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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 10/ 8/2008

The Morning Line: Obama! Palin! Who's Got the Best Line?...

By Michael Cavna

As pundits and the press provide instant reaction to the political debates, there's one group that labors to keep up with this rapid campaign cycle: the nation's political cartoonists.

Or, as artist Ruben Bolling says of cartooning during this quickly shifting election: "Now. we're behind the curve."

In a break between big debates, we headed to the Small Press Expo in Maryland over the weekend to answer the pesky question: What do you get when you put a dozen or so topical cartoonists in one hotel for two days -- within 48 hours after Sarah Palin's showdown with Joe Biden?

You get ranting about the state of their industry. You hear concerns about drying revenue streams. And consistently, over several moderated sessions, you get one common element: Sarah Palin one-liners.

Really?
You betcha.

The event featured sessions with some "mainstreamers" as well as numerous alternative cartoonists, and their remarks about both major tickets often proved provocative, entertaining and insightful. To wit:

1. ON PALIN'S CANDIDACY:
"I don't want her to win, but if she doesn't, our time with her will have been too short -- [speaking] as cartoonists."
-- Tom Tomorrow (aka Dan Perkins), ("This Modern World")

2. ON LAMPOONING PALIN:
"I try to avoid some of the moose and hockey-mom jokes. It plays into the Republicans' imagery."
-- Jen Sorenson, ("Slowpoke")

3. ON COMPETING WITH TV SATIRE:
"When I started [as a political cartoonist], it was about the speed at which we worked. We were the first out there satirizing something. Now, 'The Daily Show' is so fast and generally in the same direction -- now, we're [cartoonists] behind the curve."
-- Ruben Bolling, ("Tom the Dancing Bug")

4. ON RESTRICTIONS FROM EDITORS:
"When [New York governor] David Paterson was sworn in, I was told: 'No blind jokes.' Yet I've drawn him piloting a plane, and somehow, that is [okay]."
-- Frank Cammuso, (The Post-Standard, Syracuse)

5. ON CARTOONING FOR THE WEB:
"If you really nail a cartoon that hits the zeitgeist, it can explode -- but you're not going to see any money from it."
-- Matt Wuerker, Politico.com

6. ON PARTISAN CARTOONING:
"After the bump they got from putting Palin on the ticket, I felt like: The gloves are off. ... The Republicans have radio and [much of] TV. The left has cartoonists."
-- Keith Knight, ("The K Chronicles")

7. ON THE RACE:
"I'm so terrified of a McCain/Palin win that it's [cartooning's] become
easier in the past few weeks."
-- Mikhaela Reid

8. ON OBAMA AS A SUBJECT OF SATIRE:
"I agree that Obama might be tough to satirize -- and in the end, that might be his saving grace. ... [because] people get so much news from comedy."
-- Jen Sorenson

By Michael Cavna  | October 8, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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Comments

Jen? I didn't know the Slowpoke cartoonist was a woman! That's great. I can now count the number of female political cartoonists on one finger. Or am I missing some? (Hope so!)

Paterson flying a plane is GREAT.

My intro to political cartoons (and politics) was Pogo and the amazing windup candidates. I realised he was satirising SOMETHING and I had to learn more so I could get in on the joke. Been a junkie ever since (both politics and comics).

Walt Kelly was my first pusher.

Walla walla, Wash., an' Kalamazoo!

Posted by: f2 | October 8, 2008 6:56 AM | Report abuse

*makes generic comment about media being "in the tank" for things and "not discussing" things*

Just wanted to be the first.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 8, 2008 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Bucky Katt's name plate now reads re'lic. Darby's right on top of this.

Posted by: jimbo1949 | October 8, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

hey f2, didn't one of the original Six Chix go into political satire? I assume they're all FEMALE.

Posted by: MSchafer | October 8, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, the six chix are, um, chix. I lost track of five; I only read Piro when I have the chance.

Posted by: f2 | October 8, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

>>MSchafer et al.:

Former "Six Chix" cartoonist Ann Telnaes, who won a Pulitzer for her editorial cartooning, now does political animations for The Washington Post/washingtonpost.com.

Posted by: Editor's Note: | October 8, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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