Category Archives: presidential election

Sketchbook: Watching the Election 2008

I created another page of sketches drawn while watching election coverage on CNN last night. Enjoy.



There are any number of reasons to celebrate. First and foremost, an African-American has achieved the presidency. It has not been easy, a two-year-long slog against some of the most vicious smears we have heard in modern elections at a cost of some 700 million dollars. Obama has achieved all of this while maintaining admirable coolness of head, speaking to people not only in the soaring rhetoric for which he has earned fame but more importantly by respecting the intelligence of voters. He spoke to us as adults. He appealed to common cause. He campaigned in states that his fellow Democrats had previously written off, as if other voters mattered beyond “the base.” He ran a ground-and-internet operation that has changed politics in a more populist direction, motivating millions of people to vote who had never voted before.

I have a long list of concerns about war, the economy, health care and so on. But there is plenty of time for that – plenty of cartoons to draw on those subjects in the future. For now I am relieved. The rest of the world has been watching this election, wondering if we have learned anything from the mistakes we have made. The real test of that is coming. The election of Barack Obama demonstrates that we have the potential to renew ourselves at home and abroad.


Election Day at Elementary School

To celebrate our democratic ritual, my daughter’s class had cupcakes: chocolate for Obama and, yes, vanilla for McCain. She reports that there were a lot of vanilla cupcakes left untouched.

Not red and blue. Chocolate and vanilla. Even here in über-librul Portland, shit is fucked up.

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Election 2008 Sketchbook

polling station

Above is a sample of sketches I have done recently on the election and posted to a special Election 2008 Sketchbook Page. I am too freaked out right now about all the things that could go wrong today, so I can’t really think straight. So in lieu of an actual political cartoon, please enjoy these sketches. A real cartoon will appear Thursday.

Freedom From the Press

Responding to Sarah Palin’s expressed fear that media criticism of her public comments amounts to suppressing her First Amendment rights, Glenn Greenwald gives a short lesson on freedom of expression as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution:

The First Amendment is actually not that complicated. It can be read from start to finish in about 10 seconds. It bars the Government from abridging free speech rights. It doesn’t have anything to do with whether you’re free to say things without being criticized, or whether you can comment on blogs without being edited, or whether people can bar you from their private planes because they don’t like what you’ve said.

If anything, Palin has this exactly backwards, since one thing that the First Amendment does actually guarantee is a free press. Thus, when the press criticizes a political candidate and a Governor such as Palin, that is a classic example of First Amendment rights being exercised, not abridged.

So, yeah, she may have more “executive experience” than Barack Obama, but I think we can see why a constitutional scholar would be more prefereable. That is, if the last eight years of domestic espionage, secret detentions and torture were not enough.

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In Contempt (10/14/2008): Backfire

Backfire cartoon
Click that image to expand it for happy reading.

Fraud and Suppression

Jack Tapper at ABCNews wrote the blog post that I was planning on doing on the ACORN controversy and the NY Times report of voter suppression tactics by various states, and he has done a better job than I would have done. So I’ll just link to it.

Ben Smith at Politico also does a nice job of differentiating voter fraud and voter registration fraud:

The key distinction here is between voter fraud and voter registration fraud, one of which is truly dangerous, the other a petty crime.

The former would be, say, voting the cemeteries or stuffing the ballot boxes. This has happened occasionally in American history, though I can think of recent instances only in rare local races. Practically speaking, this can most easily be done by whoever is actually administering the election, which is why partisan observers carefully oversee the vote-counting process.

The latter is putting the names of fake voters on the rolls, something that happens primarily when organizations, like Acorn, pay contractors for new voter registrations. That can be a crime, and it messes up the voter files, but there’s virtually no evidence these imaginary people then vote in November. The current stories about Acorn don’t even allege a plan to affect the November vote.

The distinction is important because conservative McCain supporters are already alleging that the Obama campaign is trying to steal the election. The Obama-ACORN connection has been a favorite meme at FOXNews. If Obama wins, expect the Right to cling to this rationalization to the extent that the Left has nurtured its belief that Bush stole at least one if not both of the last two presidential elections — without, of course, anywhere near the justification

If Obama wins, he will do so despite voter suppression, not because of it.

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