This Week’s Cartoon: “Obama Cuts Deal to Live in Tent”

I’ve probably gone a little easier on Obama than some of my peers — not so much because I think he’s doing a great job, but because I have a certain amount of empathy (possibly too much) for anyone trying to run a country this steeped in nutballery.  The real problems with American politics are systemic. But even with my very low expectations, I’m kind of  amazed by Obama’s caution-to-the-point-of-recklessness. The contrast between Obama the campaigner and Obama the cold-fish prez have grown so stark, he’s looking highly disingenuous — and in politics, that’s a big risk. You’d think someone so risk-averse might start to worry about that.


  • Steve Fisher

    Yeah, I’d never want to try to run this country of idiots and Tea Partiers. I recently read the book “Idiot America” by Charles Pierce, who seems to have things pretty well nailed down.

    But I’m also dismayed by Obama’s enthusiasm for trying to deal rationally with those who hate his guts no matter what. I could perhaps understand it for the first two weeks of his term. But by then it was obvious that he was never going to get any co-operation from them whatsoever. There is no rationality with the righties.

    I’m guessing (cautiously) that Prez O. will be re-elected next year. After all, does anyone REALLY want to see President Trump, or President Palin, or President Huckabee? (Even President Romney would be really hard to stomach. His Dad as Prez probably wouldn’t have been all that bad, but the son is clearly rebelling against the father.)

  • Michael Welle

    I think the man deserves some credit. The unemployment rate is falling (8.8% with 216,000 jobs added in March). The stock market is above 12,000 (way off its lows in early ’09). He was able to push health care (no matter how compromised) through congress. Now, the American people have elected a Republican congress that he has to work with in order to get things done. If anyone deserves to be made to look foolish, it should be the American people who voted in the Republicans and not Barack Obama. In terms of caution, Shakespeare once said “out of this nettle danger, we pluck this flower safety.” The character who said that line (Hotspur) was dead by the end of the play. Perhaps there is something to be said for meekness. After all, is it not written that “the meek shall inherit the earth?”

  • Jen Sorensen

    I actually give Obama a lot of credit for pushing for health care reform. That was very important to me, even with the compromises. But he needs to use the bully pulpit more, and stop gratuitously parroting right-wing talking points.

  • Bill

    Obama deserves a lot of credit. He succeeded in ensuring that the banks got bailed out. He succeeded in continuing the worldwide war on terror, secret prisons and all. He succeeded in handing over any chance of health care reform to the insurance companies. Wall Street has really gotten what it paid for. In the meantime, there’s a bunch of yahoos running Congress making reasonable people think that O is good in comparison. I’d say he’s doing exactly as good a job as he set out to do.

  • Michael Welle

    @Jen–Yes I realize you want him to be more like Teddy Roosevelt, but that isn’t the type of President he happens to be (IMHO). He has a Republican congress to work with–I would say “right wing talking points” and “compromise” are going to be the way of the future. That’s just the way it is when you have divided government. But it’s a heck of a lot better than having a Republican in the White House. So I’m not going to be too hard on him. If you want to write comics making fun of the man–that’s fine…and maybe even good in some ways (maybe it will make him and others think more progressively–although this one was too tough on him). But the situation he is in is a difficult one: How do you work with your adversaries? And what about this 14 trillion dollar deficit?

  • James

    *shrug* Once again, calling conservatives “ignorant” or “unreasonable” is going to go as well them calling you all “tax and spend liberals” and “freeloaders.” In case y’all missed it, the “ignorant” folks just gave a pretty convincing thrashing to the Democrats in November 2010. Short of seceding (and I think we settled that discussion about 150 years ago), that sort of means you’re going to have to deal with the unwashed masses.

    President Obama sorta gets this. I say sorta, because I think he is truly a man of liberal tendencies who is constrained by the Washington political structure as we know it today, yet does not know how to play the game. Oh, and that little problem of wanting to get reelected. While yes, some folks would love to have a liberal Teddy Roosevelt, unfortunately the time when he could have governed that way (i.e., from January ’09-January ’11) has come and gone, and so far all there is to show for it is a dog’s breakfast of a health care bill and the stinking albatross of a stimulus. In both cases, the President made the mistake of letting Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid write the bills rather than calling the two of them to the White House the day after Inauguration and saying, “You really want to pass this, or I’ll be sitting there endorsing your primary challenger in two years.”

    Put another way, I think, in terms of intellect, the President has an IQ double digit points above the former Speaker, the current Speaker, and current Senate Majority Leader. Unfortunately, he lacks the necessary ruthlessness–and that’s why he had to give a speech yesterday that basically guarantees _no_ Republican is going to be able to work with him lest they get primaried. Darn that pesky democratic process, actually letting those “unreasonable” ignorant rednecks vote. Why things would be so much easier if intelligent leftists just got to do whatever they want. Oh wait, see part about you had a freakin’ supermajority in the Senate and a majority in the House and yet you’re _still_ whining? And don’t give me that crap about Dems in names only. Nancy Pelosi, for all her faults, was the most ruthlessly effective Speaker since Tip O’Neil. I don’t care for the woman’s politics, but I am in awe at her ability to get her fellow Dems to swallow shaved glass, chase it with gasoline, and then let her pass them a cigarette.

    It’s simple what to do about the deficit–reform Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security, figure out a tax code that takes one page, and then have a conversation about what we (and that’s the collective, E pluribus unum we, meaning that yes, no matter how much you hate it those ignorant bible-thumping red staters have to be taken into account to) want the Federal government to actually _do_ with the remaining funds. Unfortunately, you guys want to keep wailing about “right-wing talking points” and how those ignorant rednecks just don’t get it. Well, guess what–at this rate, the the country is eventually going to go broke, it’ll be Kilkenny Cats’ time, and all that smug superiority won’t be nearly as importantas knowing what plants are edible or not.

    I’d _much_ rather talk about issues before things get to that point. However, if you’re going to basically show up with the mindset that I’m an ignorant *bleep* who should be silenced because I somehow think that the government has, you know, _enough money_, then what’s the point of making the effort? I believe there’s a saying about glass houses and stones…perhaps you guys should put the rocks down before you need a glazier, because you’re just as bad as the Republicans you claim to be ignorant, know-nothing freaks. (Trust me, I’m in the Midwest and surrounded by them…I’ve gotten good at recognizing intolerant blockhead.)

  • Jen Sorensen

    @Michael – I agree with you about pragmatism up to a point. But voters also want a president with convictions, and Obama has left many confused as to what those convictions are. The fact that he sounded more like the old Obama in his recent speech is probably because even mild-mannered progressives (such as Ezra Klein) were starting to ask WTF? A certain amount of criticism from the left is healthy and necessary.

    @James – I agree with you that Nancy Pelosi didn’t get enough credit for her effectiveness.

  • Mr. Mayes


    Don’t expect this to change much, especially after the 2010 elections. Many Obama supporters decided to stay home (I guess the mid-terms were not cool enough) while any chance Obama had for pressing forward on his agenda was thrown out the window. Obama spent a lot of political capital on the Healthcare law, and even though it was not perfect, it was at least more than any other administration has done in decades. As a result, Democrats who voted for the bill in congress ran away from their vote, the right was able to whine about not being included (even though they were), and losing so much in 2010 basically told Obama to stop. I think Obama has been given very few options to do what he wants to do.

  • Jen Sorensen

    @Mr. Mayes – I agree with you wholeheartedly. It’s mainly the things Obama does and says unnecessarily — kowtowing beyond the inevitable compromises — that I would like to see change.

Jen Sorensen is a nationally-published political cartoonist. She is a 2017 Pulitzer Finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.