Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 11/15/06

Artist's Statement

I drew this cartoon in the Old School manner—learning I had an early deadline with only twenty-four hours’ notice, waking up the day it was due with no ideas, coming up with one over breakfast, then drawing it in a hungover frenzy and filing it by three P.M. before rushing off to meet a friend at the train station. This is as it was done Back in the Day, which is why my drawing has improved in recent years. Also, in the interest of reducing scanning time I actually drew this cartoon all on one piece of paper, as I did back before Photoshop made it possible for me to create worthless originals scattered among a half-dozen separate scraps of paper and only jiggered together at the last minute into something approximating a four-panel composition. So I apologize for the hastiness of the drawings, but hopefully it’s funny enough. Thanks to breakfast companion Dave Dudley for his indispensable collaboration.

I rented a car and drove from New York back to Maryland to vote last week, and, with my help, the Democrats won the close senatorial and gubernatorial races there, the charismatic and ineffective Martin O’Malley defeating the vile Governor Ehrlich. But I’m afraid that the Democrats’ great electoral sweep might have come too late to revive my hope in politics or faith in humanity. I gave up on my fellow Americans as ineducable troglodytes two years ago, and now that it finally seem to have penetrated the dim national consciousness that the war in Iraq isn’t going so well and the Republicans aren’t as responsible and virtuous as they tell us they are, I just can’t care anymore. It’s like your ex-girlfriend wanting to get back together with you after she left you for someone else and left you crouching naked on the bathroom floor sobbing into a smelly old towel. The swing voters didn’t turn against the war because it was trumped up on lies, or because it’s killed half a million people for no reason, but because we’re not winning. They’re no different from the fair-weather fans of a losing NFL team. I almost have more respect for the moronic zealots who still support the war than the mushwits who lent it their vague acquiescence when it made them feel good but are now disenchanted because it’s turned out to be such a bummer. (See this article by my political soulmate and prose-style superior Matt Taibbi for choleric elaboration: .) Ultimately, I think it was Katrina that destroyed most Americans’ faith in this administration’s ability to conduct the war. They lost a war right here on American soil, in plain, unspinnable view of the national media, leaving thousands of our fellow citizens looking like refugees from Dafur. It was only then that most people suddenly realized what had been obvious to us liberals for years: these guys have no fucking idea what they’re doing.

Still, there’s no denying it was a relief to wake up the day after an election and not be a Loser for the first time in recent memory, and a pleasure to savor the sight of the weeping Santora. The dependable thing about Republicans is that, skilled though they are at seizing power, they inevitably destroy themselves as soon as they’re allowed to wield it. They just can’t help it; they can’t bear pretending to be decent or civilized one second longer than they have to, and they tear off the pleasant smiling human masks and start devouring the handicapped live on national TV. In only six years in power they’ve succeeded in making the name "Republican" synonymous with venality, warmongering, and molestation. Lincoln Chaffee, a relatively progressive Republican, said that again and again in this campaign his constituents told him that they liked and supported him, they knew how much he’d done for their state, but they just couldn’t vote for him this year. That "R" appended to his name might as well have been a swastika. The party’s reputation has been more irredeemably sullied than at any time since Watergate—except, of course, that throughout Watergate congressional Republicans still had enough integrity and balls to refuse to support a president who’d been clearly exposed as a bungling criminal. This Republican congress remained trembling, obedient lapdogs even as George Bush single-handedly wrecked the twenty-first century--turned their party into a laughingstock and a thing of shame, blew the country’s treasury like a crack fiend, wiped his ass with the Bill of Rights, dragged the country into a pointless war and left it there, and all but tried to crown himself King.

I only hope the Democrats won’t squander their mandate and waste the taxpayers’ time and money with a lot of pointless, vindictive investigations. Ha, ha! Just kidding. Of course I do. I hope they launch investigations and hold hearings and appoint special prosecutors relentlessly, into the buildup to the war and Cheney’s closed energy hearings and Halliburton and the NSA spying program and Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, until every last member of Bush’s administration has resigned, gone to jail, or hanged himself. The Democrats have been treated with unbelievable contempt for the last six years—pushed around, shoved aside, mocked and vilified as weaklings and traitors. It’s clobberin’ time. Fuck them all.

The big disappointment of this election, of course, is that Bush’s simpering lickspittle Lieberman, bolstered by his Republican backers, won back the seat he deservedly lost in the primary. It seems that that leaky old colostomy bag will be with us until the end of time.


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