Thursday, November 17, 2005

My week for being confused...

OK, that's every week. Still, as I was going through newspapers here at the library, I read this Sunday, Nov 6th Doonesbury strip:

Doonesbury Strip

It left me confused. (I must admit, not an unusual experience when reading that tired comic these days.) Does Fat Republican Guy say move on because Mark's rant is so embarrassingly stupid on a varity of points as to make it pointless (and rather mean) to bother engaging it? That was my first thought.

Then I thought, "No, wait, this is Doonesbury," and so had to consider the idea that Trudeau thought Mark's screed so impeccibly and unassailably TRUE that a chagrined Fat Republican Guy realized there was no logical response to it and so is shamefacedly conceding as much?

Rationally, that second suggestion is laughable and, really, kind of pathetic. However, we are talking Doonesbury here. So what do you guys think?


At 9:01 AM, Blogger baby copernicus said...

I like the one where he eats lasagna and hates Mondays.

Man, does he hate Mondays!

At 9:18 AM, Anonymous Ericb said...

I'm slighty left leaning and I've never found Doonsbury all that funny. As far as that particular strip I'm as puzzled as you. Ted Rall is another one who isn't that funny. He tends to be even less "subtle" than Troudeau (if that's possible) and ends up being the commic equivalent of Michael Moore. For a good anti-gov strip Tom Tomorrow's "Modern World" is the way to go.

At 9:31 AM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

Yeah, politics aside, Doonesbury hasn't been funny for years now. Not to mention his prediliction for doing ongoing weeks of strips on topics that have already gone by the board or have actually been debunked by the time his strips are printed--i.e., Bush having a secret radio strapped to him during the Presidential debates; the "Gropenfuhrer" strips that were published *after* Arnold was elected governor, etc. Time to move to Internet Time, dude.

Tad Rall is just an untalented asshole, and unlike Trudeau never was even marginally funny. And I agree, politics aside, Modern World is often killer stuff, smart, funny and well crafted. And although I think it has grown increasingly shrill and less funny, the "Get Your War On" strip was originally often hilarious, even if politically it's waaay on the other side from me.

Even acknowledging all this, though, the exact strip we're discussing sums up (assuming I as following what it means) all that is most clueless about Doonesbury. Apparently the idea that you'd want to cut down on vote fraud is so suspect is so obviously racist in nature that advocates can't even mount a fake defense. Uhm, OK. Keen insight into the conservative mindset as always, Mr. Trudeau.

At 9:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll explain: Democrats and their allies benefit from vote fraud, therefore they oppose all efforts to reduce it.

(And yes, I will acknowledge that Republican efforts to reduce fraud are likewise largely motivated by self-interest.)

At 9:51 AM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

I agree with that, and I (although I consider myself a conserative / libertarian more than a 'Republican'), I'm entirely happy being on the side that finds it politically advantageous to be against fraud.

Again, though, this isn't an issue in which the Democrats look good (yay, vote fraud!), and so Trudeau framing it as something that weasly the other side as something Republicans can't even pretend to argue for is pretty hilarious.

At 9:52 AM, Blogger David C said...

Oh, it's definitely the latter, and Mark's rant is supposed to stimulate vigorous head-nodding on the part of the reader.

Everyone knows vote fraud is only perpetrated by Republicans (since their Evil Corporations control the voting machines, and just let Democrats win once in a while to make things "look right.")

At 9:57 AM, Blogger David C said...

The odd thing about Trudeau, though, is that I think - on occasions where he's *not* being political - he can be pretty good. The whole storyline of B.D.'s war injury is pretty well done, for instance. At least until the jarring return to stupid partisanship, with the doubleplusungood EvilStupidPresident McAsterisk (and politics aside, what a lame artistic dodge that sort of thing is to avoid having to do actual caricature) showing up at B.D.'s bedside.

At 10:32 AM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

Yeah, as I hope I'm getting across, it's not the political leanings I have a problem with, it's the utter inability to view the other side as anything less than (ironically speaking in this context) a cartoon. Trudeau is just another example of someone who thinks that conservatives or Republicans--assuming he's ever considered the fact that they might be different things--don't really think through their positions and basically masquerade all their real beliefs because they know how ugly most people would view them. Hence, an effort to cut down on vote fraud, and hardly an unreasonable one, is 'revealed' to be nothing less than raw, ugly rascism. And the Republican he's speaking to can do no more than tacitly agree.

It's like when you're watching TV and somebody says something, oh, anti-gun to a 'conservative' and the latter just shuts up or acts belligerant because they have nothing intelligent to say in response.

At 11:36 AM, Anonymous ericb said...

I think that part of the problem is that politics in the US is increasingly becoming an arm of the entertainment industry with pundits who rile people up rather than make them think. Angry people are better for ratings. Of course the popular side of politics has always been a bit raucus in the US, what's (I think) is new is that now the actual policians nowadayds seem to be taking their cues from the entertainment politics crowd.

At 11:37 AM, Anonymous ericb said...

oy, sorry, I should have proofread that.

At 11:53 AM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

Yes, typos must never infiltrate one of my sites!!

At 12:13 PM, Blogger Andrew Muchoney said...

I dunno, Doonsbury seems to keep reinveting its absurd irrelevance by doing things like locking onto District Court-level decisions upholding injuctive relief against local anti voting fraud measures, such as addressed in Georgia League of Womens Voters, et al. v. Billups, et al. (05 CV 201), U.S. District Court, Nothern District, Georgia.

Given that the internet is replete with usupported conspiracy theories that Republicans have covertly manipulated the electronic polling of the 2000 and 2004 national elections -- forget the actual facts that Democrats, among other things, maneuvered to exclude overseas military votes in 2000, and actively and successfully disenfranchised independent Ralph Nader supporters (like me damn it!!) in 2004 -- you would think a liberal like Trudeau would be happy about what a Republican-led intitaive to curb voter fraud, which HB 244 was designed to do. Plus, if Republicans secretly control voting anyway, why bother with this measure.

But, if Trudeau is going to criticize the Republican-based initiative, he should get his facts straight. First, the Court did not find that the $20.00 photo id card was necessarily tantamount to a poll tax; indeed, this was a prelimary injunction ruling, so there could only be a finding of likelihood of ultimate success on the merits even had class plaintiffs prevailed in their poll tax argument (class plaintiffs fared better in the argument that the law was not sufficiently narrowly tailored to its purpose to pass Constitutional muster, because, among other things: (a) no incident of in-person voting fraud has been reported in eight years in Georgia; (b) there are no real restrictions of absentee vote fraud; and (c) Georgia DMV-equivalent employees are encouraged not to scrutinize affidavits of indigency for veracity to secure the cards for free (encouraging fraud in a scheme designed to curb fraud)).

Of course, Trudeau also therefore ignores the fact that indigency exempted persons with no other form of identification from paying the $20.00 charge.

Also, the Court found, on page 94 (!!) of its opinion, that the photo id law had a potential disparate effect upon the elderly, poor and African-American, not just "poor blacks" as Trudeau so politely reduces and conflates things. But this kind of gloss helps conceal the inconvient facts that poorer States tended to vote Republican 2004, and that there is good evidence that 2004 support for George W. Bush among persons age 44 and older exceeded 50%.

Oh, and did I mention how I really really like the way that Trudeau's approach helps conflate the words 'poor and 'black,' but then why shouldn't a political bigot be a racial one as well.

In closing, if it were not for the facts that I have to hear Trudeau's brand of cynical calculating demagoguery from the left all too often, and that Trudeau is not alone in mischaracterizing the subject legislative initiative in Georgia (even the Washington Post had to retract some statements from an earlier article), I would not have wasted my time discussing a cartoon strip I haven't even thought about in years before today.

At 12:57 PM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

"Given that the internet is replete with usupported conspiracy theories that Republicans have covertly manipulated the electronic polling of the 2000 and 2004 national elections..."

Karl Rove told him to write that, using the decoder ring Muchoney was to find in the third box over, forth row back of Honeycombs Cereal in the Jewel store on Lee Street!!

Seriously, though, I now see that Trudea was actually just trying to be nice to conservatives, by *not* having Fat Republican Guy spout the sort of inane, off the cuff, facile 'analysis' that Mr. Muchoney provides here.

And...another bill for $275?! $(&#$(&@#*

At 1:30 PM, Blogger baby copernicus said...

Let's bring this conversation down to my level:

Remember when Billy accidentally spilled milk on Mom's new rug and Jeffy had something adorable to say about it?

That was awesome.

At 2:12 PM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

Was Granpa's smiling ghost looking on? (Or am I thinking of the wrong thing?)

At 4:54 PM, Blogger Brad said...

"Tad Rall is just an untalented asshole, and unlike Trudeau never was even marginally funny."

Ken, you're being WAY too lenient on this jerk. I can't say what I think of him, because I think this is a PG (or PG-13) rated board, and I'd like to keep it that way.

At 7:35 PM, Anonymous Tork_110 said...

Come on, don't you know that *everything* has to do with race?

At 8:07 AM, Blogger Marty McKee said...

I don't think that story of Dubya wearing a radio during the debate was ever successfully debunked, was it? I was on the lookout for a reasonable explanation from the White House, which never provided one, except to say that it was not a tracking device nor part of a bulletproof vest. The White House did demand that no cameras be placed at the rear of the stage, but the networks, in a rare case of defying the Administration, did it anyway.

At 7:46 AM, Blogger Governor Breck said...

From wikipedia:
"Audiogate": the mystery bulge

Citing an unexplained bulge [3] in the back of his suit jacket, allegations in the media suggested that George W. Bush was wired with a hidden earpiece of sorts in order to receive coaching during the 2004 Presidential Debate. A number of blogs[4] began following this matter, speculating that the "bulge" could have been anything from an audio transmitter, medical device, or bulletproof vest.

When Salon first broke the news of these allegations, Bush campaign officials initially downplayed the bulge and questioned the authenticity of the photographs stating that they were likely doctored. This statement was retracted after television footage showed the same feature. A seller of surveillance equipment who looked at the images concluded, "There's certainly something on his back, and it appears to be electronic."

In response to persistent questioning about the bulge, Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman replied "The president is an alien. That's your quote of the day. He has been getting information from Mars." [5]

The maker of the suit, Georges de Paris, said that the bulge was simply a pucker in the fabric that became more visible when Bush crossed his arms and leaned forward. At least one doctor has concluded it was Bush's backbone. There also remains the distinct possibility Bush must communicate with the Secret Service in the event of an emergency.

President Bush stated in an interview with Charles Gibson on ABC's Good Morning America that the mystery bulge was "a poorly tailored shirt." He said there was no sound system or electrical signal.

At 12:08 PM, Blogger Marty McKee said...

That's a huge load of b.s. I've seen the photos and the video, and that ain't no crease in his shirt. As Bush's lies go, it's not quite up there with "Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction, and we know where they are," but it's a good one.

At 2:52 PM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

Marty, I realize from your blog that you get rather...exercised when discussing politics, but I seriously have a question.
Why do you guys think Bush was lying whereas everyone else (Clinton, Gore, The British, the French, the UN, pretty much everybody in the universe) who also thought Saddam had WMD were, presumably, merely wrong? And what about the fact that Bush made several other arguments fof going into Iraq, and the legalistic WMD one was mostly aimed at the UN in an attempt (failed, of course) to get them to live up their their obligations.

I don't know, there's a conspiratorial cant to the Bush lied meme that I find incomprehensible. Perhaps you can help me out. Certainly critics would pragmatically make better ground with the rest of the public if they were to stick with "Bush made a mistake, and led us into a war on that basis." That's a powerful argument, albeit still I think a problematic one. Still, at least it doesn't sound like the person making it has spittle shooting from his mouth.

Tone is a problem on things like this, so I want to be clear that I'd really like to be fair and hear your views. However, I'd also like assurances that you mean to be fair to Bush, and by extension those of us who continue to support the war. Otherwise, we can always ignore politics and stick with our areas of mutual interest and general agreement. Some people you can discuss politics or religion or whatever with, others you can't. I'd just like to know where we stand here.

At 4:13 PM, Anonymous twitterpate said...

Actually, one of the people most to blame for the general belief that Iraq had WMDs was ... (drum roll please) ... Saddam Hussein. HEck, he had great fun during the Clinton years playing coy with the "Oh, yes, you can inspect our ... OH NO, DON'T LOOK BEHIND THAT CURTAIN!" routine. He presumably thought that he could get maximum intimidation with minimum effort that way.

Unfortunately, he pushed the line a little TOO far, and paid the price for pretending to be tougher than he was.

At 10:05 PM, Blogger Marty McKee said...

One reason is that Bush continued to claim there were WMDs, even after it became obvious to everyone else in the free world that they didn't exist. He did say, "We know where they are," which was unquestionably untrue. If Bush merely "made a mistake," he hasn't done jack to rectify it. That's a pretty big "mistake," you gotta admit.

Another reason is that he never fired anyone for providing him with inept intelligence. If I started blowing up little Iraqi children because of reports that Hussein had WMDs, and then I found out that he, in fact, had no WMDs, you'd better believe that the idiots who told me he did would be out of a job. But the only people Bush did fire/force to resign were guys like Richard Clarke, who told him at the time, "Um, sir, there are no WMDs there." So Bush fired the guys who were right and kept the guys who were wrong. When Colin Powell (eventually) felt so guilty that he could no longer keep the truth hidden (that's my speculation, of course), Bush sent him packing too.

We also now know from the Downing Street memo that Bush planned to invade Iraq no matter what, also making it likely that the WMD story was invented.

Bush has so often proven himself to be a liar ("I'll fire anyone who was in any way involved with the Plame leaking."), an incompetent ("Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job.") or just plain arrogant (Harriet Miers) that it's difficult to give him any benefit of the doubt. You seem to be arguing that Bush is not a liar, but just stupid, which doesn't seem like much of a defense when you're talking about the leader of the free world.

Ken, did I answer your question? I'm pulling this outta my rear at midnight, so I may have entirely missed your point! Keep in mind that I'm only talking about Bush here, and not Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, etc. who are uncategorically liars of the lowest level. I've seen those guys deny saying things, even after being confronted with videotape showing them saying it. I don't believe Bush is evil. I do think he's stupid, lazy and arrogant. Cheney and Rummy, on the other hand, those guys are bad, dangerous people.

At 5:55 AM, Blogger Marty McKee said...

Oops. Now it appears that there's no denying the fact anymore: Bush lied.


Post a Comment

<< Home