Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sunday morning toons: Trump hasn't gone "off-message" – that is the message

Inviting Russian Intelligence to hack Hillary's email? Gold Star families? Joking about always having wanted a Purple Heart? Having mothers and their crying babies ejected from events? Those, as avant garde filmmakers used to say, are not mistakes; those are choices. (The bit about his wife possibly having violated immigration law when she first began working in the US as a model – that feels like a well-timed oppo research dump. The rest is Pure Trump.)

It's like an old Scholastic's riddle: Trump is so easily baited that he can't keep his mouth shut (or his thumbs off of Twitter) for even a full day at a time, and yet ever since he mocked John McCain's years at the Hanoi Hilton last winter, it's become clear that there's nothing he can say that will finally be too much for his base. So is there a point where the irresistable force of his yuge mouth finally meets the immovable object of some (so far theoretical) "at long last, sir, have you no decency?" boundary? I really don't know anymore.

One thing's for certain: He won't withdraw his name from the GOP ticket just because the party elites want him to. That's the way to make certain that he will never, ever quit.

I still think that, if he actually does bail before the election, it will be because he's somehow sensed he's about to lose. It's hard to believe him thinking that about himself, but it's also hard to tell how much of his bragging he actually believes. Instead, I stand by my prediction from early July: He'd claim that, simply by getting the nomination, he's made his point and accomplished what he set out to do and so there's no need to bother with the formality of a general election. And in fact, taking on the duties of the President of the United States would be a step down from simply being his awesome, classy self. (He said as much when he floated to Kasich the idea that, as VP, he could run the country while Trump focused on "making America great again.")

Or perhaps, as some observers claim, his insistence this week that the election is being "rigged" against him is simply Trump's way of covering his bets by mainstreaming a story that will make his loss in the general everyone's fault but his, which is the Broadway and 42nd Street of his comfort zone.

Of course, even in the wildly unlikely event that Trump were to drop out of the race, who would the Republican National Committee select to take his place on the ticket? One of the two dozen also-rans from this spring's GOP primaries, whose clock Trump so thoroughly cleaned? Mitt Romney? Ted "Last Candidate Standing" Cruz? Someone untested (and hence, unvetted)?

Today's toons were selected by the 168 members of the Republican National committee from the week's offerings at McClatchy DC, Cartoon Movement, Go Comics, Politico's Cartoon Gallery, Daryl Cagle's Political Cartoons,, and other fine sources of toony goodness.

p3 Best of Show: Matt Davies.

p3 Legion of Merit: Steve Breen.

p3 Award for Best Adaptation from Another Medium: Steve Benson.

p3 Certificate of Harmonic Toon Convergence (Part 1): Robert Ariail and Darrin Bell.

p3 Certificte of Harmonic Toon Convergence (Part 2): Kim Warp and Nate Beeler. (Honorable mention: Clay Bennett.)
*This piece by Mike Luckovich is also awarded the coveted Driftglass Legacy Award.

Ann Telnaes watches in awe as the Republicans stand by their man. You know what they say: Give a party enough necktie, and . . .

Mark Fiore promises that no animals were harmed in the making of this video about Trump's sacrifices – although be warned: the phrase "cleavage doesn't grow on trees, you know" does appear.

Tom Tomorrow identifies a recurrent (and quite persuasive) theme at the DNC – and also brings the first of an unlikely Bill O'Reilly trifecta of appearances in this week's p3 toon review.

Keith Knight serves up the second of three Bill O'Reilly-themed pieces this week (Matt Bors, below, is the third). BO really is a jerk, and it's never amiss to be reminded of it.

Although I vowed I wasn't going to go down the "Manchurian Candidate" road, Reuben Bolling does end up pretty much the same place I was headed, and he manages to make the Useful Idiot even more idiotic, which is no small achievement.

Carol Lay gives new life to "happily ever after."

Red Meat's Bug-Eyed Earl greets the day.

Although I like the art on a particular Jim Morin piece this week – I think he gives great elephant – Comic Strip of the Day does a more thorough job than I would have of explaining why idn't make the particular cut here at p3 although indirectly, of course, it did.

The Comic Curmudgeon brings up an interesting point: Ever since high school in the early 1960s, the output of Peter Parker's photojournalism "career" has consisted of selfies.

Vitaliky is Personaliky! I don't think I could find a better summary of "Vim, Vigor, and Vitaliky," directed in majestic monochrome by Dave Fleischer in 1936, than this log line from IMDB: "Popeye is running a women's gymnasium next door to Bluto's cabaret; seeing Popeye's greater success with women, he dresses in drag and challenges Popeye to various feats of strength," although that stops far short of capturing the essential weirdness of the piece. I thought it was weird when I was a kid, and I think so today. (Seven years later, Popeye got dressing-in-drag revenge on Bluto, in "Too Week to Work." If you're good, I'll dig it up for next week. Uncredited work by Jack Mercer (Popeye), Mae Questel (The Slender One), Gus Wickie (Bluto), and Sammy Timberg (musical director).

The Exalted Oregon Toon Block:

Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman watches as one of our nation's highest awards is bestowed.

Documented Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen has her moment of reckoning at the DNC.

Matt Bors celebrates a blessed birth.

Jesse Springer isn't in love with a corporate tax increase to protect Oregon's public retirement system.

Test your toon-captioning kung fu at The New Yorker's weekly caption-the-cartoon contest. (Rules here.) And you can browse The New Yorker's cartoon gallery here.

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