Cartoonists draw a blank on Obama

January 27th, 2009 - 2:47 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama

Washington, Jan.27 (ANI): After poking fun at George W. Bush for eight years, political cartoonists are finding Barack Obama a more elusive target.
Bush’’s emotive facial expressions, easy-to-caricature physical features and, most of, all his deeply unpopular political decisions were fodder for liberal-leaning cartoonists. But the cool and detached Obama enters the White House at a time of considerable economic anxiety, bolstered by wishes of goodwill even from some political opponents.
“I had all my villains in place for eight years and they”ve been taken away,” lamented Pulitzer Prize winner Pat Oliphant, one of the most widely syndicated cartoonists.
Politico quoted Oliphant as saying: “I don”t know that I”ve ever had this experience before, of a president I maybe like. This is an antagonistic art. We”re supposed to concentrate on finding things wrong. There’’s no point in drawing a cartoon that’’s favorable.”
Amid a worsening recession, there is the question of what appetite exists for ridiculing a chief executive seen as earnestly trying to guide the country toward recovery. Racial sensitivities also are an issue, as reflected in last summer’’s uproar over the New Yorker cover of the Democratic candidate giving his wife depicted as a gun-toting, Angela Davis look-alike a fist jab in the Oval Office.
Editorial cartoonists are feeling their way through the uncharted territory, slowly drawing a bead on satire that will singe but not burn.
“It always takes a while to get a handle on new administrations, getting to know the players and working on developing effective caricatures,” said Ann Telnaes, who draws the animated cartoons for Washington Post online and won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize.
Professional drawers suggest that Obama may prove an inviting target once ensconced in the White House, though for reasons distinct from his predecessor.
Signe Wilkinson, editorial cartoonist at the Philadelphia Daily News, said Obama’’s penchant for attracting academic eggheads and over-achieving intellectuals will be one way to poke fun at the new president. (ANI)

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