Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Q Toon: D'OD!

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
÷Jan 2, 2013
Because of holiday vacation schedules at Q Syndicate, I drew this week's cartoon a couple weeks ago. From that vantage point, I had no idea whether the trial balloon of former Senator Chuck Hagel's rumored nomination as Secretary of Defense would still be afloat in the new year; so I tried to come up with a formulation that would stand whether or not he was still being considered for the job.

The cartoons for the last two weeks have centered on current and former U.S. Senators who have appeared on television a lot, but haven't been the subject of a lot of editorial cartoons. Looking back, I think I needed to elongate Hagel's face and to shorten Lindsey Graham's. I think allowing Hagel's eyebrows to curve back down was a mistake. If I ever draw him again, I think I'll leave them angling upward.

It might have been helpful to leaf through the work of Paul Fell of the Lincoln Journal Star -- although he doesn't add keywords to his cartoons on the AAEC site, so it's not to easy to search for his drawings of any particular Nebraska pol.* A Google search turns up cartoons by Steve Brodner and  a Neal Obermeyer. I love Brodner's work, but he sometimes sees people very differently from you or I.

Now, for the benefit of those readers who don't recall what the reference to an American ambassador to Luxembourg is about -- which is probably nearly everybody (Quick! Name any living American ambassador to any country anywhere!) -- back in 1997, President Bill Clinton nominated San Francisco philanthropist, Democratic party donor, and heir to the Spam fortune James Hormel to be his ambassador to Luxembourg, a grand duchy wedged in between France, Germany and Belgium. (That's in Europe, got it?)

Pat Robertson's TV station broadcast a scurrilous report alleging that Clinton was sending a known supporter of pedophilia and pornography to be our ambassador to Luxembourg. He was accused of being anti-Catholic. A number of Republican senators announced their opposition to the appointment -- and after Clinton made a recess appointment of Hormel in 1999 over their objections, senators continued to protest that at the very least, Hormel should not be allowed to bring his partner, Timothy Wu, along. Or that Wu should be made to use only the service entrance under cover of darkness, wearing a full burqa and speaking to no one.

I drew a couple cartoons about these senators, such as Howell Hefflin of Alabama, Robert Smith of New Hampshire, and of course, North Carolina's Jesse Helms -- who had faces rich for caricature. Ambassador Hormel has included one of my cartoons in his memoir of these events, Fit to Serve: Reflections on a Secret Life, Private Struggle, and a Public Battle to Become the First Openly Gay U.S. Ambassador.
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* Update: A day after my cartoon was posted, Fell posted his take on Chuck Hagel being hung out to dry.

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