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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 01/12/2009

What Will You Miss About Bush? Top Cartoonists Tell Us

By Michael Cavna

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.



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.


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.



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.

By Michael Cavna  | January 12, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Political Cartoon  
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Can't think of anything....

Posted by: JkR- | January 12, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

We voted him into office - twice - what does that say about our judgement?

Posted by: cks1 | January 12, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

"We voted him into office - twice - what does that say about our judgement"

Nothing about mine. I'm only a little surprised he was this dreadful. It was pretty obvious he was an idiot. Now, if the Republican idiots will stop voting for someone that reminds them of themselves, we'll be fine.

Posted by: bflorhodes | January 12, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

"We voted him into office - twice - what does that say about our judgement?"

In 2000 bush lost the popular vote.
In 2004 he barely won the popular vote.
I would say 50% of the people displayed good judgment by not voting for bush.

They call him "W" so he can spell it!

Posted by: knjincvc | January 12, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I will miss the idiots defending the moron!

Posted by: not-me | January 12, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Bush would take credit for making political cartoons so biting and on-the-mark. His response to this page would be a cartoon in itself, "I have decided upon some tough decisions in my time as the President. That hasn't always made me popular with the editorial-ists and the cartoon-ists. But it has probably sold a few more of their papers, eh, heh, heh, heh."

Of course, he would make a joke of how unpopular he is not appreciating for a moment that the people who are buying and writing the papers will be deciding upon his legacy.

All failed presidents believe that "history" will be a much kinder judge than their current reality. If Bush is right about this...well, after 8 years of Bush, if he is right about this then reality will be turned on its head.

Posted by: farkdawg | January 12, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

We voted him into office - twice - what does that say about our judgement?

apparently you have none. but given the bush ethos, that gives you bragging rights as well as all the other rights of the privileged ignorant. unfortunately, you also have voting rights.

Posted by: cometzbb | January 12, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I'll miss nothing about the Cretin in Chief. The only thing I'll miss about the Republicans being in power: it means very soon they'll be back to creating 'nontroversies' (with the help of the right-wing media) that will have their self-righteous sheep-like supporters all up in arms over irrelevant nonsense.

Oh, and we DIDN'T elect Bush in 2000. Had all the votes been counted, Gore would have the electoral votes as well as the popular vote. Thanks, Florida. And thanks to Ohio, we'll never know who really won in 2004.

Posted by: jjjunob | January 12, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

"The only thing I'll miss about the Republicans being in power: it means very soon they'll be back to creating 'nontroversies' (with the help of the right-wing media) that will have their self-righteous sheep-like supporters all up in arms over irrelevant nonsense."

Hey! What about the war on Christmas? That occurred during the Bush presidency. What about every time Ann Coulter opened her mouth? And many others I could probably name if only the whole subject is too depressing to contemplate for long enough to make a list.

Posted by: nicekid | January 12, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I will miss knowing things MUST get better. Now that there's something to lose again, my anxiety is actually up [God BLESS human nature]...

Posted by: mobedda | January 12, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I would have liked to see how Michael Ramirez or Scott Stantis would respond to this question.

Posted by: oceanchild | January 12, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

>>to: oceanchild

Great minds (or at least your great one and my cartoon-saturated one) think alike. I had put out inquiries to both Michael Ramirez and Scott Stantis.

Ramirez and Stantis are both very engaging guys (we used to all work for Copley News Service), so I might yet hear from one or both...


Posted by: cavnam | January 12, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

We voted him into office......whaddayamean we paleface?

Posted by: jimbo1949 | January 12, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

It will be nice to be the overlords of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter again.

Posted by: lolyla | January 12, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

I will miss nothing, however I fear that
Obama fatigue may set in as He goes about
repairing all that Bush destroyed or simply
mucked up thereby opening the possibility
that someone even more clueless becomes the
default standard bearer of the Republican
Party. Sarah Palin anyone? Mr. Obama, I
am praying for your success. Our Country
needs it.

Posted by: habibhaddad | January 12, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Well, honestly I feel lucky to have just survived him..But, like, if your dark side ever wanted a President that would just TOTALLY S**T THE BED, SC**W THE POOCH, so to speak, I mean just totally nosedive in and BUY THE FARM, **whew**, he's the dude...Fortunately I ain't that dark-hearted...

Posted by: frak | January 12, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Bush is still in office and already the right-wing radio fog machine is spewing accusations of incompetence against future President Obama. How much screwing up in office can a guy do who isn't even in office yet? There are two kinds of people: those who believe in belief and those who don't. Those who don't gather facts and evaluate them before making decisions. Others, like Bush, get the answers from their close, personal relationship with a Deity. In Bush's case, his gut tells him 2 + 2 = 5. Only pointy-headed elitist Liberals would say otherwise because they are contrarians and don't worship properly.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | January 12, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Well, the Democrats certainly seem to have the political cartoonists on their side. Not that I'm surprised.

Posted by: bokamba | January 12, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Ted Rall got it right -- Bush is so much the insufferable "frat boy."

Watching his _final_ press conference (Thank God!), I was struck by how immature he remains, even after all that's happened in the past eight years.

It's such a relief to see Obama -- who projects intelligence, dignity, and humility -- soon to assume the presidency.

Posted by: raoul-picante | January 12, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

There is NOTHING THAT I WILL MISS ABOUT THIS WAR CRIMINAL and those around him that created the absolutely WORST presidency in our entire history!

Posted by: sailorflat | January 13, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I will miss the BS ranch owner ethos that the media loved to give to him, like clearing brush had been some lifelong avocation for this "Texan" (he was born in Connecticut you know).

The guy bought the "ranch" (1500 acres on which you raise nothing is not a ranch... it's "land") in 1999 in a blatant attempt to buy some authenticity. In our image is everything, top designers put their logos on everything world, the public and the press ate it up.

The entire ranch affair is a microcosm of both Bush's integrity and the media's desire to (not) dig any deeper.

Congratulations, media, you were fooled by the Times square guy hawking "Rolexes."

Posted by: Left_of_the_Pyle | January 13, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Bush served his purpose. He turned us so far back toward a nation of landlords and serfs, that the American people woke up and decided to defend their democracy. I'm really glad about that.
And I'm glad we're ready to move on the lesson Bush taught us--that if we want to stay a free people, we need to guard our freedom ourselves. Corruption in government has been growing for decades, under both parties' administrations. Bush simply made it so outrageous that everyone took notice. Our American identity was threatened, and as soon as that was clear, we Americans stood up and defended our country. I'm proud of us.

Posted by: shaman7214 | January 13, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Well, I liked him! I didn't agree with all he did but always kept in mind that he knew a lot of really bad things that the rest of us may never have to know, but that is part of the "job description" isn't it. When this nation was developing, there were times that we needed to clear out some really bad guys and situations, so we hired a gunfighter that no one liked and some hated and feared, to do the job no one else would/could do. He did the job and got rid of the trash and cleaned up the town then left. Most were glad to see him go but some remembered what he did for them and were silently happy he did their dirty work for them! I see him riding off into that sunset and everyone around too selfish and gutless to say a small, Thank You for sanitizing our world so we can keep it as WE wanted it. Remember we weren't Socialistic then.

Posted by: Phxenigma | January 14, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

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