This Week’s Cartoon: “The Octangulator”

I didn’t really want to do another cartoon about Obama since I’ve done several lately, but I read a couple things recently that induced much brow-furrowing and teeth-clenching. One was this post by Robert Reich about what he’s heard from White House insiders:

So rather than fight for a bold jobs plan, the White House has apparently decided it’s politically wiser to continue fighting about the deficit. The idea is to keep the public focused on the deficit drama – to convince them their current economic woes have something to do with it, decry Washington’s paralysis over fixing it, and then claim victory over whatever outcome emerges from the process recently negotiated to fix it. They hope all this will distract the public’s attention from the President’s failure to do anything about continuing high unemployment and economic anemia.

Then there was this NYT article:

A Democratic Congressional adviser, granted anonymity to discuss party deliberations, said: “We’re at a loss to figure out a way to articulate the argument [for economic stimulus] in a way that doesn’t get us pegged as tax-and-spenders.”

Everyone knows that Democrats can balance budgets until the end of time and still get tagged as tax-and-spenders. So this strategist’s solution is to stand like an unblinking cow in the middle of the train tracks and do nothing? For this, he or she actually gets paid?

I tend to catch some flak when I’m critical of Obama, and this week will probably be no exception. I often feel trapped between defenders of bad policy and poor strategy from the Dems, and those who seem to have unrealistic expectations without taking context into account. And by “context,” I mean that the cheese has fallen off the nation’s collective cracker. But we have to try to change that context instead of echoing it, as Obama has done far too much.


  • Michael Fish

    I was reading an article by Al Gore in Rolling Stone this morning. ‘Maybe he could be persuaded to run against Obama for the Nomination….. (Please !)
    Michael Fish, Canada

  • Steve Fisher

    Not sure that Al Gore is the answer here. (Yeah, I know that was undoubtedly tongue-in-cheek, and I do appreciate the humor.)

    I do like Gore (still, after all these years), and — the only BAD thing I can think of about a Gore win in 2000 (which I certainly voted for) was that Lieberman — might — have been the Dem candidate in 2008. Unless he’d gotten kicked off the ticket in 2004. (Not out of the question — we could always hope. But, that’s all hindsight.)

    Although — given O.’s apparent — and inexplicable — unwillingness to really act like a Democrat and take on the crazies as though he truly means it, I’m not sure, in retrospect, that Lieberman would have been all that much worse. (And — it truly pains me to say that. I’ve been as big an O. supporter as anyone.)

    One more remark before I really do STFU — I’m not minimizing what O. has done. His so-called “failed stimulus” (which is total bullshit it wasn’t failed at all) did, indeed, keep us out of a depression. (Just didn’t go nearly far enough.) “Obamacare” is really a positive step toward a decent health-care system for all in this country, not only those who have the means to buy it. Could it be improved? Well, yes, of course. Should it be scrapped, as many of the Repubs are saying. Jee-zus, NO! (Still wondering how Mitt Romney is gonna handle THAT one, if he gets the Repub nomination. The song-and-dance will be amusing to behold.)

    Would I ever vote for a Republican?? Not only NO, but Hell No!

  • Jen Sorensen

    I voted for Gore in ’00, with gusto. I find the “Democrats are the same as Republicans” meme facile, but Obama is doing his damnedest to reinforce it and bring about another Nader-type situation. They don’t seem to have much of a learning curve, these triangulators.

    I do give him props for his Supreme Court nominations, as well as for the health care bill.

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.