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A Cartoon History of the George Dubya Bush years by Elena Steier
Steier cartoons can be accessed through the magic portal http://striporama.com as well as http://editorialcartoonists.com and http://americanblogress.com
This book is dedicated to my late father, Boris Vira, MD, who loved following politics and was pretty darn smart.
copyright 2008 Elena Steier
All rights reserved
This collection of political cartoons should be prefaced with a caveat. Truthfully, I never thought drawing well was a prerequisite of political cartooning. I ﬁgured it was all a matter of righteous indignation, of which I had plenty. The government over which George “Dubya” Bush presided was a lulu. Conspiracy theories long laughed at by right minded people exposed themselves like perverts in trenchcoats. For example, the existence of so-called neocons turned out not only to be true, but these guys were in charge of the U.S. government. A huge and shady network of Arab terrorists conspired to successfully ﬂy airplanes into U.S. buildings. Wiretapping and torture were calmly discussed on television talk shows as if they were the basis of a very sound and normal political agenda. In the House of Representatives, Tom DeLay ruled with his Hammer efﬁciency. Like a brilliant dog handler, he managed to get every single republican to heel. Dissent was not allowed. The ruling principle became a mix of Christian dispensationalism and lobbying inﬂuence. I guess maybe God might smite you dead if you didn’t believe in the type of free market forces conducive to government subsidies to big corporations. For the ﬁrst two years of the Dubya administration, Democrats dominated the senate, thanks to the defection of Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords from Republican ranks. He probably took one look at the neocons and said “Holy Sugar”, sacriﬁcing his political future to try and stave off the inevitable. It was all for naught. Democrats, in a feel good state of post 9/11 bi-partisanship, voted overwhelmingly to give Bush the mandate to wage war on Iraq. A senate majority came into power after the ﬁrst mid-term elections and remained thus through the really stupid part of the Dubya years, the Iraq invasion, the torture, the wiretaps, etc. Unfettered by regular newspaper gigs, I used a number of drawing styles to comment on the years of the Dubya administration. My work was experimental, and not very popular, but in this way it matches well to the actual historical record. You can no more peg my work as conservative as you can say that Dubya’s policies were conservative. No, the eight years Dubya gave us were totally wild. Anyhow, here is the lunatic fringe, both in art and in politics.
............164 John Bolton............................................................................................83 Karla Rova and Henry Kissinger........188 Onward.....................................140 Rummy............................................................4 Table of contents Prelude................................................................................................................................126 The Contractors.........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................103 Dick Cheney.........20 The Experts................................27 Enron.....................................................9 Putin is Cool...............................................152 Second Term............146 Katrina.........................................................................156 Hey Kids.........................................................32 Dubyogo..............................113 Torture.................................................................................................................................................196 ............16 The Hammer...........................................132 The Press.......94 Darpa and Information Mining................53 Pre-Emptive Strike..................................................................................................... Back at the Ranch....................107 Domestic Agenda...............61 Freedom Fries.................................5 Congress ...........................................................................14 Paper Dolls ....................................................22 Iran/Contra Redux..................................73 Winning the Peace............................................................174 Then there are these Guys...............................................................................................................................................42 Ann Coulter.....................................................................40 The Homeland..176 Aftermath............................................67 Christian Zionists...................................................................................................................46 Meanwhile.........................................................................................................25 9/11........................................................................44 Toward Iraq...............................
Sounds like conspiracy. In fact. To understand the new paradigm. you have Saudi Arabi and China which are both countries and corporation rolled into one. The late twentieth century gave us a new world order. the big difference being that Saudi Arabia is family owned. that they don’t need countries. . they function as countries. ﬁrst one has to understand that corporations are big. really big.5 PRELUDE This is the cartoon backstory to the Cartoon History of the Dubya Years. in fact. On the other hand. Some are so big. but that’s only if I’d made it up.
Super is hardly a term which can be used to describe the actual election of George W. . even though he did seem to have a penchant for having his father’s friends bail him out of failed business venttures.6 Most Americans haven’t found a way to program their cell phones let along adjust to a new world order. If we were ever going to be part of any new world order. There’s no way the U. We thought we had a democracy. We Americans love being super. a man who is a country unto himself. which decided Bush would be our man. was the deputy for the vice president. now could it? Bush’s top priority after the election was to mess with Clinton for the pardon of Marc Rich. superstars and super egos. The moment Libby testiﬁed to Rich’s good faith and innocence was the moment the entire matter died. At the time. I guess no one told Bush that Marc Rich’s former lawyer. It was a sloppy affair. For me. but in the end the democracy failed us. I was just glad it was over. Lewis Libby. Our back up system was the Supreme Court. super-sized burgers. We love superheroes. it pretty much made me think that maybe Scooter Libby came from Krypton.S. Bush. We woke up one morning in 1991 and found out we were the world’s only superpower. Bush seemed a nice enough guy. could end up like a failed business venture. we would go kicking and screaming.
Connecticut would be a victim of the anthrax terror attacks.7 There were many strange and mysterious things about the election of 2000. ended up in Florida overseeing the contested vote count which ultimately led to the not all together understandable Supreme Court decision designating Bush as president. . Jay Malcynsky. Even weirder. and a ninety seven year old resident of Oxford. That was probably the biggest reason I didn’t vote for Gore. Later. I’m not sure how this all ties together. Being a cartoonist from Connecticut. but for a while it seemed that Connecticut was the nation’s mini-me. the Enron scandal would envelope Connecticut’s Resource and Recovery Agency. Connecticut senator Joe “I love John Hagee” Lieberman was running on the Democratic ticket as the vice presidential candidate. I’m naturally attuned to local politics. Our then governor’s crony.
the White House under Dubya really wasn’t occupied by Republicans. Rather it became a rat’s nest of neocons. . At the same time. especially conservatives. the Congress was bullied into submission by dispensationalist Tom DeLay. Of course. but at least they weren’t kept on leashes the way the Republicans were. formerly the denizens only of conspiracy theories. It just shows you how gullible people can be. The Republicans decided that borrowing billions of dollars from the Red Chinese would be more in keeping to their vision of progress than the liberal’s tax and spend approach to bigger government. cowed even. who today still cling to an illusion of ﬁscal responsibility.9 Congress The fate of the Democrats during the Bush years would not be nearly as tragic as that of the Republicans. The Democrats were intimidated. In all fairness. you’d have guys like Stephen Moore of the Club for Growth and Grover Norquist convincing “run-of-the-mill” Republicans that this makes perfect sense.
Putin was a former KGB man whose democratic inclinations were suspect at best. the fascination would be brief. meanwhile. Personally. I think it’s just jealousy. and he’s really popular with the general population. For one thing. but now I’m getting ahead of myself. Putin never needed a guy like Cheney. Bush seemed to see something of a soul in Putin’s eyes and announced this to the world. lost the Republican majority in the house and stands at 22 per cent approval. He’s designated his heir and taken the prime minister position. Bush. . Alas. Republicans hate Putin and call him undemocratic. and you see that Putin had succeeded in establishing his complete authority over every aspect of Russian government. However. effectively relinquishing the title of president but not the power. Fast forward to the present. business and religion.14 Putin is cool Bush traveled to Russia in the summer of 2001 and became enamored with Vladimir Putin.
you just had to ﬁnd the right kind of clothes to dress them in. this was an auspicious sign. To see their true natures. Unfortunately. . The one thing characterizing most of Bush’s appointees was that they were by and large people who didn’t much like the departments they were supposed to head. Fat chance. Government has never been bigger or more expensive. Now here was a crew meant to cut back the government. For your run of the mill Republican.16 Paper Dolls. a good part of Dubya’s appointees had investments in a corporation called Enron. This crew was the epitome of crony capitalists.. They were like the Potemkin village people meant to keep traditional conservatives happy. Like the other conspiracies which came to light under Dubya. They made me think of paper dolls. etc. it meant what you saw isn’t exactly what you got.
Tom DeLay’s ﬁnancial dealings with lobbyist and con man Jack Abramoff were uncovered. although their ﬁnancial ties are for a court to decide. Prior to being a congressman. Through his ArmPac organization. The last cartoon depicts Travis County D. The Hammer This is Tom DeLay pupating. which contributed to the end of his congressional career. a vocation which seemed to serve him well. Tom DeLay.. The kind of enforced discipline meted out by DeLay gnerally beneﬁted large corporations and shady individuals. which explains his spiritual ties to Jack Abramoff. Jewish Zionist. . The actual beginnings of Tom DeLay’s conservative leanings come from the Reagan years. good-willed Gipper came the eggs of a future S.20 Ah. Tom deLay had been an exterminator. House majority leader from 2003-2005.A. Later. DeLay is also a Christian Zionist. Ronnie Earle. money ﬂowed to his fellow Republicans. he was the king of partisan politics and of smacking his fellow Republicans upside the head.B. landing the coup de grace by indicting Tom deLay for violations of Texas election laws. forming a close fellowship not unlike the kind you ﬁnd in a hive of Giant Japanese Killer Wasps.O. From this smiling.
21 Tom Delay putting his mark on Congress .
painful demise of Enron. The Bush administration gave us their own version of the smartest guys. these were deﬁnitely the ones to do it. From the sharpest lawyer in the person of David Addington to hot shot university professors like Paul Wolfowitz.22 The Experts In 2005. If you were going to depend on anyone to take you from being a surplus laden country to being deep in debt. a documentary about Enron came out called “The Smartest Guys in the Room”. These people knew EVERYTHING.. . It documented the fast.
..the guys who almost brought the Reagan administration to its knees were all back thanks to Dubya.25 Iran/Contra Redux What would a conspiracy laden administration be without a few members from the biggest conspiracy ever. Iran/Contra. Reich. Negroponte.. Poindexter. Abrams.
Instead of going that path. The Main Course in Iraq was yet to come. After twelve years of freelancing for the West Hartford News. this was my ﬁrst taste of censorship. Besides ushering in an era of paranoia ofﬁcially known as The War on Terror. I vented my ire by producing the above cartoon. When I opened the paper. Those terrorists executed the mother of all terrorist plots. . but this was but the martial appetizer. 2001. we started bombing Afghanistan. We didn’t know it then.27 9/11 Yowsas. On October 7. the events of 9/11 also produced the sterotypical 9/11 cartoon tribute of a crying Statue of Liberty. there was a picture of an American ﬂag where the cartoon usually ran.
sweet and to the point. Unlike the War on Terror. .28 These are some examples of editorial cartoon “quickies” which are small picture commentaries meant to ﬁt neatly into a single column of newspaper copy. The War on Terror was taking our country into some uncharted territory. quickies are short. so I ﬁgured I’d do the same with my editorial cartoons.
for all our wealth. national paranoia created a new market for enterprising private military ﬁrms. All this effectively made the War on Terror one huge pot at the end of the Republican rainbow. the United States would in fact spend the Dubya years re-arranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic. 9/11 ushered in an era of economy stimulating schemes. interest rates were slashed and citizens were required to max out at least one credit card. Like Enron. our economy would become a series of unintelligible ﬁnancial transactions bolstered by very little tangible product. In addition. President Bush announced his Ownership initiative which gave the green light to mortgage companies to ﬁnance even the shadiest home purchases. . the model for all this excess was a company called Enron. To this end. We were told that it was patriotic to buy stuff. Economically speaking. Unfortunately for us. The Department of Homeland Security came into existence so that military ﬁrms had an entirely new market. In 2002.29 As horrible as it was.
. Osama bin Laden managed to elude capture and Afghanistan became yet another excellent market for military contracting. At ﬁrst it was CIA. the United States military had boots on the ground in Afghanistan.30 Soon after 9/11. but then the military arrived after some foot dragging by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld.
Fortunately. The Revenge of the Vampire Bed and Breakfast. What is one to make of the anthrax incidents? We know from the brand that it was weapons grade anthrax manufactured at a certain military laboratory in a certain country.31 How easily we forget anthrax. Maybe I should have. Connecticut. My only commentary about the anthrax came in the opening sequence of my Xeric grant winning book. Like paranoia about planes falling from the sky wasn’t enough. I remember some days just thinking that life might just become one long terrorist attack. yeah. we didn’t need a string of attacks to stay permanently paranoid. I didn’t do a cartoon about the Sandy Berger thing at all. a few postal workers and a ninety some odd year old woman living in little Oxford. This is what I’m reprinting here. namely the United States. Sandy Berger. You’d think maybe they’d have sign up sheets for anyone wanting to take a few bags home. Maybe some genius just slipped out with it like Sandy Berger did with pre-9/11 intelligence. It took the lives of a Florida journalist. You’ll just have to look THAT scandal up on Wikipedia. It’s just the single page. just a gee whiz acknowledgement of the event. This was the other terrorist attack . It really isn’t commentary. Oh. Americans had to use latex gloves to open the mail. .
Making your own markets was the mantra of Ken Lay, Bush Pioneer, friend of all things Bush. Before the Bush presidency, hardly anyone heard of Enron, even though it was the seventh largest U.S. corporation. Enron’s existence relied on a complex series of ﬁnancial transactions masked by a few tangible products like natural gas and electrical plants. It was unique then, but pretty commonplace now. Because of the sudden drop in stock prices after 9/11, Enron’s business model unraveled, leaving all the brilliant minds who contributed to its success scattered like rats to other corporations. I’m sure if anyone did some digging, behind every bundled mortgage security in ﬁnancial trouble, there’s a former Enron man. Curiously, Enron’s accounting ﬁrm, Arthur Anderson, would be decimated in a post-Enron prosecution frenzy. Chief antagonist would be Michael Chertoff, who eventually would become Head of Homeland Security. It was a little like blaming Iraq for 9/11. It might have been excessive and unecessary, but it made us feel better.
I personally think that Ken Lay’s brain can never die. My friends refuse to believe he’s really dead. they ﬁnd the residence has already been invaded by Enron traders who fervently worship Ken Lay’s brain. the Goth Scouts. whom you met earlier examining a petri dish of anthrax which they received in the mail. it’s so BRAINY. I don’t kow. no one understands a thing Ken Lay’s brain is saying. This meant he got to take it all with him. Really. but gosh. Basically. with or without the rest of the guy. Brieﬂy. There. One of the charms of Enron lay in its perfectly indecipherable business model which could squeeze money out of a rock so long as the rock had been used as collateral for some loans posing as trades. The Bed and Breakfast is owned by a 600 year old gypsy. They envision him sipping fruity martinis on a beach in the Cayman Islands. .35 Here’s a three page exerpt from my Xeric grant winning comic book. how can it be wrong? The real Ken Lay’s brain ended up being buried with the rest of the body just as the trial was about to begin. The Revenge of the Vampire Bed and Breakfast. follow private military contractors to The Vampire Bed and Breakfast.
38 The fact that the Secretary of the Army when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan had been a former Enron executive really bugged me. I found it worthy of at least a few cartoons. .
I put together a short series of Pogo inﬂuenced cartoon strips. the approach succeeded.40 Dubyogo With apologies to the memory of the late great Walt Kelly. You’d think maybe it would have been well within the acceptable limits of the War on Terror to conﬁscate the things. Very hard. It was his unenviable job to put lipstick on a pig. as it were. the role of the press secretary was greatly enhanced. univolved president had to be remade into a tough guy in the mold of Rambo. overlooked by the usually yap happy press were small incidents like intercepted missiles from North Korea heading for Yemen. Interestingly enough. In the prelude to our Iraq incursion. But no. despite gathering protests. Our distant. It was very hard for the right to let go of Clinton as a whipping boy. the entire basis of war seemed at once so far fetched and so wide eyed innocent. leaving right wing essayists hyperventilating on the op ed page of the Wall Street Journal that somehow Clinton was at fault. that it seemed throwing the entire administration into the Okeefenokee swamp a most natural thing. However. the United States let them go. . with Americans just as happy to clobber Iraq as they were to smack Afghanistan upside the head. During this time.
. Championed by Joe Lieberman. It seemed like something from an NRA playbook. The Department of Homeland Security came into existence as yet another path for companies to ﬁnd their way to the government dole.42 THE HOMELAND It didn’t take much time before the entire United States was renamed “The Homeland”.
Tom Ridge, chief of Homeland Security, spoke at my daughter’s graduation from Carnegie Mellon University. His speech was mostly about needing satellites to protect the Homeland. That half the graduates of the Computer Sciences Department were either Indian or Asian would have tickled a guy like Lou Dobbs. I thought it was kind of funny.
To make the mental leap from attacking Afghanistan to attacking Iraq, it is necessary to go through Ann Coulter. Her insightful and witty essays separated Americans from civility by lumping all Muslims into the category “terrorist”. By suggesting that Christians overrun the Middle East and by putting Saddam Hussein at the controls of the planes that ﬂew into the World Trade Center, Coulter gave a roadmap to war as clear as any other pundit. Bombing one Muslim country was as good as any other. Let’s go for it. They all deserve to die. I decided to pose the question to myself: What would Ann Coulter draw if she were a cartoonist? Then I came up with these cartoons. What I found over time is that they are not too different from some run of the mill cartoons being drawn for daily papers.. That I thought was pretty darn sad.
like that ﬁxer upper you bought when the real estate market was booming. It played on our paranoia. The administration leaked information about Saddam and Weapons of Mass Destruction to Judy Miller of the New York Times so Condoleezza Rice could go on the Tim Russert Show and quote the very Judy Miller article based on the administration leak. we were told that this war could be fought on the cheap. .46 TOWARD IR AQ As Osama bin Laden slipped through our American ﬁngers. not a single American soldier was killed by mustard gas or radioactive material. As a teaser. The marketing campaign to sell the American population on the war began in earnest with a Cheney speech in August of 2002. Lawrence Lindsay was ﬁred over his suggestion that the war costs would top 100 billion dollars. someone more catchable. it seemed only ﬁtting that we go after another bad guy.N. A short while after that. Secretary of State took the dog and pony show to the U. The gist of the marketing sold us on the existence of Weapons of Mass Destruction. We should have known there was a problem when after the initial strike to kill Saddam missed its mark. As if we were buying a war from Walmart. Iraq has in fact become a money pit. Yes.
47 I have an entire chapter on the Media coming up. . Apparently Dick Cheney’s deputy Lewis Libby had been preparing them as Shock troops in the assault on public opinion.
sweat. . If only we had paid more attention to Enron. and money.48 This little cartoon to the right pretty much sums up my feeling at the time of our build up to war with Iraq. we may have had an administration ﬁghting that as a second front to the war in Afghanistan and we could have saved ourselves a whole lot of blood.
He should have had a little more respect for his own intelligence.49 There’s more coming up in the book regarding the Christians as well. it seemed our incursion into Iraq had the ﬂavor of a crusade against the inﬁdel. At times. The cartoon on this page regarding Colin Powell refers to his presentation about Weapons of Mass Destruction to the U. .N.
50 Doug Feith and super secret papers .
51 This is yet another exerpt from my Xeric grant winning comic book The Revenge of the Vampire Bed and Breakfast. The vampire son of the six hundred year old proprietess of the Bed and Breakfast has been brain-washed by the Enron/Dispensational cult and pontiﬁcates about free markets and war. .
. I did a lot of very nasty cartoons about John Ashcroft. government helping companies investigate and then punish themselves for corporate malfeasance. which he refused to do. John Ashcroft bounced back quite nicely.S. who did pretty darn well until he came down with pancreatitis. Ashcroft handed in his resignation and was replaced by Alberto Gonzales. His company now pulls in millions of dollars from the U. BACK AT THE R ANCH.. As the drumbeat for war continued. Later that year. the way I drew Alberto Gonzales.. That’s when Alberto Gonzales and Andrew Card chose to pressure him to sign off on the secret National Security Agency wiretapping program. . but I never drew him with a spiked collar.. The Justice Department pretty much used the time to treat the entire United States as a nest of terrorists. The ﬁrst part of this task was given to John Ashcroft. the kind of guy who would pull the living heart out of a human being if Dubya said it was a good idea.53 MEANWHILE.
2003. “You break it. Once we transported ourselves to the Green Zone. From there.” He was so totally right. you own it. .61 PRE -EMPTIVE STRIKE Anyhow. I ﬁgure that the neocons decided that the war would be a cakewalk because they really thought of the United States as a big benevelent spaceship armed with photon torpedoes. To continue the theme of conspiracy theories. the population would naturally love us. I’ve gone and turned the war into a Star Trek episode. because we’re so darn American and everyone in the Universe speaks English. the neocon society for a new world order. too. Except that the Iraqis seem to think they own it. Ofﬁcially. America started it’s attack on Iraq on March 18. Bush declared a cessation of hostilities on May 1 of that same year. I’ve started this chapter with a nod to PNAC. but he was only kidding. loaded with some neocon concept or “pre-emption”. Colin Powell warned the president.
Of course. If you think my cartoons are wild. but apparently national intelligence as well. It took Joe Wilson and a letter to the New York Times after the invasion to set out that scenario for the American people.. Sadly... just wrap your mind around that scenerio. that’s treason. wow. decided a good way to combat reality is to put the covert services at risk. Admistration guys trying to protect their fantasies. This is what you do when another nation opposes your invasion of a sovereign nation. On the one hand..I just said on the third hand. on the other. This was followed up by the outing of his wife as a CIA agent by members of the administration in cahoots with the media. . you could always collectively hold your breath until you turn blue. it wasn’t just the names of things that we were changing to suit our desires. We had to change the names of a popular food in order to eliminate the word “French”. these guys are most probably innocent by way of insanity and on the third hand.67 FREEDOM FRIES Changing the name of The United States to “Homeland” wasn’t enough.
. it’s hard to believe how the country fell for the administration song and dance. At the time. but we did.69 I drew this picture at the bottom right for my friend who was a war supporter. you were considered fairly unpatriotic if you didn’t yay rah rah for the troops. I thought a cute picture of his son with some blood and guts might change his mind. In retrospect.
when it came to right wing crazies.. speciﬁally the ones who have it in their heads that the Middle East might be a ﬁne place for a conﬂagration.73 CHRISTIAN ZIONISTS Karl Rove ran an unofﬁcial Ofﬁce of Religious Insanity. it conversely stayed away from any discussion of home grown religious crazies. the Catholics got the Supreme Court. Inasmuch as the current political climate allowed for easy discussion about Islamic bad guys. Catholics. The major religious groups always had a place to go if they needed anything. and the Dispensationalists expected to make out like bandits in the Department of the Faith-Based Dole. Right wing Jews. Besides that. Bush really was a uniter. they liked the idea of Faith-Based social programs with their promise of millions of government dollars. The Jews got the run of the Defense Department and Cheney’s ofﬁce. To his credit. . Messianic complex runs through the Bush presidency..they all formed the happy core of the Bush agenda. like a war to secure Israel for the End Times. Dispensationalists.
. Only the elite have access to its super-secret keys. The most popular part of the bunker is the gym where the powerful can ride the exercycles of power and walk the treadmills of total world domination. which is located far beneath the surface of the earth.75 The Tri-Lateral Commission Gym cartoons are my nod to political conspiracy theories. The location of these cartoons is Cheney’s bunker.
Peggy Noonan and Jesus
Bork, Scalia and Gonzales dressed as Monty Python’s Spanish Inquisition
79 Bush gets lessons on how to ﬂy in anticipation of the endtimes. .
One seriously underreported story concerned the handing over of classiﬁed information to AIPAC. I’m lumping this cartooning together with the Christian Zionists because AIPAC loves those guys. I’m a horror fan and I loved it.81 The Passion of Christ was a wildly successful movie. To see it. The gore and special effects surpassed that of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. . Christians ﬂocked with their Sunday school classes to see it. you needed a strong stomache.
The United States needed to bring democracy to all corners of the Earth. the one he wore right before announcing the cessation of battle in Iraq in May of 2003. While being loaned money by the Red Chinese. I ﬁgured I’d dress Bush up in his Pilot’s costume. . milder reason for war. However. Aided by his sidekicks. making the world safe for private contractors on the United States’ payroll. explaining how the United States should essentially take over the entire Middle East. and give him his own faux comic title. Pilot Bush would go from issue to issue. I remember hearing Daniel Pipes speaking on TV once. and Rich Uncle Dick Cheney.83 WINNING THE PEACE The idea of Peace Patrol comics came to me one day while I was listening to one of George Bush’s lame speeches. when I drew these comics. in late 2003. Robot Rummy. the initial bravado behind pre-emption had given way to a kinder. which were mercifully infrequent. Super Brain Rove.
or it excuses actions bordering on treason by making them seem like acts of civil responsibility and bravery. . here is the story of Karla Rova. In any case. The dirty tricks of Bush operative Karl Rove made for good fodder. The Vampire Bed and Breakfast. Following Karla Rova is a discarded few pages from the Xeric grant winning The Revenge of the Vampire Bed and Breakfast. he hardly brought with him the promise of enlightenment.94 Karla Rova and Henry Kissinger In my quest to ﬁnd better and nastier ways of ridiculing the administration. One of the weirder episodes of the Bush administration happened when Henry Kissinger was picked to head the 9/11 commission investigating the terrorist attacks. Kissinger ended up resigning. Of course. As the architect of the secret Cambodian bombings during the Nixon administration. one of the vampire ex-wives of Vladu. Bowing to public pressure. I put together cross dressing references to members of the administration in my comic. The Wall Street Journal called his role in the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame “whistleblowing”. a three hundred ﬁfty year old vampire who lives with his six hundred year old gypsy mom and his bratty hundred year old sister. Either it means real whistleblowing borders on treason. it continues the linguistic butchering of American idioms and makes your head want to explode when you think of its real implications. First among these was his involvement in the Plame case. but not before I managed to get this three page comic done. Mimi. he managed to participate in some pretty gosh awful stuff. which shows you why I read the pages of the Wall Street Journal with same relish as watching Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. For a guy who acted as liason between the administration and the religious right.
Just listen to some of Bush’s speeches. John Poindexter. the administration abandoned any forward thrust. you’re probably realizing that this cartoon history of the Dubya years isn’t progressing in a linear fashion any longer. At this point. It was apropos. private contractors. The Revenge of the Vampire Bed and Breakfast. late of the Iran/Contra scandal.103 DARP A AND INFORMATION MINING Not long after 9/11. At some point. there came out a report about extensive data mining by DARPA. This pretty much reﬂects what happened in our government. torture. It wasn’t such a bad idea. war. . It entailed accumulating bajillions of informational bits and seeing some sorts of patterns emerge. Eight years of the same speech warmed over. of course. except for the fact that it meant spying on every United States citizen. an expertise very much at the core of Darpa’s activities. rather repeating the same old. he Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense. same old: wiretapping. Iran/Contra was all about not following the rules. was put in charge of the operation. Here is yet another exerpt from my Xeric grant winning comic book.
When Enron was having problems with its electiricity plant in India. pure and simple. earning 45 million dollars. This is where the real seat of power lies. People with so much power they don’t quite know what to do with it. showing up at CIA ofﬁces personally to press his agenda. Dick Cheney had been the principle force in changing the contracting procedures in the Department of Defense while he was Secretary under president George H. Bush. Recall the Ken Lay exhortation to his traders to “Make Your own Markets”. One of the ﬁrst things he did was organize a super secret energy task force. Ordinary citizens need not apply. which was war with Iraq. He later went to work for the mega contractor Halliburton. Cheney stepped in with a vice presidential “You do what Kenny boy asks or else. there sat Dick Cheney as well as Mr. Bush.107 DICK CHENEY I heard an account of a meeting between England’s Prime Minister.” headed by Doug Feith. Blair had it in his head that it would be a private meeting between the two of them. All private military companies are doing quite well. All this secrecy around Cheney led me to invent the multi-panel cartoon which takes place in the Tri-lateral Commision gym located deep within Cheney’s bunker. Dick Cheney’s ofﬁce facilitated the “Ofﬁce of Special Plans. And so the meeting continued. It was a wholly independent intelligence gathering organization. It became clear early on that the vice president was like no other vice president ever. in fact. Cheney used this ofﬁce to put the lean on the CIA. . but when he entered the room. Thanks to the war.” After 9/11. I think the real reasons for the War with Iraq will remain as unknown as the membership of the super secret Cheney Energy Task Force. Blair. What they discussed and what they determined and even who participated to this day remains totally unknown. Mr. Bush. The gym only welcomes people who really matter. Halliburton has increased business seven-fold. and President George W.
108 Connecticut’s jailbound governor and Dick Cheney. .
Once in a while someone would point out the deﬁcit. Kerry mostly cried foul or went swift sailing. John Kerry. but she speaks with an accent so she may as well be. I think what really cooked Kerry was his illegal alien wife. however. true. most of the talk was about the swift boating of Democratic candidate for president. she’s not illegal. In the summer of 2004. just in time for the 2004 elections. while nary a mention of Bush’s going AWOL from the Air National guard made it into the rebuttal. His four month experience in Viet Nam was reduced to so much poo. . Well. there was a domestic agenda. It came and went very ﬂeetingly.113 DOMESTIC AGENDA Yes.
This really happened.114 Coronation of Reverent Sun Myung Moon at the Dirkson Senate Ofﬁce Building. .
.117 Texan Harriet Miers is nominated by the president to sit on the Supreme Court.
122 Paul Wolfowitz .
Treasury Secretary Karen Hughes .123 Orrin Hatch and friend Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake John Snow.
Secretary of Education Rodney Paige likened teachers unions to terrorists and Richard Perle cited journalist Seymour Hersh as a terrorist. it just shows you how much a guy on the news can inﬂuence public opinion. Suddenly. After the revelations of Abu Ghraib.126 TORTURE Around 2004. To commemorate our country’s newfound belief in legalized torture. after all. It’s not surprising that we are spreading our xenophobic goodness to illegal Mexicans as well. using private contractors. teachers became terrorists. and the gosh awful photographs which have since then become iconic. with a brand new reality show. It would be so much more interesting to have a nightly torture show. you had Lou Dobbs turn his CNN program into a nightly hour of Mexican bashing. What do we do to terrorists when we catch them? We torture them. our squaky clean Star Trek Federation self-image pretty much went belly up. So Mexicans became terrorists. I began drawing members of the administration in sado-masochistic gear. What is quite scary to me is the constant redeﬁning of what the word terrorist means. journalists became terrorists. Not that anything has changed in the last thirty years as regards illegal immigration. In this spirit. a country so up in arms about 9/11 that we attacked a country which had nothing to do with the planes going into the towers. EVERYBODY was up in arms about the subject. We are. . of course. and so forth. Hope in the neocon heart springs eternal. Might as well celebrate it in true American fashion.
127 Alan Dershowitz .
129 Rod Paige beats a terrorist member of the Teacher’s Union. . Richard Perle interviews terrorist Seymour Hersh.
THE CONTR ACTORS
The contractors are the very soul of the Bush administration. These aren’t local contractors, like the ones that got Buddy Cianci or John Rowland in trouble, these are huge multi-nationals with bigger net worth than the GNP’s of some countries. All of our tax cut non-money has been going to these guys. Once in places like Iraq or Afghanistan, they don’t have any laws governing their actions. If they want to break a contract, they can. Murder? Sure. Screw with local military? Why not? We pay for them and hope for the best because we’re Americans and eternally optimistic. I had a conversation with a big supporter of contractors who pointed out that we couldn’t wage a war without Halliburton. And that’s suppose to make me feel better about these guys?
” . I mean where else could you ﬁnd a serious pice of editorial content headlined “Karl Rove. For one thing. Then you ﬁnd out that The New York Times articles about Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction had been produced in some kind of conspiratorial manner between Lewis Libby and Judith Miller. Wayne Madsen. they made this lead weighted albatross of an administration around our collective necks seem kind of fun and interesting. Every possible bit of jaw-dropping right wing claptrap appeared there.there was a slew of guys who reported on contractors and dominionists. Jason Leopold.. These guys in no small part inﬂuenced the subjects of my cartoons.e.. Alexander Cockburn. Whistleblower.140 THE PRESS Most of the stuff about the Bush administration which bugged me the most. It makes you wonder just what does get into the news and why. a woman who was jailed for not revealing her sources like some iconic symbol of a free press. My other source was the op ed pages of the Wall Street Journal. contractor and dominionist inﬂuence. i. Thank God for the internet. didn’t even make it into the news.
Somehow he made the transference from paranoia over Muslims to paranoia about illegal Mexicans. . We Americans by and large are a small minded lot. He’d do better by insisting all Americans get passports and go see the world. It just goes to show you that there can be a thin line between patriotism and xenophobia.144 One of the biggest critics of the Bush administration has been Lou Dobbs. he managed to bloviate himself into some patriotic reformer. In the meantime.
He seemed to thoroughly enjoy them. My own experience with Donald Rumsfeld was limited to watching his press conferences on TV. His departure was accompanied by a twenty-one gun salute which was broadcast on C-Span. Then we were hit with 9/11 and there was not a blessed thing any Defense Shield could have done to thwart such a terrorist plot. His most famous line was in response to a question from a soldier. Rumsfeld declared that you don’t go to war with the army you wish you had. using folksy language and glib rejoinders to keep the press from asking any serious questions. If ever there was a guy who could take political inﬁghting to an actual battleﬁeld. The CIA put together a group of anti-terrorist commandos which successfully battled the Afghans only to be made to wait for regular army troops to arrive by a foot dragging Secretary of Defense. but the army that you’re stuck with. because Rummy stayed in ofﬁce until right after the 2006 mid-term elections in which the Republicans lost control of the House and the Senate. What a guy.146 R UMMY Donald Rumsfeld began his tenure as Secretary of Defense by pushing the Defense Shield. . It didn’t sit well with many people. but no matter. Rummy was the man who could do it.
Plus. Political squabbling gave Louisiana the short end of the stick because its governor was a Democrat. thanks to the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Coastal parrishes seem to have been left out of the ofﬁcial disaster declaration. The levees in New Orleans failed. the intense politicization of the disaster pretty much shouted out to the rest of the country that you’d pretty much have to be in Republican control to get any kind of help. But this is the kind of schoolyard bickering that had been seizing the Federal Government since the Bush Administration came to town. even if adults were in charge. including Michael Brown. the head of FEMA. the actual day of landfall saw most of key administration players just doing their regular weekend thing. 2005.152 KATRINA On August 29. and all the rest of us could do was watch. This is probably why Louisiana ended up electing a black Republican of Indian extraction to be the next governor. Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeast Louisiana. . This was after Bush’s re-election and before the 2006 mid-term election debacle which put the Democrats in charge of both the Senate and the House. they wouldn’t have the funds to do much of anything. Anyhow. Though the hurricane was being tracked closely.
I think most everybody in the country had gotten tired of what the Republicans were not doing. By this time. which is why the 2006 elections were so disastrous for the Republicans. the progatonist. In one scene. gets a little spooked by his patron. which is governing. this bunch was so free of rules and oversight. Katrina had come and gone. That’s what makes you so frightening. ruthless Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.156 THE SECOND TERM I decided to frame the period of time around the 2006 elections as a series of kids’ comic strips. Around this time there came out a movie with the Title “King of Scotland” about Idi Amin. . Like children.” That’s my take on the Bush Administration. that the thought of actually doing what’s best for the country never occured to them. Nicholas Garrigan. Tom deLay had been booted from ofﬁce thanks to a lobbying scandal with Jack Abramoff. Amin asks what’s the matter and Garrigan replies: “You’re so like a child. with its disastrous aftermath. After Katrina. however. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq still dragged on with no end in sight. the adults came out.
however. and John Yoo’s reasoning was like your older brother declaring that punching you in the face has suddenly become the moral equivalent of a touchdown in the neighborhood touch football game. Also. It’s like Hurricane Katrina. you’re screwed. If you want a responsive government. Most pointedly. images of the corpses of Uday and Qusay Hussein were broadcast quite extensively on TV. For one thing. the Hey Kids strips were reﬂective of the total powerlessness of children. thanks to our military interventions. Absent that. a lot of kids were becoming orphans. Wiretapping went a long way towards echoing the idea of someone’s mom reading through a private teenage diary.164 HEY. KIDS! The Hey Kids cartoons I did came from mulling over what type of example the present administration was setting for future generations. not to mention the scenes of horror from Abu Ghraib. kids. . you’d better be a rich Republican with an offshore post ofﬁce box.
Bolton yelled a lot without accomplishing much. Our bark was still strong. The mortgage securities market in still in collapse. but no. It pretty much reﬂected the way the administration was heading. but our bite was gone. As I write this. for some stupid reason Republican pundits urged our nation to trust these people and we believed them. The housing market is in ruins and the jobless rate is increasing.S. All anyone had to do was look at Enron and seen all this coming.174 JOHN BOLTON No one characterizes Bush’s second term better than John Bolton. and sometimes in his not off hours. he liked to berate underlings in his off hours. with a second market in school loans and a third in credit card debt still looming as big unknowns. as an interrum appointment. the problem being that all the businesses he ever ran had .N. An avid neocon. our debt belongs to the Saudis and the Chinese. clout in the world had been much diminished. Our president pledged to run the country like a business. Sent to the U. Oil is selling at $147 per barrel and rising. It never occured to people like Bolton that U.
The market for political cartoons was shrinking. pro-Israel. AND THEN THERE ARE THESE GUYS . for all the passion I put into the cartoons. really bad. they made not one iota of difference. and here I was with a cartooning style which was all over the boards. It wasn’t my bag. but I’m not sure if the Red Chinese will lend us the money we need to ﬁght them. I realized that in the grander scheme of things. Moreover. I pretty much stopped doing political cartoons in 2007. It was not a very happy time. My last gig was freelancing for the Soros funded website of the Center for American Progress.176 I think you can characterize the last few years of the Bush Administration as being fairly aimless. My cartoons seemed to have more in common with conspiracy theorists than with political pundits. mildly against the conservatives. Pretty much they demanded cartoons which were liberal in the traditional sense. advancing tried and true liberal causes. There’s talk of Iran being really. Old time distinguishing features between the right and the left had become blurred by private contractors. Christian Zionists and questionable business practices as far as I was concerned.
179 Dubya makes a surprise ofﬁcial visit to President Maliki of Iraq .
185 The Clintons tag team Barack Obama during Primary 2008 .
We are in some bad economic times. I’m ending this book with a series of comic book pages which I thought were kind of an apropos combination of military scenes and economic concerns. the idiot journalists. Freddy Mac. the contractors. well. Putin’s done a good job of running circles around the United States while our pose as guardian of the free world looks a little like. The right wing revved itself into a political juggernaut as it did with Bush. with no one to blame but ourselves because we elected the lunatics in charge. I realized the same lunatics I lampoon in this book. I thought Bush and his ilk were done for.may quite possibly be gearing for yet another chance at the big time.. I threw in a few Condi the Dominatrix cartoons as well. who had been censured by the Senate for costing the taxpayers millions through his involvement in the Savings and Loan Scandal. Fannie Mae. Isn’t that a kick in the head? .186 AFTERMATH These ﬁnal cartoons kind of take us full circle. and Palin. as his running mate. from the collapse of Enron to the collapse of Bear Stearns. etc. WAMU. Pentacostal governor of Alaska.. a pose. a juggernaut for McCain.. anti-abortion mother of a pregnant tennager.the dispensationalists.. Wow. etc. but then McCain declared Sarah Palin. The conservatives we used to know and love as Republicans have been replaced by treasury plundering fundamentalists. Suddenly. people.
..196 ONWARD. .