Let's do the Time Warp again!
Like George Herbert Walker Bush confronting a supermarket price scanner in the 1992 political legend, cartoonists live in a bubble of retarded time, only they're acutely aware of it. There's not much they can do about it. The panels they draw today, the dialog they letter today—none of it will appear until having been properly aged. The lag-time is built into the process of cartoon publication.
As the Los Angeles Times reports this morning, Garry Trudeau has cast caution to the winds and declared Barack Obama the winner in his Doonesbury strip for Wednesday, November 5, the day after the election. While comic-page editors at newspapers across the country scratch their heads as they decide whether to run the presumptuous strip, Trudeau is not wringing his hands over his reputation if he turns out to be wrong. As he told the press, “I'd be a lot more worried about the country than the strip.”
Naturally, the news media contacted the McCain campaign for a reaction. The Times published a snarky comment from McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds, who said, “We hope the strip proves to be as predictive as it is consistently lame.”
Are you laughing yet? Please recall that this is the campaign spokesperson for John McCain, the candidate who three weeks ago said in Virginia Beach, “We're six points down. The national media has written us off. Senator Obama is measuring the drapes.... My friends, we’ve got them just where we want them!” Apparently Bounds is merely reflecting the kind of logic that is pervasive in the McCain campaign. (But who, of course, could blame them? Much of the national media spun every incident as “good for McCain” during the first months of the election year.)
Let's gently parse the statement of Mr. Bounds. He said that the campaign would like the Doonesbury strip predicting Obama's victory to be as predictive as the strip has been “lame.” We can take it as read—can't we?—that Tucker and his buddies really regard Doonesbury as a lame comic strip. Therefore, by Tucker's own statement, lame = predictive. It predicts Obama. Oops!
Nice thinking there, Tucker!