SYNDICATED COLUMN: Rise of the Obamabots

Stifling Liberal Dissent Under Obama

After they called the presidency for Obama, emails poured in. “You must be relieved now that the Democrats are taking over,” an old college buddy told me. “There will be less pressure on you.”

That would have been nice.

In the late 1990s my cartoons ran in Time, Fortune and Bloomberg Personal magazines and over 100 daily and alternative weekly newspapers. I was a staff writer for two major magazines.

Then Bush came in. And 9/11 happened.

The media gorged on an orgy of psychotic right-wing rhetoric. Flags everywhere. Torture suddenly OK. In a nation where mainstream political discourse was redefined between Dick Cheney on the right and libertarian Bill Maher on the not-as-right, there wasn’t any room in the paper for a left-of-center cartoonist. My business was savaged. Income plunged.

My editor at Time called me on September 13, 2001. “We’re discontinuing all cartoons,” she told me. I was one of four cartoonists at the newsweekly. “Humor is dead.” I snorted. They never brought back cartoons.

McCarthyism—blackballing—made a big comeback. I had been drawing a monthly comic strip, “The Testosterone Diaries,” for Men’s Health. No politics. It was about guy stuff: dating, job insecurity, prostate tests, that sort of thing. They fired me. Not because of anything I drew for them. It was because of my syndicated editorial cartoons, which attacked Bush and his policies. The publisher worried about pissing off right-wingers during a period of nationalism on steroids.

Desperate and going broke, I called an editor who’d given me lots of work at the magazines he ran during the 1990s. “Sorry, dude, I can’t help,” he replied. “You’re radioactive.”

It was tempting, when Obama’s Democrats swept into office in 2008, to think that the bad old days were coming to an end. I wasn’t looking for any favors, just a swing of the political pendulum back to the Clinton years when it was still OK to be a liberal.

This, you have no doubt correctly guessed, is the part where I tell you I was wrong.

I didn’t count on the cult of personality around Barack Obama.

In the 1990s it was OK to attack Clinton from the left. I went after the Man From Hope and his centrist, “triangulation”-obsessed Democratic Leadership Council for selling out progressive principles. Along with like-minded political cartoonists including Tom Tomorrow and Lloyd Dangle, my cartoons and columns took Clinton’s militant moderates to the woodshed for NAFTA, the WTO and welfare reform. A pal who worked in the White House informed me that the President, known for his short temper, stormed into his office and slammed a copy of that morning’s Washington Post down on the desk with my cartoon showing. “How dare your friend compare me to Bush?” he shouted. (The first Bush.)

It was better than winning a Pulitzer.

It feels a little weird to write this, like I’m telling tales out of school and ratting out the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy. But it’s true: there’s less room for a leftie during the Age of Obama than there was under Bush.

I didn’t realize how besotted progressives were by Mr. Hopey Changey.

Obama lost me before Inauguration Day, when he announced cabinet appointments that didn’t include a single liberal.

It got worse after that: Obama extended and expanded Bush’s TARP giveaway to the banks; continued Bush’s spying on our phone calls; ignored the foreclosure crisis; refused to investigate, much less prosecute, Bush’s torturers; his healthcare plan was a sellout to Big Pharma; he kept Gitmo open; expanded the war against Afghanistan; dispatched more drone bombers; used weasel words to redefine the troops in Iraq as “non-combat”; extended the Bush tax cuts for the rich; claiming the right to assassinate U.S. citizens; most recently, there was the forced nudity torture of PFC Bradley Manning and expanding oil drilling offshore and on national lands.

I was merciless to Obama. I was cruel in my criticisms of Obama’s sellouts to the right. In my writings and drawings I tried to tell it as it was, or anyway, as I saw it. I thought—still think—that’s my job. I’m a critic, not a suck-up. The Obama Administration doesn’t need journalists or pundits to carry its water. That’s what press secretaries and PR flacks are for.

Does Obama ever do anything right? Not often, but sure. And when he does, I shut up about it. Cartoonists and columnists who promote government policy are an embarrassment.

But that’s what “liberal” media outlets want in the age of Obama.

I can’t prove it in every case. (That’s how blackballing works.) The Nation and Mother Jones and Harper’s, liberal magazines that gave me freelance work under Clinton and Bush, now ignore my queries. Even when I offered them first-person, unembedded war reporting from Afghanistan. Hey, maybe they’re too busy to answer email or voicemail. You never know.

Other censors are brazen.

There’s been a push among political cartoonists to get our work into the big editorial blogs and online magazines that seem poised to displace traditional print political magazines like The Progressive. In the past, editorial rejections had numerous causes: low budgets, lack of space, an editor who simply preferred another creator’s work over yours.

Now there’ s a new cause for refusal: Too tough on the president.

I’ve heard that from enough “liberal” websites and print publications to consider it a significant trend.

A sample of recent rejections, each from editors at different left-of-center media outlets:

• “I am familiar with and enjoy your cartoons. However the readers of our site would not be comfortable with your (admittedly on point) criticism of Obama.”

• “Don’t be such a hater on O and we could use your stuff. Can’t you focus more on the GOP?”

• “Our first African-American president deserves a chance to clean up Bush’s mess without being attacked by us.”

I have many more like that.

What’s weird is that these cultish attitudes come from editors and publishers whose politics line up neatly with mine. They oppose the bailouts. They want us out of Afghanistan and Iraq. They disapprove of Obama’s new war against Libya. They want Obama to renounce torture and Guantánamo.

Obama is the one they ought to be blackballing. He has been a terrible disappointment to the American left. He has forsaken liberals at every turn. Yet they continue to stand by him. Which means that, in effect, they are not liberals at all. They are militant Democrats. They are Obamabots.

As long as Democrats win elections, they are happy. Nevermind that their policies are the same as, or to the right of, the Republicans.

“So what should I think about [the war in Libya]?,” asks Kevin Drum in Mother Jones. “If it had been my call, I wouldn’t have gone into Libya. But the reason I voted for Obama in 2008 is because I trust his judgment. And not in any merely abstract way, either: I mean that if he and I were in a room and disagreed about some issue on which I had any doubt at all, I’d literally trust his judgment over my own. I think he’s smarter than me, better informed, better able to understand the consequences of his actions, and more farsighted.”

Mr. Drum, call your office. Someone found your brain in the break room.

Barack Obama and the Democrats have made it perfectly clear that they don’t care about the issues and concerns that I care about. Unlike Kevin Drum, I think—I know—I’m smarter than Barack Obama. I wouldn’t have made half the mistakes he has.

So I don’t care about Obama. Or the Democrats. I care about America and the world and the people who live in them.

Hey, Obamabots: when the man you support betrays your principles, he has to go—not your principles.

(Ted Rall is the author of “The Anti-American Manifesto.” His website is



  • They stand by him because all not doing so does is enable people who are much worse to be elected. You yourself admit it is essentially a two party system. (And yes, I’ve read your book- it’s an entertaining fairy tale, but would never work in the real world).

    Refusing to give Obama and the Democrats credit for the things they’ve done right makes you seem shrewish and one-sided. No wonder leftist media wont publish your stuff. Why should they publish someone whose essentially doing the Republican’s work for them?

    Try Redstate. I’m sure they’d be more than happy to run Obama and Democratic bashing cartoons.

  • What I’ve noticed in American history is that when some oppresive group calls the shots, the only way to restore the “norm” is to form a counter group or the oppressive group lasts until all it’s members die of old age. Thus we need a “Fuck the War on Terror Paranoia” group or this shit will drag on until 2060.

    I’m sorry that they treated you so poorly, Ted.

  • Didn’t vote for him, as I saw this coming from a mile away. If it walks and talks like a used car salesman…

    I’ve taken to typing in “none of the above” more often when election time rolls around. Some say I’m wasting my vote or working against my self-interest, to which I reply, “more so than you are?”

  • spiffypants
    May 17, 2011 1:08 AM

    Wow, I am surprised only one Obamabot has commented so far.

  • You know, I agree with a lot of your politics, and your criticisms of Obama, but even in the height of the Bush years it always felt to me like your work had a tone to it that seemed to cross way over the line from thinking Bush was an idiot to pure personal hatred. I had virtually nothing good to say about the guy and your cartoons made me uncomfortable because they were harsh in a way that I didn’t think reflected well on our side of the national argument.

    I say this because there’s a very good possibility that it’s more than just the politics that might be driving people away. When you cross over the line from attacking policy to attacking the person, you risk driving away even sympathetic readers.

  • The problem with your theory, Azotic, is that I haven’t changed. I had the same exact tone in my criticisms of Clinton but no one had a problem with them.

    Bush began, and Obama escalated, an imperial presidency that Nixon only dreamed of. I know the US isn’t a real democracy, but the way Americans defer to their president resembles nothing more than the dozens of countries with tinpot dictators.

    I will reiterate: it’s not my job to have “anything good to say” about the president or anything else. I’m a critic. I criticize. That’s what pundits are supposed to do.

    If you want to read good things about a politician, read their propaganda.

  • Finally–a voice of truth. Liberals are a strange breed–they really have no principals, but they like to think they stand for something. The minute one puts them to the test, however, they fail miserably. Why are Obama’s war crimes OK, but not G.W.’s? Why can Obama get away with Gitmo, torturing Manning, assassinating bin Laden, and killing Afghans with drones? If Liberals had any principals, these crimes would be repugnant no matter who committed them. Two myths expressed in the comments are really getting old–and transparent: the lesser of two evils argument, and the don’t criticize the Democratic president. Neither have worked out for the American people–time to dump them, get real ideas, and change the system. Unfortunately, Liberals are against change and are all about the status quo–as long as their guy is in the WH they’ll keep eating their principals.

  • I’m sure I would not be interested in a political critic who pulled their punches, keep up the good work Ted! I don’t know how I’ll vote in the next election, but, as a liberal, I believe Obama and the Democrats have spit on their base (the “fucking retarded” and “fuck the unions” comments, the deceptive faux-support for the public option come to mind, along with many other examples) and are unworthy of a second vote. They may still get my vote, because the other side is only offering up vampires running on a platform of sucking my blood, but it won’t be for any reason other than I don’t want to die of a vampire bite.

  • Suggestion: quit reading idiots like Greenwald, Sirota and Hamsher and you’ll be a lot less deluded about the “Obama Cult.” Do you realize how denigrating, now insulting it is of you to call those of us who actually believe that Obama is a pretty damn good liberal is right more often than a bevy of bloggers cultists? Has it ever occurred to you that, perhaps, our arguments may have merits.

    There isn’t a single issue above that hasn’t been addressed by a lefty blogger who is demonstrably not in the tank for Obama. Every single one has been written to death. And yet this tiny cabal of contrarians keep ignoring simple facts (you wanna close Gitmo, you’re going to have to influence Congress, unless you actually want to expand that imperial presidency you were just saying you’re ever so against).

    And again you, like other “pundits” bring up the problem with your profession: your job is to criticiste, not say good things. But you are an activist. But you don’t organize people. But you want to be like a journalist. And have no accountability when you’re wrong on the facts.

    It’s shitty, it’s easy, and it’s dishonest.

    So on behalf of quite of few “cultists” who read your blog this morning let me just say that I’m going to go work for OFA twice as hard because you idiots want to hand this country over to the fascist right. Again. Which got us into this mess that you’re so pissed Obama can’t magically fix in two years.

    And you sir, you can go f*ck yourself with a rusty robotic owl.

  • nom du jour
    May 17, 2011 10:32 AM

    I thought that all content on the Internet was free and that AOL wouldn’t pay anyone for anything.

    People should have real jobs and only supply creative output to the web for free because it is a groovy and wild place where information just wants to be FREEEEEEEEEE.

    Or so I have been told.

  • Oh my God, I find that I am agreeing with a liberal. What the H— are we doing in Libya? In fact what the H— are we doing in Germany, England, Japan, S. Korea, Spain and etc & etc & etc. Why has this liberal president joined with the banks, insurance companies, motor companies et. al. to use our tax dollars to bail out losers?

  • UrbanGuerilla
    May 17, 2011 11:18 AM

    I agree with Ted. What people often fail to understand, is that doing political cartoons is like doing political journalism. If you don’t stay above blind partisan loyalty, you lose your edge and more importantly – you lose relevance. Good political cartoons are sharp and unrelenting and good satire is brutally honest lest it be toothless. So kudos to you Ted, for not caving in and for not compromising your art.

  • BTW, keep calling us Obamabots and see how much support the MILLIONS of us give your issues after he’s gone. Professional left may be the most tone (and race) deaf group of liberals in America.

  • There isn’t a single issue above that hasn’t been addressed by a lefty blogger who is demonstrably not in the tank for Obama. Every single one has been written to death. And yet this tiny cabal of contrarians keep ignoring simple facts (you wanna close Gitmo, you’re going to have to influence Congress, unless you actually want to expand that imperial presidency you were just saying you’re ever so against).

    This simply isn’t true.

    Obama could close Gitmo with an executive order.

    He doesn’t do it because he either lacks the political will, or likes what’s going on there.

    Sorry…but those are the cold facts. Obama is a torturer.

  • You often talk like a revolutionary, but you’re so engaged in conventional politics and policy questions like wars, gitmo, torture, etc. that you resemble a patriot more than a radical. You’re still trying to educate, inform, press the politicians. It’s kind of a top-down mentality; you’re still trying to change THEM. I told you when you were in Seattle, change can be much easier. Just mooch. Stop playing the game. Get your expenses down, and float like a jellyfish. If they were actually persecuting YOU, that’s different. You fight. What needs to happen, is the aggrieved party needs to stand up and do their own fighting. But I will not fight over money.

  • Hey O-bots here is the policy record of your hero, these is nother “lesser; about his evil, he is just Bush term III + gutting the peace movement making him in many ways worse than even war criminal Bush:

    1. The escalated wars even compared to overt war criminal Bush?

    2. The continuation of the abrogation of Habeas Corpus just like Bush?

    3. The continuation of military tribunals just like Bush:

    4. The continuation of rendition to countries that torture just like Bush:

    5. The continuation of a prison camp that tortures in gross violation of the Geneva conventions just like Bush:,1518,650324,00.html

    6. Continuation of of Bush’s TARP program to transfer money from the poor and middle class to unaccountable banksters rather than helping the mainly African American victims of sub prime loans?

    7. The appointment of industry insiders in the industry that supported Obama in the Campaign shades of Cheney and Halliburton:

    8. Obama’s support for “clean coal,” nuclear power and the first offshore oil drilling in 20 years which was only halted with a moratorium after the disastrous Gulf oil spill, update deepwater drilling resumed:

    9. Obama’s crushing of government whistleblowers of U.S. War crimes and other government malfesance like wikileaks:

    10. Assassination orders against American Citizens overseas:

    11. Support for expanding Bush’s Unconsitutional surveillance of American citizens:

    12. Health insurance reform that is a giveway of a trillion taxpayer dollars to the big insurance companies that broke the system in the first place with no price caps:

    13. FBI raids on antiwar activists:

    14. Vastly expanded TSA mandate that violates the 4th amendment.

    15. Cave on fighting for progressive tax cut

    16. Make illegal indefinite detention of prisoners of wars peranent after lying about closing down Guantanamo:

    17. Cave on net neutrality after promising to fight for it:

    18. Broken promise to walk with strikers in “comfortable shoes:”

    19. Unconstitutional war of aggression not cleared with Congress as required by Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution, on the side of Al Queda affiliated “rebels”

    See also:

  • Oh and 20 extra judicial assassination of Osama Bin Laden, that now has *you* chanting USA, USA, USA with gleeful bloodlust just like the Bush and Palin groupies. 🙁 x 10000

  • This Obama tactic is a replay of the Clinton tactic. The right wing makes makes ad hominem attacks on the right of center Democrat. The Clinton supporters then rallied behind their leader without regard to the policies he supported that served corporate interests at the expense of the public interest. It is very difficult to be simultaneously passionately for and against a public figure such as Obama, or Clinton, on separate issues. Emotions will effectively swamp out reason in actions on one issue or another.

    While the Punch and Judy puppet show diverted attention from the public interest, repeal of the Glass–Steagall Act and Nafta by Clinton sealed the fate of the cognitively captive public.

    I am happy that his skin color did not prevent Obama’s election. I am very unhappy that he brought nothing to the office that could not have been brought by a white conservative candidate.

  • Spacious Specious
    May 17, 2011 2:00 PM

    It became apparent to me, during the reign of Bush II, that good Republicans never criticize a Republican president during wartime. Even during a war that seems concocted specifically to take advantage of this particular weakness.

    It doesn’t surprise me to see Democrats slipping into authoritarianism. While Democrats and Republicans are not truly identical parties, they frequently imitate each other in their identical struggle to further liberalize markets.

    It’s sad, because the ability to weather criticism, to regard it as part of the process rather than treason, was the one thing that made Democrats seem more intellectually rigorous than Republicans.

  • I prefer to call them Obamanogs, but then I’m a child of the 70s.

  • Democracy drowns in an ocean of money.

    When the ocean of money is the environment of politics all players will eventually morph into the shape of a big fish. This occurs as surely as a whale navigates its environment the same way as a tuna. Evolution assures this will be so by eliminating those who don’t adapt.

    Only a change in this environment will allow new politics. Unfortunately, the old money politics has no reason to change this environment and thereby ensure their own extinction: the plutocracy would flop about as helplessly as any animal with fish morphology will if removed to the dry land of democracy.

  • I was just talking about the tactics of the Obamabots this morning on Facebook, and here it is, I see a couple of examples the same day. Since I also think of myself as smarter than Obama, I’ll happily quote myself (with a few additional notes to fill in the background)

    OK, we can agree the military budget won’t be cut by 50% [what my candidate, Ralph Nader proposed] or 90% [what I said I would have campaigned on] or 100% [as my debate opponent said he would do in the lalaland he mistakenly believes I live in]. Fine. But what is the political downside of banning land mines? My candidate would have done it by now, but Obama continues to waffle: My candidate would have stopped killing children with drone attacks, but the Nobel Laureate “shows no hesitation” in maintaining – escalating – the barbaric practice. The main arguments for him are of the “he so smart, he rearranges deck chairs like nobody else” or “we need to vote for him to keep the really bad guys out of office.” Which reminds me more than a little of “you got a real nice little shop here, I’d hate to see anything happen to it. If we don’t fund terrorists in Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega will be marching on Washington. Its only a matter of time before Saddam takes the fight to our homeland if we don’t stop him now. We have to fund terrorists in Afghanistan to break down the Soviet Union. It’s an imperfect world, we have to resort to imperfect means to get results we don’t like.” And so on. Well, I say, keep hope alive! Don’t let the terrorists win… don’t be terrorized into voting for the evil of two lessers. Vote outside of the box. I’d rather vote for what I want and not get it, than vote for what I don’t want, and get it.

  • 1. It is a valid argument that ‘I must vote for Obama, since the alternative is far, far worse.’ Not necessarily correct, but valid, since it has no internal inconsistencies. After all, Bush, Jr. did not help America by killing women and children in Iraq and Afghanistan because he left the future terrorists alive in Pakistan and the Yemen, a serious mistake being corrected by Obama. The extreme left take this as proof of an old Rall cartoon that the US Constitution requires that each president be worse than his predecessor.

    2. It is also valid to say, ‘I will never vote for a bad candidate, even if that means a worse candidate will win the election.’ But it’s not clear how useful this attitude will prove to be.

    Neither of which represents the majority of American voters, who believe:

    1) The President represents the will of the people. Any criticism of the president is criticism of the American people who worked hard and sacrificed everything to make the US the greatest, fairest, best nation that has ever existed on the face of the earth.

    2) To say that the US should stop squandering money on wars is to say you want to leave defenceless those brave, brave soldiers who are stopping the implacable Pakistani, Afghani, Iraqi, and Yemenis from killing you in your bed with their IEDs. All those who do not fully support all the US military efforts are saying they support killing all the US troops, and are clearly traitors under the Constitution.


    Unfortunately, I have no answers, only observations and questions.

  • As usual, the hatred that’s been commented on here and your desire to do nothing but bash Obama and the Democrats have blinded you to the truth:

    Obama did close Gitmo with an executive order. Congress refused to provide the funding for it.

    Those are the cold facts; which you ignore because they do not fit your agenda.

    You used to be a respectable voice for liberal and progressive ideas. Then you let your hatred blind you, and now, frankly, you’re just a kook.

    Go back to being balanced and you might be worth publishing in lefty media again. Continue be completely and utterly one-sided and biased, and blind to the facts and you wont be (though if money is your conern, the right wing media should start eating your cartoons up).

    It really is just that simple.

  • Y’know, Ted… you’ve ticked me off royally quite a bit over the years, but I’ve always supported your right to spew. So when I read the part in your article about how the uber-lefty “Mother Jones” (of all the frickin’ magazines in the world!) is shunning your stuff, as a fellow cartoonist, I just have to feel your pain.

    The problem with extremists on either side is that if a supposedly like-minded political zealot strays from the accepted political narrative du jour, the “fallen angel” is first marginalized, and then shunned. And if they still somehow manage to stay visible and make unacceptable political noise, they are ultimately attacked.

    What I’ve always found so hypocritical about hard-core lefties is while they act like they own the freedom-of-speech defense arena, many who are popular culture and news gatekeepers employ repressive filtering tactics. And while not as violent and overt as those historically used by the likes of Hitler or Stalin, such tactics still have the same net result: A chilling effect on free speech.

  • I understand what you are saying. The only comforting words I can give are that the DLC will never find another candidate like President Obama, someone with his charisma. But I also have to say that since Nader in 2000, the Democrats have made anyone to the Left into a scapegoat. When Nader was running, they trotted out people who we thought were liberals to condemn this man, whose views they supposedly shared. Hopefully in the future the pendulum will swing in a more Left direction.

  • Ted, sounds to me like everyone in your life ‘oppresses’ you. Are you kind of a victim? Maybe a closet Republican? I would suggest the purchase of a full length mirror…………………………it might help your view of the world and your toxic writing.

  • I think most of the problems of the left being too protective of Obama, stems from the longstanding issue of the lesser evil. Obama, in spite of all of his flaws, is still better than the c*nt Michelle Bachman and her longing to arrest and imprison Democratic Senators/House members for “unamerican activities”, anti-poor zealots like Paul Ryan and Scott Walker who want to wipe out the middle class and force the poor to starve to death while the rich get richer off their suffering, and the usual gang of homophobes that use countries like Uganda as a laboratory to one day spring a horrific form of christian fascism where they can arrest every single gay person in America and execute them for being gay. Better him than someone far worse.

    But I wish Rall would take responsibility for his own blacklisting. I stopped reading the fucker after the series of cartoons he did bashing Pat Tillman, cartoons that showed that Rall knew NOTHING about the man and was shoving an ignorant hatred for a guy that made liberals who KNEW who Pat Tillman was and what he stood for, want to bash in Rall’s skull with a sledgehammer for such vile assholism. If Rall wants to know why his so-called liberal friends have blacklisted him, maybe he should look at stuff like his lack of basic fact-checking on the life of Pat Tillman and see why he’s persona non-grata among the left.

  • In a nation where mainstream political discourse was redefined between Dick Cheney on the right and libertarian Bill Maher on the not-as-right

    It’s ok for you to try to pass your socialist ideology as “liberalism”, but Maher is anything but libertarian, no matter how much he stands for the legalization of pot (and only pot, if I’m not mistaken).

  • I’ve been reading Ted since the 90s and as far as I can tell his politics haven’t changed one bit. No one called him a ‘radical socialist’ back then. But mainstream political discourse has been moved so far to the right that he seems like a radical socialist to everyone (especially ‘liberals’) who have followed the DNC Democrats ‘right’ along. Anyone who has managed to stand their ground on their liberal/left principles finds themselves in the same boat as Ted–watching on agape and bewildered at the imperialist, corporatist, pro-torture 21st century liberal class.

  • You sound bitter… I hope you can let go of the hate and embrace true liberalism… LOL..

    Seriously though.. I agree with you. There’s something to be said about our current campfire kumbaya-esque climate of apologists that represent our news/print media. It’s as if the pendulum of political climate is still on the side of conservatism, and hasn’t quite made it back to even a moderate’s position.
    The problem we have is two-fold: poisonous polarizing figures like Pelosi, embarrassing the left’s intellectual integrity, coupled with the moderate left’s complicity to maintain the status quo in an effort to salvage their career. On top of which we have a doddering president, trying to follow the course of Lincoln, instead of blazing his own trail. He has the ability to do great things, but has followed one misstep with another.
    Obama’s presidency confirms the death of the two party system, and the rise of a corporate oligarchy. When corporations set the tone for national policy we, as a nation, are in serious trouble.
    Keep up the good work.

  • It’s an amusing conceit that people are judging Obama harshly on the basis of some sort of formula they worked out before hand, rather than on his actual record. If you knew me, you’d know that I gave him a chance. He lost my support in the first hundred days. Then he merely squandered opportunities (though to the millions of dollars and hours people put into getting him elected, “merely” is probably not the right word). But now that he’s actively acting like the criminal Bush, building on and expanding his legacy, criticizing him is the only patriotic thing to do. If the president represents the will of the people, I demand he step down right now. I am the people as much as anybody else, and his refusal to obey me demonstrates that he is NOT obeying the will of the people. In fact, he’s acting like an emperor. I am for the troops. I am for bringing them home. Anybody who wants to keep them in harms way in these manifestly illegal actions is a traitor, I am a patriot. I don’t think there’s much use in trying to explain this though, but I want to continue to exercise my free speech before Obama decides that I’m a terrorist for disagreeing with him, and orders my assassination (a power he claims, and will have, as long as his dittoheads shout their approval, and patriots remain silent).

  • Hey Ted, don’t let the bastards grind you down. Keep speaking truth to power until everyone can see the man behind the curtain.

  • The cult of Obama arises from two things: 1) 99% of the black population who suffer from an acute case of ethnoitis/Head Negro in Charge syndrome (HNIC). Don’t call the p.c. politburo; I’m black, and live amongst these fools daily; 2) white lefties who fear being labelled racist if they criticize Obummer. The first group walks around in lobotomized denial – despite years of experience with HNICs at all levels of power who’ve done little but lined their own pockets as opposed to improving conditions w/i black community. The other group walks around on egg shells while engaging in tepid hand wringing and excuse making for the evildoings for Terrorist-in-Chief in the White House. I’ll add a third contingent to the mix – the posers who masquarade as liberals/progressives. Example: The Nation, Mother Jones, Harpers, et al who are blacklisting Ted Rall cartoons. Blacks make up less than one percent of their readership so why are they too chickenshit to run your work? Given that they ration space for the work of others who will truly call out Obama and the Dems (Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report regularly submits articles to Progressive Populist but NEVER gets in; Democratic plantation dweller Jesse Jackson has a regular column), it appears that these people are more interested in not pissing off the Democratic party masters rather than providing the public with the whole truth. These posers have really shown their true colors during the reign of Brand Obama.

    I said pre-election and I was right – the empire power brokers are high fiving like mad over their good fortune of discovering a real Manchurian Candidate. Obama’s biracial black face acts as Kryptonite against any dissent thus allowing him and his empire masters to literally and figuratively get away with murder, and man, have the bodies been piling up.

  • […] cartoonist whose work was popular in “free” alternative newspapers in the 1990s, complains on his blog that the liberal media has blacklisted him because he dares to criticize Dear […]

  • Well, I agree of course, but what you’re illustrating is the difference between those who identify as progressives (or liberals or whatever) based on PRINCIPLES, and those who identify as Democrats based on PARTISANSHIP. The former is preferred by folks who are independent, mindful, and intrinsically motivated, the latter by those who prefer the extrinsic reassurance of group inclusion (tribalism).

    In other words, some folks are Democrats because they are liberal people who think they are part of a liberal party, and some are Democrats because they like being Democrats – presumably as opposed to being Republicans or independent. It is these folks who cannot conscience their betrayal by Obama and the Party because they have invested their identities in that Party: and often the more liberal they consider themselves, the more desperate they are to deny the truth.

    When as in this case the Democratic party reveals that it is simply one head of the single American ruling party ironically labelled “the Two-Party system,” then principled progressives can (if they ever bought into the bogus Democrat/Liberal conflation) feel heartily betrayed. On the other hand for us older or simply more cynical principled progressives Obama’s disappointing performance in defense of Constitutional rights and the Rule of Law simply confirms what we already knew: that America is plutocratic authoritarian police-state.
    (More on that at )

    Even I, as bitterly cynical as I am, have managed to be slightly disappointed in Obama’s complete abrogation of what his educational background (to say nothing of class background) ought to have taught him about the duties of the office. But Obama is a compromiser/insider, and the times call desperately for an iconoclastic reformer and leader, so of course Obama will fail to meet the demands of the age.

    Additionally, of course, you’re running smack into the growing sense of American Authoritarianism – the belief that power trumps the Rule of Law. That the President can simply order an American citizen killed, and no substantive protest to this action is apparent, is a clear sign that many Americans have embraced authoritarianism – as if authoritarian propaganda like ‘Cops’ and ‘America’s Most Wanted’ weren’t a clear enough sign of this years ago.

    Congratulations on being blackballed. No, I’m serious – they don’t bother to do that with insignificant and voiceless persons. You are sufficiently talented to be dangerous. If you are not doing so already, study the lives of your comrades-in-chains – if you are not heartened by the stories of eventual recognition and redemption by history, at least search for tactical means of overcoming this adversity. Publish in other countries; establish a nom-de-plume; do something innovative with the internet. You’re on the right side of history, and as long as you hold fast to your principles and manage to find some way to pay the bills (that latter not simple) you will eventually win through.

    In art and labor (as Joe Bageant used to say).

  • Bricer, one thing I will never understand is African-American’s blind allegiance to O-bomber, just because of his skin color: this is a guy whose ancestors were not brought to the Americas to be bought and worked over as so much cattle and whose grandparents didn’t experience first-hand the oppression of Jim Crow. Yet, one’s supposed to rejoice at his every move just because his father came from the eastern part of the same continent your slave ancestors were dragged from? That’s insane.

  • Hang in there, Ted. Keep up the good work!

  • […] At the risk of seeming to engage in “they’re both the same” equivocation, I also have to point out some evidence I came across this week of rank hypocrisy on my own side of the ideological spectrum. Political cartoonist Ted Rall wrote a damning piece about his own ostracization by the liberal establishment for applying the same critical approach to Obama’s Bush-like policies as he had applied to Bush (an approach which also got him in trouble during the Bush years). It’s a uniformly strong piece, and rather than pulling quotes I will just say that it’s very worth reading in its entirety here. […]

  • Mace wrote: “Ted, sounds to me like everyone in your life ‘oppresses’ you. Are you kind of a victim? Maybe a closet Republican? I would suggest the purchase of a full length mirror…it might help your view of the world and your toxic writing.”

    This is exactly what I referred to above about “fallen angels.” Because Ted dared criticize certain policies of a beloved liberal leader, first Ted was marginalized by the left, then shunned, and now, as Mace’s quote above clearly indicates, he’s being attacked as perhaps being a “closet Republican.”

    Despite the absurdity of statements like this (I mean, c’mon — Ted a Republican???), partisan faithful on both sides know from past experience that if they repeat an absurdity (or lie) often enough, it just may eventually stick.

    Another favorite of the left walking a dangerous line (just because he’s now being a bit more open and honest in his criticisms of some of Obama’s policies) is Jon Stewart. It will be interesting to see how his recent “anti-Obama” comments are received by the partisan faithful. Will his ratings start dropping (a form of marginalization)? Will he soon start getting shunned? I’ll bet big bucks that if Stewart stays the course, it won’t be long before he, too, starts feeling the effects of what amounts to an invisible liberal blacklist.

  • You can spot a bot fairly easily – their arguments are emotionally charged personal attacks, usually unbacked-up by facts. It reminds me very much of what Al Franken said about conservatives, which, in the era of Obama, is to be found equally in some blind supporters of the president: “conservatives love their country like a 4 year old loves Mommy. Anything Mommy does is good. Anybody who criticizes Mommy is bad.”

  • […] I have no real problem with those words because I have no problem with the truth. The truth is the truth, even if only one person in a thousand (or ten thousand or a hundred thousand or a million or…) is willing to utter it in a sea of lemmings. (Or, as Ted Rall aptly calls Obama’s allegedly left-of-center followers, “Obamabots.”) […]

  • keiththeotherd
    May 20, 2011 12:24 PM

    There is a lot at stake in the upcoming election, and this isn’t the 90’s. Obama is bought and paid for. He is a mouthpiece for some moneymakers. Morality and money are seldom on the same side. If I were money and wanted more I would sell out dissent, co-opt it, or silence it.

    If you need to drum up some quick cash here is some advice from the ABC’s of Cartooning,



    I think it’s also helpful to know who the people are that own your audience. I don’t think this is about truth or quality journalism Ted. I think it’s about selling shit and selling out.

    Are you really surprised our President is a sellout? What has truth and righteousness got to do with anything?

    • Of course, there’s ALWAYS a lot at stake in every election.

      No, I’m not surprised Obama sold out. I’m surprised voters don’t care.

  • […] other people have written about the cult behavior of the President’s most ardent supporters. I personally find it disturbing how quickly and […]

  • […] for several years. You’ll probably hear a pin drop after you inquire. Many other people have written about the cult behavior of the President’s most ardent supporters. I personally find it disturbing how quickly and […]

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