Chuck’s point: Barack Obama wants to kill your baby.
My least favorite political cartoonist of all time has to be Chuck Asay. It’s not just that I disagree with his politics. It’s not just that I can’t stand his “things aren’t the way they used’ta be, you betcha” style. It’s not just that he’s one of those people who, the more wrong they are, the more smug they become. It’s not just that he’s less a cartoonist and more a polemicist. It’s not just that I hate his retro drawing style. It’s all these things combined. He is a perfect storm of toolbaggery.
Now, you could easily say that about someone like Tom Tomorrow (on the left end of the spectrum), except that Tom has an interesting retro drawing style, a much sharper wit, and a slightly firmer grasp on the way the world actually seems to work. Republicans may always be the butt of the joke in This Modern World (Tom’s strip), but he’s better at pinning down exactly what it is that makes them laughable. There’s plenty to laugh at on the left, too, but Asay’s point isn’t to make you laugh. He doesn’t even seem to be trying to change your mind, or even make you think. The point of a Chuck Asay cartoon seems to be to make conservatives shake their head and go “tut-tut” at those naughty liberals ruining everything, and to make liberals go “wait, what? no, that’s… wha-huh?”
Case in point: this cartoon right here. Let’s break this down: there’s obviously two black women here, except that one of them is carrying a pure white infant in her belly. The kid’s nearly fully formed, so we can assume that the younger woman fully intends to carry her Aryan love child to term. Perhaps she’s a surrogate mother, which would explain why the child looks absolutely nothing like her. Thing is, she’s obviously going to give birth to this kid.
The older woman is supposed to look like one of those hectoring, interfering liberals, who are always trying to tell you what to do with your life and who natter on about silly things like “health care” and “rights.” She’s telling the young woman to vote as if her life depended on it. The kid inside her thinks “Actually, mine does.”
Why, Chuck? Are you saying that if this young woman votes for Obama, the kid will die? Will she all of a sudden decide to have a late-term abortion because she voted for a Democrat? If the older woman’s argument is “young women should vote, because their health is at stake,” is Chuck Asay’s argument “young women shouldn’t vote, because white babies will die?” ‘Cuz that’s how I read this thing.
You could, conceivably, see this cartoon as a perfectly respectable depiction of America as an evolving Democracy: how the votes we cast today will affect the lives of our children tomorrow. I’m down with that. You could even say that it’s a perfectly legitimate expression of a pro-life point of view, and that the young woman in fact represents all women in her particular situation. That’s fine. It’s still implied that merely allowing her to vote endangers the life of her unborn child somehow, and it seems to stem from the bizarre idea that liberal women run around having abortions willy-nilly (otherwise, why would this kid’s life necessarily be in danger?) but we’ll let it slide.
Unfortunately, Chuck’s gone and pasted a bunch of buttons all over the older woman saying things like “NOW”(boo!) and “OBAMA” (hiss!) and – gasp! – ACORN!
Acorn’s a voting rights group that recently got into trouble. Some of their employees, needing to fill their daily quota of registered voters, filled out registration cards for people like “Mickey Mouse” and “Betty Boop.” Essentially, Acorn’s only real crime is not double-checking their homework before passing it in, but talk radio’s been all over this for weeks. You know, because a couple of bogus names on the voter rolls are a lot worse than Diebold machines that intentionally cast the wrong vote, or telling people in downtown Cleveland to vote on the wrong day – both of which are tactics Republican operatives actually used in the last election. Oh, and Barack Obama once defended them in court back in the ’90s, and hired them during the primaries to “get-out-the-vote.” In Talk-Radio-Land, this means he was totally their BFF.
Acorn, as a group of community activists, is obivously more likely to lean more towards the labor union/”power to the people” end of the spectrum, which is why your average corporatist Republican tends not to like them very much. The only way Acorn’s recent actions could be in any way dangerous is if the dead people they falsely registered actually came back from the grave, because zombies are always bad news. Or, I guess, people might try to vote in multiple precincts under different names, except that a) under the Help America Vote Act you’re apparently not allowed to vote unless you have seven forms of ID and a letter from your 6th grade Math teacher, and b) people have been doing this sort of thing for years, on both sides of the aisle.
If you’re Chuck Asay’s target audience, though, all you need to know is ACORN LIBERAL BAAAAD! Despite their years of service in working class, urban neighborhoods, at the end of the day Acorn’s just another one of those craaaazy liberal organizations that wants you to vote Obama, get gay married to a monkey, convert to witchcraft, and murder your children.
(Note: to be fair to Mr. Asay, some of his recent cartoons on the bailout have been spot-on. )