Post-Election Partum

Posted by on November 3rd, 2010 at 3:49 PM

As we contemplate the political landscape in the back-wash of the widely rumored Republican “tidal wave” that supposedly has destroyed Barack O’Bama and the Jackass Party in Washington, it is prudent to remember two things about this election:

1. The president’s party always loses seats in Congress in the mid-term election following his own election; and that is exactly what happened this time.

2. Any candidate who says about his own fate any more than “I won” or “I lost” is exaggerating and twisting the truth beyond what facts will support.

Alas, the extravagances along the latter line that we encounter amid the gasbags foaming at the mouth in their usual post-election orgy of self-indulgence (and to fill those 24 hours a day every day) is encouraged, hand over foot, by newspaper reports like the one written by Steven Thomma for McClatchy Newspapers the morning after the election:

“In a tidal wave of anger and anxiety, the voters voted President Barack Obama’s Democrats out of office from coast to coast, sweeping them out of power in the House of Representatives and slashing their once near-invincible numbers in the Senate.”

I don’t know which election Thomma was watching, but the one I saw unfolding was one in which almost all Democrat candidates running for re-election were re-elected. “Almost all” is not “all”; and some Democrats lost their contests, enough of them to cede control of the House to the Republicans. But if you believe Thomma, you’d expect to see nothing but Republicans seated in that chamber; ditto in the Senate. That’s what is implied by the expression “sweeping them out of power.”

Meanwhile, two Democrat governors seeking re-election were re-elected, not swept from office. And four Democrats (plus Jerry Brown in California) won first terms in governors’ mansions. Scarcely the tsunami Thomma writes about. In another California race (for the state Senate), Californians are so enamored of Democrats that they elected a dead one—53-year-old Jenny Oropeza, an incumbent who died October 2.

Denver Post columnist Mike Littwin (whom I probably quote too often; but I agree so frequently) reminded us on November 3 that the “message” voters were sending in this election “may be a little vague. This is the third ‘wave election’ in the last three elections, after all, and it’s fair to ask what the difference is between a wave election and a temper tantrum.”

Which brings us, more-or-less, to a tiny sampling of editorial cartooning about the tsunami—er, election.

I’m disappointed to report that I’ve been able to find online almost no editoons about the rumored victory of the Giddy Old Pachyderm. The cartoonists are presumably still sharpening their pencils and scratching their heads: since most of them are liberal, their disappointment at the tsunami—er, results of the election—must be acute. But here’s Daryl Cagle putting the whole enchilada in perspective with a single plunging image:

Cagle’s website,, is where I go when looking for the most current political cartooning. But I found David Fitzsimmons in this morning’s paper as well as at Cagle’s site. Cynic that I have become since the GOP infected government, I think Fitz is probably more on track than off with his observation. Not a metaphor like Cagle’s, but an image that, coupled to the ironic verbiage, is telling and memorable. And doubtless a true reflection of the actual state of affairs.

Clearly, the Democratic Party is composed of far too many jackasses that didn’t get off their tails long enough to conduct anti-tsunami tactics, and R.J. Matson puts it pretty well.

And I like his use of the “coffee” party notion to counteract the “tea” party movement. And the wake-up call implication is nicely achieved, too.

Nate Beeler’s image is another telling construction.

Next, Taylor Jones is having fun with the “tea party” notion, seeing in Sarah Livingston Palin and her monarchical manner a reminder of a tea party other than the one conducted in Boston a couple centuries ago—and by invoking that imagery, Jones manages to make Sarah the Palin look pretty silly. Probably deservedly so.

But Mike Lester gets the prize for provoking laughter. Since Mike is a nefarious conservative editoonist, I assume the guy on the right with the extremely idiotic reaction is a liberal—that’s Mike’s usual target; and here, the baseball cap on backward seems to validate my interpretation, which, otherwise, I arrived at from Mike’s reputation rather than from the images in the cartoon itself. It’s a very funny cartoon, but its target seems to me out of range if we consider only the picture itself. Maybe tomorrow, Mike and the other legions of right-thinking people will have other images to bestow upon us.

In the meantime, I’ve consoled myself by taking an antidote to Thomma’s theatrical histrionics. Esther Cepeda, a columnist syndicated by the Washington Post Writer’s Group, quoted Arianna Huffington and Jeb Bush on the election’s outcome:

“Huffington told ABC News that Americans should not fall into the trap of over-interpreting a Republican victory: ‘[It] does not mean that the nation is rejecting Democrats and affirming Republicans; it means that they are rejecting the way our institutions are working, that they have a deep mistrust of all establishments and that basically our system has not worked for them.’”

And Bush chimed in to agree: “The looming victories for Republican candidates … is not a validation of the Republican Party at all,” he said in a New York Times interview, adding that the real message was one of “disgust with the political class” for not cooperating on kick-starting the economy and getting people back to work. Guess who’s not been cooperating? And yet, they’ve been “swept” into power.

Then Cepeda asks the crucial questions: “Now that the winners have been sorted form the losers, who will actually lead? … Will the Republicans finally formulate a game plan that involves something more than merely tearing President Obama to shreds and [instead] attempt to work toward the meaningful changes the voters have asked them for?”

Good questions. So far, I haven’t seen anything approaching a meaningful response from the Gigantic Obstructionist Pachyderm.

But before we go, here’s Mike Keefe’s take on the election. The imagery is not metaphorical at all, but the message is indisputable.

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One Response to “Post-Election Partum”

  1. […] marathons), R.C. Harvey surveys political cartoons  dealing with the election results at The Comics Journal and, as always, Daryl Cagle’s Political Cartoonists Index is a good place to go to perform […]