Sometimes a cartoonist has to be careful that he may love the drawing so much that the idea isn’t actually very good. I had to ask myself that tonight as I love drawing Richard Nixon. I don’t get many opportunities because, you know, he’s dead.
My very first convention for political cartoonists took place in Memphis in 1992. I was just a puppy back then and one of the old dogs, Draper Hill, drew a little sketch of Nixon for me in a book and he wrote something about how it’s too bad I’d never get to cover the likes of him again. It had been thirty years and Draper still had not gotten over Richard Nixon. I wonder if 30 years from now, if I’m still around, I’ll be that old dog (OK, a very much older dog than I am now) who still hasn’t gotten over Donald Trump.
Nixon was such a huge disaster for this nation that every scandal is compared to him. Every crisis has the word “gate” tagged to it from Nixon’s scandal. It turns out the one scandal that everyone has to measure up to, Watergate, may not be Nixon’s most egregious crime against a Constitution and a nation he swore to uphold and protect. Richard Nixon committed treason. Dicky was Tricky.
Nixon attempted to halt the 1968 peace talks during the war in Vietnam. He did this as a candidate so he could further weaken his Democratic opponent. It sounds very similar to our current president-elect who’s asking us to stop questioning hacking by Russia, and if we can just move on.
I’ve had a lot of scandals to cover since I started my professional cartooning career in 1990. I had George W. Bush and Desert Storm. I had Clinton’s sex scandals and impeachment. I had Newt Gingrich’s Republican revolution. I had the Florida hanging chad crisis and the Supreme Court handing the presidency off to George W. Bush. I had 9/11, the second Iraq war and the other war in Afghanistan. I got Obama and his racist critics freaking out that we elected a black guy.
Now I have Donald Trump who I boldly predict will have the most corrupt administration in American history. The one fortunate thing in all this is that Trump has good timing as right now I think I’m getting pretty good at this cartoon stuff.
Herblock, Paul Conrad, and Patrick Oliphant are my cartooning heroes. They had Richard Nixon who was a direct threat to the country. The threat I have has the potential to be even more destructive. I understand Draper not being over Nixon 30 years later. I’m still pissed off about the second Bush administration. Right now I think W. would be a pleasure cruise over where Trump’s going to take us.
I really didn’t want to do another cartoon related to Trump today but….damn…Richard Nixon.
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