This may be the week that marked a tipping point in coverage the 2008 campaign: A month ago, no one in the DC press corps or the pundit class would talk about the fundamentally dishonest, Rovian campaign McCain was running. Following the RNC convention, a few who had ridden the Straight Talk Express the longest began to distance themselves from the "New McCain." The next week, a few more jumped ship. (McCain's newfound decision that his former base is now the enemy, asking all those impertinent questions of the greatest energy expert in America, isn't helping.)
Now three or four days rarely pass without some Washington-New York luminary expressing newly-minted dismay at the hollow, hypocritical campaign that McCain is running.
Of course, two things are escaping these folks' notice: First, this is no overnight change, no abrupt response to the pressures of a winner-takes-all campaign; McCain has been a political opportunist for two decades at least. Second, to the best of my knowledge, none of these tongue-cluckers has acknowledged the role that this very same coterie of media elites has played in glossing over McCain's opportunism and hypocrisy all these long years. The result is a series of pieces like Richard Cohen's this week in the Post [no link, no way, no how] sadly mourning the "tragic" fall of a "once-great" figure.
As you might expect, political cartoonists don't often get invited to partake in the booze and barbecue, so they've had less to risk by being a little more unvarnished from the get-go.
This is, in short, a not terribly McCain-friendly (or Palin-friendly) week in the Toon Report. The fact that our economy, or what's left of it, is perched on the edge of a knife is the main topic this week, of course. McCain's dishonesty, a not-unrelated topic, is in second place. Trailing a sad third, I'm sorry to report, is the largely-reactive Obama campaign.
(Surprisingly, it appears that no cartoonist paid notice to the definitive media event of last week.)
The welcomed-back-from-beyond Bob Geiger lists his favorites from this week, including more than one that also turns up in the p3 picks, below. Great minds think alike. Or--to frame the same principle in the negative--when everyone's interests coincide there's no need for a conspiracy.
In fact, let's interrupt the normal flow of things to award the p3 Legion of Honor to Tom Toles.
Moving on to Daryl Cagle's round-up, here are the p3 Picks of the Week: R. J. Matson, Mike Lane, Mike Keefe, John Darkow, Jimmy Margulies, Steve Sack, Dana Summers, David Horsey, and Daryl Cagle.
The p3 Award for Ugly Truth (with clusters) goes to Pat Bagley.
The p3 Citation for Funny, but Very Hard to Explain Why goes to Henry Payne.
p3 World Toon Review: Stephane Peray (Bangkok, Thailand), Olle Johansson (Sweden), and Antonio Neri Licon (Mexico City).
Ann Telnaes salutes the McCain campaign for its priorities.
Opus begs for shelter and, as is unfortunately sometimes the way with such things, gets it.
You must remember this: Portland homeboy Jack Ohman reminds us that the fundamental things apply as time goes by.
What's on your Liszt today? There was a time when every major animation studio's main character had to make his bones by covering Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody Number 2. Bugs Bunny did it for Warner Bros. Less well known, Woody Woodpecker did it for Universal. I'm pretty sure that Popeye even did it for Paramount somewhere back in the day, although I can't track it down. As far as I know, only Disney took a pass. There are those who insist that Bugs Bunny's version is the gold standard; others claim it's this 1946 Oscar-winner by Tom & Jerry for MGM. We report; you decide. (Why do mice love to interfere with performances of Liszt?)
p3 Bonus Toon: Oregon workers face the worst economy, and the worst unemployment market, in years. Jesse Springer thinks it will be quite a spectacle. (Click to enlarge.)