Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Monday, August 20, 2012
This cartoon is a good example of why I love editorial cartoons so much. Unlike animated cartoons or film, this cartoon requires the reader to use just the slightest bit of imagination to make the gag work. I think everyone of us will image Mitt Romney in his dorkiest voice saying "We sound great together." I don't think I could find an actor to deliver that line as perfectly as the reader will deliver it to themselves.
That's the beauty of comics. They guide us to the gag, but we have to put it all together and engage with the art for it to really work. No other form of popular entertainment requires so much cooperation between author and audience. The jokes are rewarding because you have to work for them.
To buy a print of this cartoon or download a digital copy, visit www.philhandscartoons.com
Sunday, August 19, 2012
I was happy to see Tommy Thompson make it through the Republican primary in the race for Herb Kohl's old Senate seat. But it's clear that Tommy did not win because the Wisconsin’s Republican Party has become more pragmatic and moderate. Tommy won because businessman, Eric Hovde and perennial candidate, Mark Neumann split the vote of the most conservative Republicans.
Over 60 percent of people who voted in the Republican primary voted for somebody besides Tommy. Tommy, one of the biggest names in Wisconsin politics since the 1990s and a one-time presidential candidate, eked out political newcomer Hovde by less than 20,000 votes.
So I'm not optimistic about the GOP in Wisconsin moderating anytime in the future. Should Tommy beat Democratic candidate, Tammy Baldwin in November, conservatives will claim it was his name-recognition, not his moderate disposition that led him to victory. Should Tommy lose, Republicans will only be more resolute to nominate "real" (meaning radical) conservatives in the future.
Friday, August 17, 2012
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Since being named as Mitt Romney's running mate, much has been made about Paul Ryan's plan to drastically alter the way Medicare works.
While I think his plan is flawed, it is much better than the Democrats' alternative which is to pretend there is no problem. Medicare is a major driver of our national debt, and must be reformed if we want to restore fiscal sanity to our nation, and preserve Medicare for future generations.
At the same time, most of the gains in spending cuts that Paul Ryan proposes in his budget are offset by tax cuts, many of them to the wealthiest Americans. Despite being hailed a budget guru, Ryan's plans are less about bringing spending in line with revenue, and more about a conservative ideology which wants to starve government and cut taxes.
He doesn’t propose any changes to Social Security, and refuses to cut any military spending. He says his tax cuts are offset by closing tax loopholes (something I wholeheartedly support), but won’t venture to say which specific beloved loopholes need to go.
Most economists would argue that we need both revenue increases and spending cuts from just about every area, including the military to balance the budget. But the budget is a medium term problem. Right now we are stuck in a period of slow growth, and cuts like Ryan proposes, could damage our fragile recovery. Many sensible economic thinkers believe we need another period of government spending (stimulus) to jump start the economy coupled with real plans to cut long term spending to control our deficit.
Of course, no Democrat in government has been brave enough to propose anything like this at the national level. They would rather just attack Ryan’s budget.
Ryan’s plan might be flawed right-wing ideology, but it’s better than nothing—which is precisely what the Democrats are offering.