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Posted at 1:47 PM ET, 10/31/2008

Obama Wins? Yes, 'Doonesbury' Calls the Election!

By Michael Cavna

Networks have long taken flak for calling elections early, but what are newspaper editors to do when a cartoonist "calls" an election several days in advance? That's the controversial question raised by next Wednesday's "Doonesbury," which Pulitzer-winning creator Garry Trudeau has already submitted and which has been sent to editors.

In the strip, Trudeau declares that Barack Obama has won the presidential election. (His syndicate, Universal Press Syndicate, says a replacement strip will be made available to newspapers who request it.)


Garry Trudeau calls the election for Obama in next Wednesday's "Doonesbury." (Universal Press Syndicate)Enlarge Comic

So what prompted the cartoonist to "call" the outcome of the election? Trudeau tells Comic Riffs today: "If I didn't call the election, I'd have no premise for the week and be forced to write about something else. I didn't want to write about something else. This is history."

Did Trudeau then create the strip with complete and utter confidence that Obama will win? "Nope, more like rational risk assessment," Trudeau explains. "Nate Silver at Fivethirtyeight.com is now giving McCain a 3.7% chance of winning -- pretty comfortable odds. ... Here's the way I look at it: If Obama wins, I'm in the flow and commenting on a phenomenon. If he loses, it'll be a massive upset, and the goofy misprediction of a comic strip will be pretty much lost in the uproar.  I figure I can survive a little egg on my face."

But will the yolk also be on editors who run the strip? Says Trudeau: "We've supplied our clients with a week of reruns, just in case."

Trudeau adds: "My editor mentioned initial 'panic and anger' from some papers, but she said cooler heads are prevailing today."

Kathie Kerr, the syndicate's vice president for communications, tells Comic Riffs: "So far, there have been about a dozen calls and/or e-mails [from editors], but they are still coming in. ... They are all requesting the substitute strips; some of them haven't made a decision about running them, but they do want access to them."

Kerr adds: "Still, that's not a huge percentage considering the size of Garry 's client list," which is roughly 1,400 newspapers.

NOTE: The Washington Post and WashingtonPost.com plan to publish Trudeau's "prediction" strip.

By Michael Cavna  | October 31, 2008; 1:47 PM ET
Categories:  General  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Who'll Win the White House? Cartoonists Issue Their Predictions
Next: My Fellow Americans, Hear a REAL Comical Speech

Comments

From his pen to the Flying Spaghetti Monster's noodley appendage...may it be so.

Posted by: Late2Bass | October 31, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

And what exactly is the concern here? That a FREAKIN' CARTOONIST is somehow going to jinx/influence the election!?! Gary T is awesome and a national treasure but come on... EDITORS: Get a nutsack! This is exactly the kind of cowardice ALL of our politicians, leaders, media outlets and general population showed the CHENEY/bush administration as they brazenly lied us into an unjustified WAR and led us down this financial black hole.

Lefty to the right's head

Posted by: Mitchavery7 | October 31, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Just one more reason I never read this strip....

Posted by: Section303 | October 31, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Just one more reason I never read this strip....

Posted by: Section303 | October 31, 2008 3:18 PM

Thank you for this bit of wit and erudition. Your contribution acts as a beacon for future Citizen Journalists to follow to enhance the social and cultural discourse of the future.

The blog is the better for it.

Posted by: Late2Bass | October 31, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Can anyone remember the last time Doonesbury was relevant? Best guess is 89-92 time frame.

Posted by: Waffle1 | October 31, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

To Waffle1 --

At least Trudeau's "irrelevant" strip is more witty and aesthetically pleasing that its closest competitor on the right, *Mallard Fillmore*...

Posted by: Robert_B1 | October 31, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Can anyone remember the last time Doonesbury was relevant? Best guess is 89-92 time frame.

Posted by: Waffle1 | October 31, 2008 3:44 PM

____________________-

Doonesbury is most relevant of cartoons. Occasional 2nd to Gary Adams' "Dilbert". Check out his Sunday Comic 2-3 weekends ago about Iraq-based US soldiers discussing Iraq in terms of Viet Nam. It is a True Classic!

Maybe you don't know any prosethetic-appendaged veterans? Or, if you do, perhaps you don't think them relevant either.

Posted by: Spectator | October 31, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Can anyone remember the last time Doonesbury was relevant? Best guess is 89-92 time frame.

Posted by: Waffle1 | October 31, 2008 3:44 PM

I'll take "what's 'today' for $200" Alex!

Posted by: Late2Bass | October 31, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

When was the last time Doonesbury was relevant? How about anytime during the last several months when the strips characters addressed PTSD, military sexual abuse, the role of lobbyists in politics, gay-marriage, the role of the media in society (and the changes in the way that consumers access infomation), and feminist role models, just to name a few!

Whether you agree with Trudeau's viewpoints or not, Doonesbury almost always addresses topics relevant to those interested in US society and politics.

Posted by: tammykirk | October 31, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Just one more reason I never read this strip....

Posted by: Section303 | October 31, 2008 3:18 PM

/

Pop goes the bubble.


Posted by: Attucks | October 31, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Nothing could be more relevant than the story line involving B.D.'s war wound and subsequent therapy. Classic stuff and should be required reading for all those for whom the phrase "Support the Troops" means a yellow ribbon magnet for the car.

Posted by: kguy1 | October 31, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

First "For Better or For Worse" goes through a time warp into the past, and now "Doonesbury" goes into the future. It's like Jayson Blair all over again. Gosh-golly-gee-whiz, whatever happened to the integrity of the funnies? I haven't been this demoralized since Garfield started walking upright--CATS DON'T WALK ON TWO FEET, JIM DAVIS! Now I have to start getting my news from the front page rather than the comics page, just to be sure it's timely, but that means I can't do Sudoku while reading the day's headlines! Heavens to Betsy, woe is me!

Posted by: ComfortablyDumb | October 31, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Doonesbury is indeed relevant. His wit is not only directed toward political situations but family and personal ones. He is far more relevant than the stupid duck who tries to be funny! Whether he is correct in his prediction or not, only time will tell. In the meantime, Doonesbury provides us with some comic relief at a time when the US is in worse shape than ANY I can remember in the past 75 years. Thanks Gary, (Oh and thanks Doobya for NOTHING!)

Posted by: yard80197 | October 31, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

If Obama and the Dems sweep, it’s going to be a quiet four years for Trudeau, since he refuses to criticize liberals, no matter how egregious their transgressions. I predict another 18 month hiatus followed by the return of the ever tedious Mr. Butts. Then in 2011 he’ll start savaging the GOP presidential contenders – in fact, he’s probably already got those strips written.

Posted by: warddm | October 31, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

"Can anyone remember the last time Doonesbury was relevant? Best guess is 89-92 time frame."

Do yourself a favor & look up all the strips about Iraq, particularly BD's time spent there & tim spent recovering from wounds received there. Its very relevant.

Posted by: bsimon1 | October 31, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

If you don't think his daily strips are relevant you haven't been reading them. He has been, and continues to be the most relevant cartoonist in the business. Perhaps some do not like the truth of his daily messages....

Posted by: buzzsaw1 | October 31, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

If Doonesbury is irrelevant, then so is Sarah Palin. Both are cartoons.
One, however has offered valuable and timely insights into human behavior, politics, and provided entertainment for the 30 years I've been reading. The other is a cartoon.

Posted by: salkelly | October 31, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Ramen, Late2Bass, ramen!

Posted by: steveboyington | October 31, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

"Doonesbury" may be "relevant," but the antic inventiveness and dry wit that once made it a masterpiece disappeared many years ago. (Much as happened with "Peanuts.") Now, "Doonesbury" is preachy and self-righteous: a sad little shadow of what it used to be.

Posted by: lydgate | October 31, 2008 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Section303, but the main reason is because you spend all your time reading your gay porno mags.

Posted by: wangbang747 | October 31, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

One should remember the Gasoline Alley cartoon in late 1942 that showed troops landing in North Africa on the day of the landing. I recall that it ran on the front page of some newspapers. There is a certain amount of risk putting current events in a comic strip drawn up a couple weeks in advance, put a major upside if you are right.

Posted by: FredinVicksburg | October 31, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Spectator,
The cartoonist that writes Dilbert is Scott Adams, not Gary Adams.

Another typically stupid comment by a low information voter.

Posted by: hisroc | November 1, 2008 12:09 AM | Report abuse

section 303 is hilarious! It reminds me of those pay-per-call phone in polls where there are always some idiots who call to say they are "undecided".

So sec. 303 does not read Doonesbury, but will read ABOUT Doonesbury and then take the time to write a nonsensical comment about the topic. Gee, thanks for your searing insight!

Posted by: ldvisavis | November 1, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

The Charlotte observer has already announced that they will not use this strip. Hey, if Trudeau wants to go out on a limb and Dewey actually beats Truman, let him saw off the limb behind himself.

Posted by: Ron1951 | November 1, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Already told the San Antonio Express-News that they were wusses for not publishing the Obama Wins strips....they will go with the "lets skip it" group.

Can't know why a COMIC would influence or be bad for a newspaper...new opinions always wanted, I thought.

Posted by: ZeldaJane | November 1, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

"If Obama and the Dems sweep, it’s going to be a quiet four years for Trudeau, since he refuses to criticize liberals, no matter how egregious their transgressions." Huh? He drew Clinton for 8 years as a WAFFLE! Obviously you don't read the strip, which is one of the greats of the current day.

Mike Rhode
(who signs his opinion, you'll note)

Posted by: Mrhode | November 2, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Well said, Mike Rhode. I hope the Post prints the Obama strip and the strip accurately reflects what's on A-1.

Richard Thompson
(who signs most of his name, you'll note)

Posted by: rhompson | November 3, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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