September 23rd 1968  (Age 53)

<< January 2009 >>
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
 01 02 03
04 05 06 07 08 09 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Your messages are being regularly deleted.

RSS feed

Check out some
of my travel photos...
This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from cartoonist2006. Make your own badge here.

Random Thots is brought to you by Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist at the Hamilton Spectator, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Website:

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."
Winston Churchill

MacKay's cartoon archive
Who is Graeme MacKay?
MacKay's Photo Album
MacKay's Blog
MacKay's miscellaneous caricatures
Canada Gallery
Ontario Gallery
Hamilton Gallery
USA Gallery
World Gallery
Iraq Gallery
Stephen Harper Gallery
Paul Martin Gallery
Sheila Copps Gallery
MacKay's old comic strip
Buy a MacKay reprint
Add a cartoon to your blog
See my old list of links
Tips for aspiring cartoonists


Custom Search
Inaugural Front Pages
Judging Presidents
Presidential Gathering
2008 Review
The Ignatieff Era
RIP: Stephane Dion
Wreckless Coalition
U.S. Day of Decision
Election Prediction
'08 Federal Election HQ
Election Whining
ACEC Banff Convention II
ACEC Banff Convention
Canada at the Olympics
Cartoon Clichés
Radovan Karadzic
Zimbabwe's Mugabe
The Bay Sell Off
The New Yorker Controversy
Hugs for Hamilton
Green Shift
George Carlin
Apology to Natives
Hillary Clinton
Holmes on Harper's Home
Know Your Famous Cartoons
Harry Stinson Strikes Back
Pope Benedict's Red Shoes
Trevor Garwood-Jones
Germany and Afghanistan
Parallel Shepherds
A Cougar Cartoon
Ye Olde Pot and Kettle cliche
Clinton and Obama VS. Canada
The Great Bagel War Part II
Vote for me
Afghanistan and Petty Canadian
The Montreal Bagel Challenge
Ken Dryden visits
The Manley Report
Save the Lister Block
Campaign 2008 Begins
Editorial Cartooning Q&A
Cartoon year in Review: Canada
Cartoon year in Review: Ontario
Cartoon year in Review: Hamilton
Spelling disasters and Isotope
Jean Chretien and Global Warming
The Chocolate Cartel
Karlheinz Schreiber goes to Ottawa
Remembrance Day Confusion
Ottawa Halloween
Editorial Cartooning 101
Dion in the dog house
Gore gets a cold shoulder
The day after the election
Election Endorsement
Hitting the nail on the head
Ivor Wynne neverendum
Greg Sorbara, Puppetmaster
John Tory: Up Close
Mulroney vs. Trudeau
Canadian War Museum Bombing
Gridlock: Hammercab
Alas & Alack
The Cold War Then and Now
Death of a Cliche
Le Tour de Farce
The Games of Hamilton
The Anti-Editorial Cartoonists
Life and its Lessons
The 50th AAEC Convention
Onward Ho...
Front Pager
Rahimi Benefit Review
The Pope's Driving Commandment
Elizabeth May at the Spec
The Advance of Balsillie
McGuinty comes to work
The Rahimi Family Benefit
Feedback from a school tour
Are the politicians crazy?
Picking the ripest of the crop
From a Global Warming Skeptic
MacKay in China
Not so bright light bulbs
Green Stuff
Boris Yeltsin
Killed Cartoons
The Theatre of City Council
Presenting your caricature
Attack Ads
Attracting the french audience
Drawing on the world
Creating a combo cartoon
YouTubing Animation
Budget Day Revision
Roll up the rim rant
St. Patrick's Day
Pipe Dream Capital of Canada
Our Anglican at Lambeth
Ad Parodies
One year of Caledonia
Drawing Terrorists
David Suzuki Event
Groundhog Day
A Hamilton East Cartoon Chronology
Roy Carless Book
The Greens conquer cartoons
Bollywood Dalton
From the mailbag
Nice Way to Start the Year
A Year in Review II
A Year in Review
Cartooning Stephane Dion
Stephane Dion
Farewell Paul Martin
Stan Keyes Weighs in?
Missing the boat
Turkey time
Outrage and Congratulations
Worth Repeating: Justin Trudeau
Harper and the Chinese
Evolution of a cartoon
Raising the Hammer on Satire
Failing to Predict an Upset
Executing a Hanging
Income Trust Glaze Over
A lefty rant... against guess who?
Rant, Rant, Rant...
Iraq's Turning Point
Caledonia Cartoon Outrage
Drawing from life
The Ups and Downs of Stan Keyes
Caledonia Freedom March
Retraction and Distraction
Conservative Environmentalism
Municipal Disgrace
Lib. leadership by the numbers
Drawing on the Liberal Leaders
Cartooning in 2006: Reuse, Recycle
Low Points: Cartooning
Pinning down the issue du jour
Pete and Condi's Pictou Coffee
NDP Stupid Gas
Happy Anniversary
The loosened tie of Dalton McGuinty
Joanna Chapman
Cartooning the Crocodile Hunter
Canada's Buffoon Leader
Cartooning the Future
...And another Pet Peeve...
Icicle Lights Rant: 2006 Edition
"Entertainment Tonight" news
What the?
A Three Cartoon Day
Fairy Tale Series
Blogging Who's Who
Fun with Logos
Measured cartoon
Floyd Landris' Package
Advanced drawing
The August Long Weekend Monday
MacKay's Atlas of the world
A coffee rant
Common Cliches, and Metaphors
The new Dalton McGuinty Gallery
Conference Tables
Dalton Assad? Bashir McGuinty?
Scene of a newspaper
The Pot God of Hamilton
Not so nuanced on complainers
A nation of complainers
Ticat Critics
France versus Hamilton
Peeing up a storm
Pope Cartoons
The background on backgrounds
What to draw when politicians
Jumping the Shark
What to draw?
World Cup Disconnect
The Lister Saga
Still recovering after Denver
A half baked Cartoon
Sex, drugs, and watering down
 Local Cartoons
The joys of Photoshop cheating
Blog Rejig
Anger Management
Pushing the Envelope
Who's Dog the Bounty Hunter?
Heightened Editorial Sensitivity
Go ahead and 'Bite Me'
The Beginning

If you want to be updated on this weblog Enter your email here:

rss feed

Monday, January 19, 2009
Judging Presidents

We're on the cusp of witnessing history in the United States. A brief moment in time when the stars have aligned symbolizing unity and hope. Across the world, across party lines, across the races, masses of humanity will celebrate the inauguration of Barack Obama. Then, the hard work will begin, hopes will be crushed, and the magic of Obama will begin its inevitable downward slide.

There is no denying how significant this particular transfer of power will go down in history. One can't discount the twist of fate that finds the U.S. holiday marking the birthdate of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preceding this historic inauguration by one day. It's hard not to find some parallels to the ascendency of two sons of Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, and Obama, both lawyers and state legislators, both advocates of human rights, and both successors of a top job left in a mess by its predecessor.

George Bush leaves office perceived as a bad President as much as Barack Obama has already been bestowed the honour by many as America's greatest President, even though he hasn't yet been sworn in. Along with that there's been plenty of negative reaction in the media to a press conference George Bush gave last week, headlined all over the place as "Regret's, I've had a few" summary of his Presidency. This of course has been followed with opinion pieces which have positioned the Bush Presidency at the top of the worst in history list -- here, here, here, and here.

People should be careful about making bold declarations that the most recent President is history's worst. Yes, the economy's in the tank, America's reputation abroad is a disgrace, the environment has been ignored, civil liberties are under enormous threat, and two unending big wars are a psychological drain. These calamities, all of the making under the Bush era, will most certainly stain his record, as much as the awkward position he was put in from an enormous event that was not of his making, the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

So what will come from the successful outcomes of the Bush White House? The fact that he kept the U.S. free of terrorist acts after 9/11? Might the Bush legacy benefit if a terrorist act happens on American soil under Obama's watch? What about the muted acclaim Bush has received for quietly doing better than any previous President in terms of sending aid to Africa to combat AIDS? What about the other merits to the Bush Presidency that have been drowned out with all the negative, including improved test scores for American students, better race relations, reforms to Medicare, and the removal of Saddam Hussein, the overthrowing of the Taliban, and restraint shown towards an aggressive North Korea, and Iran?

I've observed enough Presidencies in my 40 year life to recall the popular sentiment that the outgoing guy is the worst President in history is said of every outgoing President and it's likely to be pronounced by some when Mr. Obama is finished his term of office. Think back to the past two double term Presidents, Clinton and Reagan, both reviled at the end but quietly rehabilitated with the passage of time and some scholarly reflection on their legacies. History will be the ultimate judge.

The magic of every Presidential honeymoon starts to be chipped away as soon as the oath of office is administered and the new guy starts to make decisions which inevitably divide the public into more distinctive groups, those who support the President and those who don't. Much is expected of Obama and his failure to live up to expectations may very well herald the beginning of his demise in the days and weeks to come.

As much as I'm uncomfortable with the predictable rantings against Bush from the left as he leaves office, I'm also uneasy about the doubts from the right about Obama living up to expectations as he assumes the Presidency. That will inevitably come later but for the time being we should revell in the history we're about to witness, all the trappings of ceremony and tradition, a smooth transfer of power, and the passing of a difficult eight years to a new era of hope and reinvigoration.

Posted at 11:19 am by Graeme_MacKay


Leave a Comment:


Homepage (optional)


Previous Entry Home Next Entry