, is a Muslim, or is otherwise unfit to serve. He will commiserate with them, and he will promise federal aid to those who, up until a couple of days ago, still screamed that the same federal government that they now approach in supplication was encroaching upon their lives.

In fact, they will expect President Obama and the federal government to come through for them in a timely manner. This is not an unreasonable notion, and presidencies⎯as we have learned⎯have run aground when they failed to perform this most basic of roles.

As Americans, we take for granted the comforting and abiding mantle of the federal government when situations occur that overwhelm our own puny abilities to cope. It is sad that it sometimes takes a tragedy for us to realize how important it is to support that institution, even with all its flaws.


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April 28, 2011

Chan Lowe: Abortion rears its head


Hey, talk about bait-and-switch. We didn’t elect these guys to go up to Tallahassee to try to singlehandedly repeal Roe v. Wade. They told us they’d create jobs, jobs, jobs. The only job openings I see in our state’s future are for sonogram technologists.

They know this is their chance, their golden moment when all the planets are in alignment⎯a Republican Cabinet, huge Republican majorities in both houses of the legislature, and a governor who would happily sign legislation forbidding people from traveling too far out to sea because they might fall off the edge of the earth, if it were placed before him.

My favorite is the bill that only allows pregnant women seeking an abortion to waive the state-required sonogram if they can produce a court restraining order showing that they were raped or abused. And what is a young girl supposed to do who was raped by her father? “Daddy, can you give me a ride down to court so I can swear out an affidavit that you’re the father of this child? Otherwise, I’ll be needing your permission to get rid of it.”

One bill you can be sure you’ll never see from our “sanctity of life” legislature is a repeal of the death penalty. Evidently, once a fetus becomes an independent human being, there is a qualitative change.

Suddenly, it becomes capable of doing some monumentally stupid things.


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April 27, 2011

Chan Lowe: Obama reveals birth certificate


So the White House finally did it. The Donald is strutting around like a gamecock, taking credit for forcing the administration to do something no one else had been able to. Effortlessly shifting gears, the pompous pompadour has moved on to questioning the president’s academic qualifications for getting into Columbia and Harvard, two institutions of higher learning that remained unattainable to Mr. Trump despite his financial advantages.

Meanwhile, the “legitimate” birthers are left scrabbling for a rationale, the way millenialists do after they’ve predicted the world will end and the sun stubbornly rises the next morning. Not to worry. They won’t believe this birth certificate any more than the last one.

The fact remains that this is the first president in history who has had to present documents to prove his origins. Some say it’s because his doubters believe he’s a closet communist. They said that about FDR, too, but nobody asked if he was born in the United States. John McCain has a much more tenuous hold on the “natural born” label than Mr. Obama, yet no birther movement coalesced to doubt his background, either.

I’m part of the group that feels the president did the right thing today. His disclosure may at least have allayed the doubts of those who were sitting on the birther fence. If any Republicans remain who are opportunistic enough to continue to fuel this fire, the existence of the original document will push them further into the corner with the crazies.

As for Trump, what he has done so far is despicable enough for a candidate. If his quest for the presidency turns out to be the mere publicity-seeking joke that many suspect, then he has compounded his sins to a point beyond redemption.


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April 26, 2011

Chan Lowe: Voter fraud legislation


Anti-voter fraud legislation is a solution in search of a problem. When Republicans talk about the specter of voter fraud that could bring the nation to its knees, they’re really talking about the horror of allowing people whose views they don’t agree with to vote.

Some supervisor of elections here in Florida recalled somebody registering as “Mickey Mouse,” and the state GOP seized upon this as proof that our state’s registration rules are too lax. Never mind that that particular registration was snagged by the existing system. No, the only answer is to make sure that college kids (who tend to be naïve, irresponsible, liberal and⎯of course⎯Democratic voters), old people, women and minorities have to jump through a series of restrictive hoops in order to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

Republican legislatures are trying this all over the country. It’s good old-fashioned voter suppression, pure and simple. It’s repellent and un-American. It reeks of the old southern poll taxes and literacy tests. It’s banana republic stuff.

If Republican Party strategists feel they need to resort to this kind of subterfuge in order to hang onto the levers of power, maybe their efforts would be better spent reexamining their political platform to see what makes it so unappealing to the voters whose rights they are seeking to strip.


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April 25, 2011

Chan Lowe: Royal wedding mania


A British journalist put it best the other day: “Can you name, off the top of your head, the president of Germany? No, it isn’t Angela Merkel. She’s the chancellor. Who’s the head of state?”

Most Americans can’t name the British prime minister (David Cameron), but they sure as shootin’ know who the British head of state is. There’s a mystique about the monarchy that fulfills a yearning in people to respect institutions, and a desire for historical continuity that binds a country to its past.

We don’t have that luxury. In our system, the head of state and the head of government are the same person, so that leader is automatically looked at askance from the outset by a large portion of the electorate that didn’t vote for him. He’ll be out in a maximum of eight years, to boot⎯so there’s no point in carving his crest into any architectural masonry.

This was by design. Washington, our first president, had to set the proper balance between being a leader whose power derived from the people and being a head of government who ought to be accorded a certain amount of pomp and ceremony. It was a difficult act, and he was winging it. Having been a military commander in his previous career probably helped him navigate the uncharted waters.

The British, on the other hand, maintain the quaint conceit that their country, including everything and everybody in it, belongs to Queen Elizabeth personally. The Prime Minister heads “HMG,” or “Her Majesty’s Government.” The names of naval ships begin with “HMS.” In trial proceedings, it isn’t the people, but the Crown vs. Whomever. British citizens are “subjects.” Elizabeth is the British national character, soul, symbol, aspiration, history, tradition, custom, religion⎯all these things and more⎯embodied in one little old lady with dowdy hats.

What do we have? Some yellowed documents in the National Archives. Portraits of dead guys on our money. Nations need something like a royal family--a bunch of living people who did nothing to deserve the honor but get born into the role--to rally around and revere. Since we don’t have our own, we have to borrow back the one we threw out a couple of centuries ago. Sure, this craving is silly. Judging from the ratings the TV networks are anticipating, however, it’s genuine.

The Federal President of Germany, by the way, is a gent named Christian Wulff… in case you ever get asked about it on Jeopardy.


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April 22, 2011

Chan Lowe: Tone-deaf Republicans


The first polls are out since the unveiling of the Ryan Plan and the Obama response to it. It appears that a majority of Americans are in favor of including an increased tax rate on those making over $250,000 per year as part of the deficit-reduction mix.

Democrats favor it overwhelmingly. Republicans less so, but it’s still a majority. Even rich people favor it. They have said they feel they ought to pay more, but no one is asking them to. The only ones who don’t favor it are the Tea Partiers, who are against raising taxes of any kind, but these same Tea Partiers have indicated in the same polls that they don’t want Medicare to be fooled with. So they shouldn’t be taken seriously, anyway. You can’t have it both ways.

This leaves us with the question of whom the Republicans in congress, with their dogmatic adherence to a policy of lowering taxes on the wealthy, think they’re representing. Surely it can’t just be the Koch brothers alone. Surely two rich guys by themselves don’t have an entire wing of congress devoted to their selfish interests, to the point where members are actually willing to jump off the cliff for them.

Which is what they will do, if they don’t start listening to the people. In a riff on Deep Throat’s famous saying: “For once, don’t follow the money.”


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April 21, 2011

Chan Lowe: Controllers asleep at the switch


Even the most rabid deficit hawks might want to leave the FAA budget for air traffic controllers intact. In fact, they could take a few bucks from, say, ethanol subsidies and slip them the FAA’s way, as far as I'm concerned.

It’s enough that anyone who is really determined can figure out a way to get explosives onto a plane, or that we never know if the last half of our flight might be in a convertible. The knowledge that only one controller staffs the tower at Reagan National after dark, and that he is asleep, can collapse the entire house of cards the airline industry and our government have carefully built to keep us flying and paying those outlandish fees.

It doesn’t sound like the problem lies so much with the controllers themselves, but with staffing shortcomings that force them to work too many hours without adequate breaks. To this taxpayer, that means it would be money well spent to hire a few more of them.

And let’s not hear that tired old line about privatizing. If you left it up to the airline industry, Air Traffic Control would consist of some guy in a leather flying helmet and goggles standing at the end of the runway and waving semaphore flags.

Some things, government does do better. Just make sure it has enough money to do it, at least when I’m flying.


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April 20, 2011

Chan Lowe: The Tea Party and the debt ceiling


The Tea Party-backed House freshmen have gotten themselves into a nice fix. They thought they had everyone by the short hairs by threatening not to raise the nation’s debt limit. Now that Standard & Poor’s has come out saying the U.S. might lose its AAA debt rating for the first time in history thanks to their shenanigans, they’re starting to look like the skunks at the ball.

The raising of the debt ceiling, as any informed person knows, is about acknowledging the fact that we have overspent in the past. The money’s gone already. If you want to have a fight about future spending policy, make it over next year’s budget…don’t hold the country’s creditworthiness hostage over spilt milk.

But the bumpkins back home don’t understand that. They elected these folks⎯some of whom have no experience whatsoever in government, not even at the local level⎯to say “no” to everything having to do with spending. It sounded so simple when they were campaigning, didn’t it? We’ll go up there and show those slickers in D.C. how wise us folks out in the boonies can be.

Well, the carnage wrought by defaulting on our debt, should these yahoos get their way, would be so devastating to our economy in terms of raising interest rates and having the dollar cease to be the world’s preferred currency that even the experts can’t completely fathom it.

And when the Tea Party freshmen go home to the wreckage they’ve wrought back on Main Street, they’re going to have trouble finding anybody who remembers ever having voted Tea Party way back in 2010.

This isn’t the local Moose Hall anymore. This is the big league. The Tea Partiers have a choice: Stay pure, vote us into default, watch the nation go up in flames, and head home to face an angry electorate. Or be statesmanlike, face reality, save the nation, live to fight another day over the 2012 budget, and assume the yokels will forget that you bent a little over the debt ceiling.

Please, just do it⎯and quickly⎯before you damage America's reputation any further.


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April 15, 2011

Chan Lowe: Gutting Medicare II


There were elements of President Obama’s budget speech that left us wanting more, but in one area he delivered. He was right to cast the coming battle over the deficit as a moral issue, since the main battleground will be entitlement programs like Medicaid and Medicare, which exist because at the time of their inception, this nation felt an obligation to fulfill a moral imperative.

The Republican Party, particularly its Tea Party wing, is making an amoral, purely financial argument. The argument is simplistic and cunning, yet does not stand up to the test of the American character.

One thing everyone agrees on is that the deficit must be reduced. How it is done will depend on who is able to make the most compelling case to the American people. Republicans, in their zeal not to raise taxes on anyone⎯particularly the wealthy⎯will continue to push the discredited notion that by removing any financial fetters from the well-off, we will stimulate an economy that will float all boats.

The only way the President can counter the nuts-and-bolts argument is to raise it to an existential plane, and contend that our very nature as a people⎯our goodness, our generosity, our exceptionalism⎯compels us to provide for our poor and elderly. Only when he can get us to see the problem through this prism will we demand that higher taxes on the wealthy, cuts to the defense budget, and subsidies to agribusiness and the oil industry be put on the bargaining table where they belong.

If he succeeds in communicating this line of reasoning effectively (and communication is Obama’s strong suit), the essential nature of the argument will shift. Americans will begin to realize what the Republicans are asking them to do to their own people in the name of greater prosperity for the already prosperous.

The Republicans will be exposed for what they are, and they will either alter their modus operandi, or they will be shamed and cast into the wilderness.

Of course, that’s if we’re still capable of thinking of ourselves as a nation based on principles.


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April 14, 2011

Chan Lowe: Government for sale


Thanks to the overwhelming preponderance of Republicans in state government, many Floridians feel that their representative bodies are not responsive to their needs and aspirations. Those of us who didn’t sleep through civics class know that democracy is all about majority rule, but in a properly functioning government, the minority is at least paid attention to.

I know for a fact that when my Republican friends voted for their legislators in the last election, they were casting their ballots for fiscal restraint and a return to what they believed was a philosophy of reining in Tallahassee’s reach. They were not voting for a slew of anti-abortion bills, or for handguns to be openly carried virtually everywhere. This is what happens, though, when you achieve and then exceed critical mass in government. Things get screwy.

I would like, just for once, to be able to view government the way big corporations do, as a mere tool for tilting the playing field in my favor. I would like to look upon it as a cooperative business arm, responding with a Pavlovian slobber to my well-shod lobbyists and lavish contributions, in a kind of Kabuki dance where the moves have been choreographed by tradition, and the outcome is always known in advance.

But I am a mere citizen, and government does not really exist of, by and for me. Besides, the people I elect to represent me are term-limited. They spend the first half of their allotted time in office trying to find the restroom, the second half allowing lobbyists to helpfully write the legislation that “regulates” their industries, because they’re the only ones around who seem to know what they’re doing. Politicians come and go, but corporations remain, accruing institutional memory and a familiarity with the right levers to push and marionette strings to pull.

Yes, I’m only a lowly citizen, but just once I’d like to be the one they kowtow to.


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April 13, 2011

Chan Lowe: Tax day for the rich


President Obama was giving his deficit reduction speech while I was inking this cartoon, and among his proposals were the expected ones about raising more revenue by closing loopholes and hiking taxes on the well-to-do.

Two questions immediately came to mind: First, why did it take so long for him to bring up the dreaded tax issue? He (and all of congress, except for a few lefties in safe districts) allowed the entire shutdown debate to continue with no mention of “revenue enhancement.” It was all about cost cutting.

Is the American public really so selfish, so irresponsible, that it cannot understand that the beneficence it has enjoyed for so long needs to be paid for somehow? And if not by us, then by our children? And is it so dense that it doesn’t understand that raising taxes on those who make over $250,000 per year is different than raising taxes on the middle class?

Second, if the so-called “family values” Republicans prefer to cut $500 million from the federal health and nutrition program for women, infants and children (WIC) rather than tax their paymasters a little more, is there no level to which they will not sink? The fact that Obama and his Democratic associates even offered it as a sacrificial lamb doesn’t exactly cover them with glory, either.

Whatever happened to shame in this country? Was that bought and paid for along with everything else that wasn't bolted down?

POSTED IN: Barack Obama (172), Culture Wars (199), Economy (197)

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April 12, 2011

Chan Lowe: Mandatory sonograms before abortions


Retired Republican U.S. Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming was on television the other night, expressing himself with the kind of rawboned candor that only a retired pol dare employ.

Simpson was opining, in his prairie twang, on the subject of abortion. He felt, for starters, that the government should “just get out of the culture business altogether.” Nobody wants abortions, he added. And, in a surprisingly sensitive observation for someone of his gender, he indicated that men should never be allowed to vote on the issue.

Ever since the Republican Party embraced cultural conservatism as a ticket to political success, there has been a fundamental—some would say hypocritical—disconnect in its platform. The small-government, libertarian wing believes that government’s role should begin and end with national defense and protecting the borders. The social conservative wing (or the “Terry Schiavo Wing,” if you will), on the other hand, feels that government ought to break into the hospital rooms, classrooms and bedrooms of American citizens to enforce a moral code that, while not hewed to by many or even by most of us, is justified in its enforcement by the sheer zealotry of its adherents.

It is sometimes amusing to follow the antics of conservative pols who must straddle the fence between libertarianism and government activism (remember the time George W. Bush rushed back from the ranch on Air Force One in order to sign the Schiavo bill into law? Only an issue that momentous could have forced him to emerge from his vacation).

There are probably a few pols who truly believe that they are doing God’s--and therefore the country’s--work to throw every roadblock they can in the way of allowing the practice of a constitutionally legal process. Then there are the opportunists who are just along for the ride⎯the morally bankrupt ones who, for example, invoke the principle of “privacy” when it suits them, and spurn it when it doesn’t.


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April 11, 2011

Chan Lowe: Gutting Medicare


I know, I know. Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to lower the national debt has about as much appeal as algebra homework, but
I assure you you’ll start paying attention, particularly if you’re under 55 years old, when Congress begins haggling over the Medicare portion of his proposal.

The old Republican principle about turning everything over to the private sector doesn’t work so well when you’re talking about an elderly cohort that’s guaranteed to be sick, often catastrophically so. This is why spreading the cost out to all the taxpayers makes so much sense: the government can’t turn anyone down. Sure, the program is full of flaws, but consider the alternative.

Republicans will quickly cave over this, because the backlash from pushing it would make them an extinct species in Congress. If you’re going to wake the American body politic out of its stupor over an issue that directly affects its self-interest, make sure it’s the other guy’s fault. This will be the Democratic strategy (“What? You want to cut Grandma’s lifeline so Wall Street fat cats can take another round-the-world cruise?!!?”).

Which leaves us wondering why Ryan is even presenting the so-called privatization of Medicare as an option. Maybe he’s such a free-market purist that he truly believes that if he sensibly, logically lays it all out as a money saver, we’ll buy it.

Here’s the flaw in his thinking: All persons, even rabid deficit hawks, get old. And the two things that are most important to old people are their financial security and their health. After that, it’s getting a ride to the polls.


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April 8, 2011

Chan Lowe: Terror alerts on social media


While I was sitting around waiting for a federal government shutdown to happen or not happen, this little tidbit swam into my consciousness. It’s heartwarming to know that the Department of Homeland Security is being proactive about alerting the masses; it certainly beats the old color-coded system, which was vague and confusing, and whose only useful purpose was to be activated right before elections so we’d vote for Republicans.

It’s also a refreshing change from DHS’ shutting-the-barn-door prevention policy, which is to allow terrorists to come up with daring new ways to harm us, and follow after the fact with the safeguards (Ever since the Shoe Bomber and the Christmas Underwear Bomber, we all have to take off our shoes and have our skivvies electronically scanned before flying. Meanwhile, the bad guys have moved on to something more outlandish…the Belly Button Lint Bomber, for example).

The only shortcoming is that those of us (like me) who don’t have smart phones will have to hope they’re on their computers when the alert goes out, or they’ll miss out on the excitement. The technologically illiterate will have to wait for snail mail, which means an extra day of delay if the alarm is sounded right before a federal holiday weekend.


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April 7, 2011

Chan Lowe: Glenn Beck and Fox News part ways


That Glenn Beck and Fox News are parting ways could be the glimmer of hope we’ve been waiting for after this long, dark night of the national soul.

It’s in tough times like these, when fear has been stalking the land, that the Glenn Becks, Father Coughlins and Joe McCarthys have historically held sway. Fear erodes tolerance, clouds judgment, and makes men susceptible to easy palliatives like xenophobia, scapegoating and race baiting.

What Glenn Beck was doing had no place on Fox News or any other national media platform. Maybe his paranoid rants were given license because, for a long time, he made a mountain of money for his bosses.

Some say Fox dropped him because his ratings were falling, and that his sponsors were pulling out because they didn’t want their products associated with the poison he was injecting into the body politic.

I prefer to imagine that it was because Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News, went to too many cocktail parties at the Heritage Foundation where he was quietly pulled aside by influential conservatives who whispered, “Listen, can’t you rein in your pet nutbag? He makes such an easy target for the liberal blabbermouths. It’s giving The Cause a bad name, particularly in the eyes of those precious moderates.”

Whatever it is that’s wrong with Beck, I think it’s progressive (the only thing progressive about him). Years ago, he was considered credible enough to be given an hour to bloviate on CNN, but then he began to embarrass that network. Fox was a better home for him, but Beck’s spewfests took on an a racist and conspiracy-edged tinge that, in their tediousness, must have begun to alienate the mainstream conservatives who tuned in for their nightly fix of O’Reilly and Hannity.

Getting back to my intro, the fact that he was losing his audience is what gives me hope for our country. We disagree, honestly, on so many issues, but there are certain things most decent Americans will not tolerate, no matter what their bent…particularly when the veil of fear is lifted away.

POSTED IN: Culture Wars (199), General Topics (188)

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April 6, 2011

Chan Lowe: The GOP deficit reduction plan


Rep. Paul Ryan has just submitted his Great Republican Economic Plan for America’s Future, and there’s a great deal of ink being spilled about whether it’s visionary or just another Trojan horse. I’ll leave that to the pundits and pols who’ve actually read the whole thing.

The part that shouts out to me, as it should to everyone else, is the lowering of the tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent. This includes you and me, as well as billionaires. Why does the American public remain so quiescent in the face of such injustice? Not all republicans are super-rich. Is the average voter that easily distracted by the culturally conservative candy the GOP tosses out every two years to placate him during the brief moment he becomes politically engaged? What happened to economic self-interest?

Is there any doubt left, after looking at that tax gift, as to who owns the Republican Party? Why is it a “liberal” issue, and not a universal one, to ensure that our poor and elderly don’t die before their time because medical care is unavailable and unaffordable? When you consider the misery much of Ryan’s “systemic restructuring” is going to create among so many people, compared to the transitory pleasure a few extra hundred thousand might bring to those who already have millions or billions, it makes you want to break out the torches and pitchforks.

If you care, that is.


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Chan Lowe: Congrats, Debbie!


Whatever your political stripe, you should be pleased to see a fighter like Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz rise to the top national position in a major political party. Back when she revealed that she had survived a bout with breast cancer, I wrote an appreciation of her many qualities as a politician and as a person.

South Floridians ought to be proud of our local girl, as well as gratified that our area continues to grow in importance on the national political map.

It would be fitting now for freshman Rep. Allen West, who is one of her constituents, to join in the chorus of congratulations for this most able public servant. It would be the right thing to do, and it would go a long way toward restoring that civility and workability in our government that the rest of us all crave.

Congratulations, Ms. Wasserman Schultz! May your reign be long and fruitful.


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April 5, 2011

Chan Lowe: Obama runs for reelection


For a seduction to work, you need the cooperation of both parties.

Back in 2008, when Barack Obama was wooing the nation, he was saying all the things many of us wanted to hear. We were deep into Bush fatigue, especially toward the end when the economy collapsed (that’s right, it did happen during the Bush Administration, although it’s so easy to forget).

Here was a new face, telling us that he was going to come in like a fresh breeze, blow out the cobwebs, and change the way Washington did business. Of course, those of us who had been around long knew that they always say that. Nevertheless, we fell for the roses and chocolates because we so wanted to believe at that point.

In our fantasy world, opposing political parties could be made to work together for the betterment of their country rather than parochial interests. Obama would lay his hands upon the troubled waters. Under his calm, cool, collected guidance, politicians would be persuaded to give a little and take a little, and in the end, the republic would run smoothly for the greatest possible good.

Well, the line worked through Election Day, which was the point of the whole exercise. Nobody, however, was counting on congress to conduct an agenda of pure spite. In our naïveté, many of us thought that the country would accept an African American president once he was inaugurated. We thought the birthers and the Muslim-whisperers would be drowned out.

Everybody is older and wiser now. Gone are the sweet talk and the high-sounding phrases. This time, it’ll be hard, cold realpolitik, and battling at the nitty-gritty level. Our policies are better for you than theirs. Vote for them, and you’ll get screwed. They coddle the rich, while we’re looking out for you. They spend like drunken sailors, but we’ll protect the country for your grandchildren.

It’ll be quite ugly. Just like the old days.


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April 4, 2011

Chan Lowe: Southwest Airlines' airplane roof peel


Regarding the Southwest Airlines roof peeling episode, I heard on the radio this morning that Southwest’s fleet of Boeing 737s averages 11 years old, which is not unusual. Their planes fly about 18 hours of every day.

Now, my car is about 11 years old. I barely drive it an hour a day, and it’s falling apart. Mysterious bits and parts drop from its undercarriage monthly. What does this say to us, the American flying public?

It says, “Thank God there is a National Transportation Safety Board and other such government regulatory outfits to protect us.” These incidents will happen on occasion, no matter how stringent the oversight. Nevertheless, if it were up to the Tea Party, all those agencies would disappear, because they do not fit into the concept that the federal government’s only roles ought to be to protect the country from invaders and prevent furriners from crossing its borders.

In a perfect Tea Party world, problems such as the skin of an airplane peeling off like a wintertime Canadian tourist’s in Florida would be left to private industry to self-regulate. Instead of a government agency requiring an airline like Southwest to ground its whole fleet of similar planes for careful inspection of cracks nobody noticed before, CEOs of airlines would try to calculate how many crashes the public would tolerate before they abandoned their sky miles and took their business elsewhere. “Oh, good,” they’d say to themselves after a particularly gruesome disaster. “Airline X just augured one in. That gives us another freebie.”

Yes, market forces would surely keep a tight rein on the airlines to ensure they inspected their craft on a regular schedule and rotated them out of service when they got too old.

I, for one, would be rallying around the new libertarian battle cry: “All aboard Amtrak!”


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April 1, 2011

Chan Lowe: The Donald plays the media


It’s hard to dislike Donald Trump because everything he does, from marrying and divorcing women, to operating casinos, to suing Palm Beach International Airport to have the flight path moved away from his house, to starring in his own hit TV show, he does with verve, panache, and unbridled enjoyment.

It’s no different with his quest for the presidency. He’s done it before (and as a cartoonist, I am grateful), and he’ll probably drop out again this time once it becomes more trouble than fun. In the meantime, we get to go along for the ride.

Seeing The Donald spar on the same stage with Michele Bachmann will be like having Christmas in midsummer. There’s no question he’s more interesting to listen to than those two stiffs, Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney. He’s less irritating than the Foghorn Leghorn caricature of a southern pol, Haley Barbour. I’m guessing Sarah Palin will have declined to run.

Because he’s so flamboyant and makes for such compelling video and printed copy, he can play the media like Bach played a pipe organ. We love him. See? I’m even writing about him.

This birther business is insane. He’s too smart not to know that. He’s also crafty enough to ride it as far as he can. More power to him.

POSTED IN: 2012 Campaign (85)

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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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