For crap’s sakes– Ted Rall’s somewhat unique brand of craziness used to sometimes yield hilarity in its grotesqueness and exaggeration (he also has a strong and original graphic sense, somewhat stylistically indebted to the late Keith Haring), but he has always been way ahead of the curve in Obama Derangement Syndrome. An (unrepentant?) Edwards supporter, who can forget Mr Rall’s stirring denunciation of Mr Obama for liking The Godfather better than Repo Man back in 2008? Such are the arguments by which Politics is made great.
Mr Rall’s bitterness seems unbounded; Being about the same age as Mr Obama, Mr Rall attended the same school as Mr Obama (Columbia University), at about the same time. Mr Rall was asked to leave Columbia for some reason or another (although he returned to graduate some years later, in a different program), while Mr Obama graduated, and then received a higher degree from Harvard Law School. Mr Obama has done well for himself as a politician and professor, while Mr Rall has drawn some funny cartoons and written some travel books, while moving through a series of failed ventures (radio host, syndicated columnist) that center around his political theorizing. Somehow, that Mr Obama has gone on to become President of the United States, while Mr Rall has not, seems to grind at Mr Rall’s psyche in a very unpleasant way, producing some very unpleasant results.
And now, Swastikas? As disappointed as every Reasonable Person (i.e. those poised precisely on the point on the political spectrum occupied by Citizen Dilaceratus) correctly is at Mr Obama’s actions (and inactions) in, particularly, the areas of Constitutional and International Law that were supposed to be his specialty, it is a drastic and offensive stretch to start branding people with Nazi Swastikas. It was vile when a few rabble did it to Mr Bush, it is vile when Tea Party knotheads do it to Obama, and it is vile and stupid when Ted Rall does it now.
While Mr Rall has made the best of a dying career choice by courting controversy, short of a call by Mr Obama for the mass extermination of some particular ethnic group, Nazi imagery is the last step before you’re out there holding a misspelled piece of posterboard with a racial epithet on it. It is the work of an unstable whacko.
Unfortunately, whackos sometimes produce great Art, but they have yet to produce good Political Cartooning. When Philip Roth mercilessly attacked Richard Nixon in Our Gang, or Joseph Heller reveled in Henry Kissinger kneeling to pray with Nixon in Good as Gold, their viciousness was cruel and uncompromising, but it was accurate. In his blind rage, Ted Rall can’t even hit as easy and as juicy a target as Barack Obama.