This cartoon, which should cause editorial cartoonist Jack Ohman to hang his head in shame, has made me realize that there is an odd and pervasive parallel today with the familiar Clinton Derangement Syndrome and Bush Derangement Syndrome of yore, which caused the mouth-foaming political opponents of these polarizing Presidents to make ridiculous claims undermining the many more legitimate criticisms available to them. In the case of Barack Obama, it is Desperate Obama Defense Derangement (DODD) that we are seeing. So horrible is the prospect of having to admit that this President is an unequivocal, incompetent flop by almost every measure imaginable that disappointed, panicked partisans in the media, the President’s party and bitterly disappointed hope-and-changers are resorting to obvious rationalizations, absurd analogies and insane arguments to avoid facing the miserable, depressing truth.
This cartoon can stand as a graphic symbol of the malady. In order to preemptively duck accountability when yet another government agency, in this case the CDC, proves inept and another national policy–the measures designed to keep Ebola out of the U.S— proves ill-thought out and poorly managed like so many other agencies and national policies under this administration’s stewardship, DODD sufferers like Ohman and the sad Democrats posting it on Facebook are making the argument that Ebola is no big deal.
You know, like AIDS was no big deal. When the Reagan administration was being justly criticized for its tardy and in inadequate response to AIDS, I don’t recall any cartoonists listing the stats for all of the other causes of death to ridicule gays, humanitarians and sane people who were saying that this was a national crisis. But then, there aren’t very many conservative cartoonists, for which, in that instance, at least, we can be grateful.
Look at Ohman’s cartoon, and try to translate it into a coherent statement that makes any sense at all:
How dare fat people worry about their children being wiped out by a virus that liquifies their organs?
As long as these things are killing us, why worry about a plague?
Let’s first ban cigarettes, booze and McDonalds, then worry about Ebola?
People who choose to endanger their health in one respect forfeit their right to be worried about dangers they don’t choose?
There aren’t any sensible translations. Its sole intent is an ad hominem attack on conservatives—you know, obese, middle-aged white men who drink and smoke too much while being so shallow that they celebrate the United States—to ensure that their reasonable concerns about yet another Obama-supervised fiasco can be framed as politically-motivated hysteria. The cartoon is mind-numbingly stupid, which is not a huge problem in itself, but the fact that it encourages partisans and ideologues to endorse and defend potentially deadly incompetence is. I have previously opined that the art of political cartooning has become so simple-minded that news organizations should abandon it, and this despicable drawing prompts me to reassert that belief. When an international epidemic looms, it is irresponsible for those trying to protect our government from accountability to risk the public’s heath and welfare by minimizing a genuine threat with the worst of all rationalizations, #22, “It’s not the Worst Thing,” and false comparisons.
Food? Last I checked, we do need to eat. We don’t need Ebola. Tobacco? People voluntarily use tobacco for pleasure—I don’t know of anyone who infects themselves with deadly African diseases for fun. Alcohol? If as many people get Ebola as are afflicted with alcoholism, we’re all dead in a year. The idea is to avoid getting to that point. Jack Ohman apparently doesn’t comprehend that.
In case you think it is unfair to attribute this awful cartoon to the DODD crowd, read any of the approving comments about it, and observe those who are emailing it to you and posting it on Facebook. One of the commenters writes: “Of course that obese, alcoholic, super-patriotic smoker in Jack Ohman’s editorial cartoon last Friday is yelling, “Ebola!!!” He must be tired of yelling, “Benghazi!!!”
Desperate Obama Defense Derangement. It isn’t Ebola, but it just might get us killed anyway.