Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 4/18/07

Artist's Statement

Last week it was "news" that John McCain gave a speech in which he said exactly what he’s been saying all along about Iraq, in slightly less equivocal terms. It occurred to me that this is likely to compose 97% of our "news" about the presidential campaign for the next two years--predictable, market-tested speeches that everyone understands will have no bearing on reality after the election, meaningless photo-ops, non-issues made much of, invented scandals, trivial "gaffes," posturing, sound bites, weak jokes and slander--in other words, a constant, heavy, and inexorable deluge of bullshit. (As always, Mattt Taibbi has said all this better than I can in The Low Post.) Anyway, I got to thinking, candidates should have to do something in campaigns—prove themselves through feats and contests and heroic deeds, like the Twelve Labors of Hercules. Talk is cheap: let’s see you slay something, you useless prettyboys.

Thanks to unassuming genius Aaron Long for his collaboration. He reminded me of the rules and jargon of "The Amazing Race" and also suggested the amazing detour title, "I.E.D. or I.U.D." (Alas, the almost equally excellent "Farms or Marms"--milk one cow or read one book aloud to schoolchildren--and "Grovel or Hovel"--publicly apologize for misconduct or build one home for Habitat for Humanity--fell by the wayside during my rigorous multistage editing process.) In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that, although I have not personally owned a television for the better part of a decade, I did get briefly addicted, along with my friends Aaron and Carolyn, to "The Amazing Race" the winter I lived in Seattle two years ago. This happened to be the season featuring the hideously engrossing abusive relationship between former Playboy model Victoria Fuller and her cruel, shrieking twit of a boyfriend, Jonathan Baker. (I am even more loath to confess that we also watched the follow-up interview with this awful couple on Dr. Phil.) I regard this backsliding into TV viewership with the same fondness and caution that I do my occasional dalliances with oral narcotics: as a sobering reminder of how unhealthily fun and easily addictive they are.

This cartoon incidentally afforded me an early crash course in drawing all the major Presidential candidates. Drawing John Edwards, of course, is exactly like drawing me, with swoopier hair and a stronger jawline. Interestingly, although I’ve known I couldn’t vote for Hilary Clinton ever since she voted to "authorize the use of force" in Iraq (the current euphemism for "having people killed"), I discovered within myself, while drawing her face for the first time, hitherto unsuspected depths of loathing for her. I even dressed her in black, like an angel of death. Insofar as it’s possible to tell these things about politicians, she appears to give a shit about exactly nothing except herself—like her husband, she seems to stand for jack shit, willing to compromise any principle and buddy up to villains and traitors, driven only by a blind, indiscriminate ravening for power. I do not believe that Hilary is likely to be the Democratic nominee for the Presidency, not just because the big donors are already jumping ship to the less personally repellent Barack Obama, but because I suspect that, deep down, Americans still hate black men less than we hate women.

Nevertheless, if she does end up running against McCain or Giuliani, I suppose I will just have to gulp back the bile, think of Big Bill back in the White House, and touch the screen beside her name. Whereupon, I suppose, the machine will cast one vote for George W. Bush.

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