What Will You Miss About Bush? Top Cartoonists Tell Us
With Inauguration Day almost upon us, and President Bush moseying slowly toward the Crawford sunset, Comic Riffs posed one simple question to a dozen of the nation's leading political cartoonists:
"What will you most miss about President George W. Bush?"
And then we quickly clarified with the qualifier: "Not as a voter, a U.S. resident or a member of our fair and noble republic, but strictly as a CARTOONIST."
Herewith, their replies, which range from heartfelt to hilarious.
MATT WUERKER (Politico.com)
I'm going to miss having a president like Bush who writes all his own political cartoons.
STEVE BREEN (The San Diego Union-Tribune)
The confidence and swagger. We love to hit people in power but especially prideful people in power.
I'll also miss the squinty eyes.
RUBEN BOLLING ("Tom the Dancing Bug")
Even as a cartoonist, I'll miss absolutely nothing about Bush.
After you've mocked his bad policies, you can mock his sticking with bad policies despite bad results, and then you can mock the enormity of the bad results, and finally you can mock your own inability to keep up the mockery despite the consistently enormous bad results. But then you've got seven more years of his administration, and it can get repetitive.
I'm looking forward to a new president with new, more mockable mistakes.
MIKE PETERS (Dayton Daily News)
I'll miss turning on my classical music every time his face would appear on the screen. ... What a nightmare he's been for our country -- and what a joy he's been for cartoonists.
TED RALL (Universal Press Syndicate)
Bush was the first president I felt that I understood intuitively. Perhaps it's because I first familiarized myself with the notorious dictators of Central Asia [Rall has reported from Afghanistan], or maybe because I went to an Ivy League school full of underqualified imposters, but I felt like I got his essence. I developed him into an icon, Generalissimo El Busho, that just seemed to work for everything he did, from the wiretapping to the wars to the torture.
There were many days when I could have drawn three or four cartoons a day because he had so much going on. Also, he blessed cartoonists with an amazing cabinet that constituted a great cast of supporting characters, a real rogue's gallery with figures you just can't forget. Who remembers Bill Clinton's Defense Secretary now?
But Don Rumsfeld -- wow! Janet Reno was interesting, but she was no Alberto Gonzales.
ANN TELNAES (cartoonistgroup.com and WashingtonPost.com)
His Vice President.
MATT DAVIES (The Journal News [N.Y.])
What will I miss professionally about W? I think mostly I will miss the fall-back nature of his Presidency.
One of the scariest aspects of being a political cartoonist is the prospect of wandering bleary-eyed into the office on a Monday morning and having nothing to sink your teeth into. With President Bush one could always count on a reliably healthy trickle of mind-bogglingly outrageous and cartoonworthy behaviors: The a la carte approach to the U.S. Constitution, ideological distortions passed off as sensible policy, the dismissal of science in favor of religio-political theory, environmentally destructive directives with deliberately cynical and misleading titles, wars of our choosing, tax cuts for only very, very, very rich people who gave money to the GOP, blatant politicization of horrific national tragedies, Gitmo, the careful loosening of financial regulatory standards, the attempt to dismantle our social safety net, the propensity to link pretty much everything in the pre-existing neo-con playbook to "the war on terror," the childish need to label those with alternate points of view as unpatriotic, the swaggering certainty of having God "on his side", and a total disregard for the 51percent who didn't vote for him in the 2000 election.
Oh, and I'll miss his boyish smirk.
I will forever be grateful to the man, as, to be fair, I owe my Pulitzer to all of the above.
JEN SORENSON (Slowpoke Comics)
To be honest, I'm pretty burned out on Bush jokes, so I won't miss him from a professional standpoint. I suppose I did enjoy having my character Mr. Perkins play him from time to time.
I'll miss drawing Bush's beady little eyes, pointy lip and his "Dude! Who Farted?!" smirk. However, the 'Bush is dumb' jokes have been played out for years. Let's bring in some new blood to rake over the coals.
JIMMY MARGULIES (The Record [N.J.])
Bush is to cartoon material what Saudi Arabia is to oil -- -a nearly inexhaustible supply. Both for what I have seen are the wrong policies, as well as his ineptitude in carrying them out. Add to that mix his verbal gaffes, less than stellar intellect, and a face made for caricature. If political cartoonists had a hall of fame for public officials like they do for athletes, we would definitely retire Bush's number.
MIKHAELA REID (The Boiling Point)
Hell, I wouldn't be a cartoonist without my deep abiding loathing for Bush -- I at least owe him that. I started out drawing editorial cartoons for my college paper in the wake of his wrongheaded response to 9/11 -- the rush to bomb Afghanistan, the Patriot Act, Homeland Security, color-coded alerts, etc.
But it was more fun to skewer Bush when he had a high approval rating. Lately even conservative cartoonists have lost the love for the Decider, and now that he has almost no fans left, I don't bother drawing the poor guy much.
SIGNE WILKINSON (Philadelphia Daily News)
Is he still president?
What will you most miss about President Bush, as well as Bush cartoons? Comic Riffs invites your comments.
| January 12, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories: The Political Cartoon
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