Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 05/21/08

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Artist's Statement

As of this writing (Monday May 19th), it seems inevitable that Hillary Clinton will have to drop out of the race and Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee for the Presidency... but one hesitates to use words like "inevitable" or “foregone conclusion” in politics—especially when a Clinton is involved. Last week my colleague Sarah Glidden was making noises of relief that at last it was over, Obama had clinched the nomination, Hillary was surely doomed. Tom Hart cautioned her against being lulled into believing that Hilary Clinton was done for. “She’s like the Terminator,” he said. “Every time you think she’s dead, that red eye begins to glow again, or just the mechanical arm comes crawling after you.” I just plain stole this analogy for this week’s cartoon.

Sad that it has finally come to this: Hillary joins my gallery of monsters, along with the putrescent but unstoppable zombie Joe Lieberman. I have an especially purulent contempt for those Democrats who went cravenly along with the bellicose frenzy back in ’03, as opposed to the more formal “Morning, Sam/ Morning, Ralph” enmity I feel toward Republicans, who are, by their own cheerful admission, out-and-out villains. My feeling toward Republicans is like my feeling about sharks: of course they’re stupid and vicious. It’s just their nature to be mindless, ravening killing machines. It's nothing personal. They don’t know any better. Pretty much the only thing you can do about them is shoot them through their rudimentary brains with a spear gun. But pro-war democrats seem more like cannibals, something unnaturally vile, traitors to the species. In this the radical Muslims and I agree: the most unforgivable sin is apostasy.

I used to feel a sort of vague, reflexive defensiveness on Hillary Clinton’s behalf in reaction to all the rabid misogynistic loathing that’s been spat at her from the wife-beating contingent of the right. But she lost my sympathies when she voted for the war in Iraq. Always with the Clintons there has been this sense that, well, yes, this time they had to tack to the center or defer to the conservatives for reasons of political expediency, but this was only so they could get into a position where they can finally enact their real agenda, and show themselves for the progressive reformers they truly are underneath everything. Except we waited eight years for this moment to come, and it never quite arrived. Always it was just one more compromise away: “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” NAFTA, wefare reform... But the war vote was one of those moments of truth when the bullshit is supposed to stop, when you cash in all those compromise chips you’ve spent a career accumulating and stand up for what you really believe. It was, after all, a matter of life and death.

But once again Hillary cast her vote for what clearly seem like the most calculated, cynical, and heartless of reasons. She knew she’d be campaigning for the White House in ’08, and she feared that a vote against a popular war would be used against her in the election. (The only alternative explanation is that she actually believed what the Bush administration’s reasons for invading, in which case she should be denied the Presidency for her gullibility.) There is a harsh justice in the fact that it is this same vote that’s hobbled her run. If, by the time you read this on Wednesday morning, Obama has won a majority of pledged delegates and Hillary has finally accepted defeat, let us bear in mind it was entirely her own fault. It may be true that sexism was a factor in this campaign—I myself voiced my suspicion months ago that America still hated women more than it hated black men—but, in the end, Hillary Clinton lost because she deserved to.

And yet somehow I doubt this is what will happen. It seems all too easy, like that brief false calm after you’ve shot the maniac through the chest and turn your back on him to catch your breath, leaving the cleaver/axe/chainsaw lying conveniently close to his body. I have a hard time envisioning Hillary Clinton delivering a gracious concession speech for the sake of the party or out of respect for the electoral process. I can’t think of any examples of either she or Bill forfeiting their own ambitions for the good of the country or a cause. I find it much easier to imagine her taking the fight all the way to the convention, doggedly insisting on getting those votes in Florida and Michigan counted, coaxing, bribing, intimidating and blackmailing each last available delegate, thrusting us all into yet another weird, unprecedented limbo like the 2000 election. I think we can trust her to make the most chaotic and undignified possible public spectacle of it before, with a Nixonian glower, she finally quits the national stage.

*Although, as Sir Gibbon is allways reminding me, things could be worse. The 2000 debacle was nothing to compare to the time they auctioned off the emperorship of Rome, or the time the army, which had always been content to stage coups before, unexpectedly asked the Senate to choose an Emperor, and the Senate said, oh, no, you always do such a good job, go right ahead and the army was like, no no, really, we insist, and for eight months the empire drifted along in what Gibbon calls a "benign anarchy," during which nobody was emperor.




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