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Monday, August 1, 2022

OPINION:

July 20 marked a year and a half into the Biden administration, but you’d never know that from Garry Trudeau, the liberal hack political cartoonist behind the long-running, but highly overrated “Doonesbury” comic strip.

Though former President Donald Trump has been out of the White House now for more than 18 months, he apparently still lives rent-free in the head of Mr. Trudeau, who clearly suffers from Trump Derangement Syndrome.


Mr. Trudeau — whose Sunday-only “Doonesbury” cartoon strips still lead the color comics section of the Trump-hating Washington Post — continues to savage the 45th president regularly.

But not once in the 78 Sundays since Jan. 20, 2021, has he ridiculed anything President Biden has said or done, despite Sleepy Joe’s countless verbal gaffes, word salads and abject policy failures so richly deserving of lampooning.

The nasty personal attacks leveled throughout the Trump presidency have continued since “the former guy” — as Mr. Trudeau now calls him — left office on Jan. 20, 2021.

Feb. 21, 2021: “Trump was the only candidate ever endorsed by the Taliban, the highly respected terrorist group.” (That “endorsement” was surely meant to hurt Mr. Trump rather than help him, as Mr. Trump was far tougher on the Taliban than Mr. Biden, whose precipitous withdrawal from Afghanistan gifted them with $80 billion in U.S. military armaments. Mr. Trump never would have allowed that to happen.)

Feb. 28, 2021: A recurring character, a career scam artist named Duke, laments that Mr. Trump had passed him over as an adviser in favor of the deposed dictator of the fictional Berzerkistan, “[a] dictator who had rivals shot. Someone he [Trump] could look up to.”

March 7, 2021: “I wonder if authoritarians ever learn their lesson?” Mr. Trudeau muses after Trump’s second unwarranted impeachment. Accompanying it is an illustration of a New York Times article about Adolf Hitler’s release from a German prison in December 1924 with the headline: “Hitler tamed by prison.”

April 11, 2021: Two characters are discussing Shakespearean lines as they supposedly relate to Mr. Trump, though without mentioning him by name: “A most notable coward!” “An infinite and endless liar!” “An hourly promise-breaker!”

At that point, someone else chimes in: “He’s off Twitter. He’s gone! Why is everyone still obsessing over the former guy?” Mr. Trudeau might want to ask himself that.

Sept. 19, 2021: “Doonesbury” returned to the COVID-19 theme with “your favorite still-president” supposedly suing for vaccine royalties (untrue) and perpetuating the falsehood spread by the mainstream media that Mr. Trump had advocated testing injections of bleach as a treatment. That was taken totally out of context, as any honest reading of Mr. Trump’s admittedly rambling April 23, 2020, musing on the subject would show.

Feb. 6 and 13, 2022: “At the state funeral for the 45th president,” it’s suggested that no one would attend “except out of curiosity.” That’s ludicrous on its face, based on the tens of thousands who typically show up for Mr. Trump’s arena-sized rallies. Also, disheveled “MAGA mourners” are depicted shouting “Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!”

May 1, 2022: A TV news report explains that Russian President Vladimir Putin justifies his invasion of Ukraine “with relentless propaganda,” specifically that it was necessary to purge the country of Nazis. It then cuts away to a man with a red MAGA cap and a woman with a Q (for QAnon) T-shirt watching Mr. Trump repeating his claim that he won the 2020 election. In a cheap shot, the man says, “It’s Nazis. Nazis stole it,” to which the woman replies: “Wait, aren’t they on our side?”

June 6, 2022: The aforementioned ex-dictator of Berzerkistan, talking to an ambulance-chasing lawyer in an emergency room, offers him a job working for “the current president of the United States.” Lawyer: “You work for Trump?” Ex-dictator: “You’re hired.” (Never mind that slip-and-fall tort lawyers overwhelmingly support Democrats.)

There were other examples, but those were the most intellectually dishonest and mean-spirited.

In the May 30, 2021, “Doonesbury” strip, the storyline of which otherwise had nothing to do with him, Mr. Trudeau also took a gratuitous shot at Donald Trump Jr.

That brings us back to Mr. Biden, because the cartoonist hasn’t written (or drawn) a single word about first son Hunter Biden, whose corrupt multimillion-dollar business dealings around the globe and whose well-publicized drug use and repeated dalliances with hookers are surely editorial cartoon fodder. They certainly would be if it were either of Mr. Trump’s sons — and rightly so.

“Doonesbury” also has not savaged Mr. Biden for any aspect of his omnishambles administration — the highest-ever gas prices, a 40-year-high rate of inflation, open-borders illegal immigration, soaring violent crime rates and homelessness in our cities, its war on (real) women in favor of transgender ideology, or anything else.

Nor have any of the innumerable verbal miscues of the president’s in-over-her-head vice president, Kamala Harris, been the target of Mr. Trudeau’s acerbic pen.

The fact is, “Doonesbury” hasn’t been funny for years. The 52-year-old cartoon long ago jumped the shark.

Gary Larson, creator of “The Far Side,” and Bill Watterson, the artist behind “Calvin and Hobbes,” prematurely retired those comic strips (both of them far funnier than “Doonesbury” ever was) and did so at the height of their popularity.

If Mr. Trudeau weren’t such a left-wing political hack, he would have hung up his poison pen long ago.

• Peter Parisi is a former editor of The Washington Times.


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