Matt Davies Nails Election 2012

Matt Davies is an unabashed, in-your-face, idealistic liberal.

He also loves Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Donald Trump and Rick Perry.

No, he’s not as two-faced as many politicians.

Matt Davies (Photo/Lucy Ackemann)

The 1985 Staples graduate is a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist. And while his politics lean left, his pen pulls him toward people who are easy to caricature.

Their own words help. And if they’ve got some distinguishing feature — a cartoonish head of hair, say — well, that’s just frosting on the cake.

An exhibit of Matt’s cartoons about the current political campaign — syndicated nationally by Tribune Media Services — is on display now through (fittingly) Election Day in the Westport Library‘s Riverwalk showcase (lower level).

Three other cartoonists — “my conservative friends, and they are friends,” Matt emphasizes — are featured. But the Staples grad is the star of the show.

Some voters think the Obama-Romney race has failed to stir much passion. Matt agrees — but not because of either man’s politics.

“They’re both good-looking men,” he says. “That’s the kiss of death for a cartoonist. You want grotesque features.”

“Another Slice of Pious” (Distributed by Tribune Media Services)

Over the past 4 years, Matt’s depiction of the president has evolved into an elongated, long-legged, upright figure.

Romney is a work in progress. The Republican nominee’s teeth, hair and white streaks of hair stand out. In one cartoon, Matt replaced those streaks with words he’s been ambiguous about: personal finances, healthcare, immigration, etc. Matt titled it “Romney’s Gray Areas.”

Matt was sorry to see the other Republican candidates go.

He calls Gingrich “a gift from above.” All, he says, were “good candidates. Maybe not for running the country, but certainly for cartoonists.”

He does not shy away from his own political convictions. The job of an editorial cartoonist, he says, is to “have an opinion, and deliver it as cleverly, wittily and with as much fun as possible.” If he succeeds, he hopes that even people who disagree with him can appreciate the irony or humor.

(Distributed by Tribune Media Services)

“My intention is not to offend,” he says. “It’s to use public figures’ words to strangle themselves.”

Nothing — and no one — is sacred. “I’ll go after anyone I disagree with,” Matt says. “Or anyone who does something stupid.”

Editorial cartooning is changing, he notes. As newspapers wither — and cast cartoonists of all political stripes aside in cost-cutting moves — they’ve had to adapt. The internet and social media have been great — millions of people can see a cartoon in a matter of hours — but being online does not make up for decent salaries and benefits.

While political cartoons themselves have “never been better or more creative,” Matt says, “we’re all scratching our heads, figuring out where all this will go.”

Through November, at least, anyone who loves political cartoons — and can take a joke — should go to the Westport Library Riverwalk display case.

(Distributed by Tribune Media Services)

(Matt Davies’ cartoons have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times,USA Today, Newsweek, Time, CNN and Mad Magazine. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 2004 — and was a finalist in 2011 — and in 2001 received the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. He studied at the Savannah College of Art and Design, and the School of Visual Arts in New York.)

60 responses to “Matt Davies Nails Election 2012

  1. There a substantial difference between liberal and left. Jefferson was a liberal. Stalin was a leftist.

  2. Libs are one sided phonies
  3. Fighting for Freedom

    I’ll bet $1,000 that Dan would have NEVER done this feature if the cartoonist was Conservative.

    Also, “You want grotesque features.” Hussein Obama has plenty of grotesque features… His Kenyan heritage, his socialist views, his desire to erode patriotism… You name it. And if you want to be literal, his cigarette-stained teeth and big flappy ears.

    There you go!

    • It’s Dan’s blog. He uses it to push his agenda. That is his right; but it is obvious if you spend just a few minutes reading the blog.

      • Your True Colors

        Yes, but he likes to play like he’s fair and balanced, so intelligent and above it all.
        But in the end, he’s Rachel Maddow’s brother and Chrissy Matthews cousin!

  4. I want it down. This is very insensitive, libraries are public places that shouldn’t be politicized. Shame on them! I will be calling to complain. You know that if it was a conservative cartoonist it would never have been put up.

  5. Are you people serious? The guy is from Westport–that’s what the blog is about. It’s not about conservative vs liberal politics. If you can find a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist from Westport, I’m sure Dan would write about it (or would have already).

    • Really; how would we know? Dan made the topic conservative vs. leftists. Dan could have written a very different piece; he chose to write one that would be contentious.

  6. *Conservative pulitzer prize winning cartoonist from Westport

  7. What exactly is contentious about the piece? He put quotes in like “my intention is not to offend anyone”, mentioned conservative cartoonist friends of Matt, etc

    • Dan made the piece about the 2012 elections. Please read the title. If the piece were about the cartoonist alone, it would have a different title. The last time I checked, elections in the US were contentious.

      • I did not “make the piece about the 2012 elections.” That’s the focus of the library’s exhibit — as noted in the story — and that’s why I wrote about Matt.

        • What about “…Nails Election 2012” is not about election 2012? You made the piece about election 2012 and politics. So what’s the big deal? Stand by what you did. Not a problem.

  8. Please go down to the library and see the exhibit for yourself. The first thing I did was to count the biases. As expected, there are more pro-Obama/Dem than pro-Romney/Rep cartoons. Except for one anti-Romney cartoon, I felt that they were all appropriate, fair, and entertaining.

  9. I will always remember Matt’s sister and her Pink Mohawk haircut.

    Staples H.S. was never the same!

  10. Here’s an interesting, if odd, take on the library’s political cartoon exhibit. It’s a comment posted on the library’s Facebook page (verbatim): “I find this very distasteful to politicize a public library where children are abound in summer reading programs. This was not the appropiate place in town for this display. Please reconsider making such decisions in the future.”

    Meanwhile, the library — whose mission is to provide a forum for all points of view — is planning a program in October with Matt Davies and (via Skype) conservative cartoonist Scott Stantis of the Chicago Tribune. They’ll discuss , will discuss “the art of political cartooning and the challenges of covering the 2012 election.” I wonder what the commenter on the library website thinks of that!

  11. What I learned today on 06880:
    – Humor scares reactionaries. I guess it’s because they’re funny but never get the joke.
    – Uptight prudes who disagree (with a political comic!) would rather censor than discuss.
    – Westport wingers are just like all the other wingers in the USA – the moderate NE conservative no longer exists – they all seem to be anti-intellectual, anti-government fetishists now.

    • Fighting for Freedom

      “A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have.”

      “To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

      “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”

      -Thomas Jefferson

    • Libs are one sided phonies

      And your daddy’s democratic party is no more, now there a bunch of lefties, self-proclaimed socialist and Marxist. Including the occupier-in-chief.
      Good news, the fraud will be gone in less than 100 days, just enough time to pardon his criminal attorney general.

      • John Kennedy would not be welcome in this Democrat party; he cut tax rates and increased the defense budget.

        This is about as far from Obama as you can get.

        “The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.”

        • You want to increase the defense budget?

          • Fighting for Freedom

            YOU DIDN’T BUILD THAT!!!

            This is all that must be said. Cheers.

          • I said Kennedy did; in contrast to virtually every member of the Democrat party in Congress or the occupant of the WH. I did not say I wanted to.

            • Emma, I rarely comment on political posts but your statements about President Kennedy above constitute some of the most selective distortions of a president’s record and philosophy that I have seen. If Presidemt Kennedy were alive today, do you seriously think he would be siding with the current Republican Party with respect to the role of government today and the appropriate level of taxes. Sure, he advocated reducing tax rates in the early 1960s–but that was when the top tax rate was at or close to 90%. With respect to defense spending back then, we were at the height of the Cold War. You have somehow overlooked one of the central themes of the Kennedy Administration: the New Frontier, and the expansion of federal aid and spending in a variety of areas that constituted the realization of President Kennedy’s political philosophy. I know you don’t want to reveal your name, but I’m curious: how old are you and where did you grow up?

              • I am old enough to have heard his actual words.

                “A tax cut means higher family income and higher business profits and a balanced federal budget. Every taxpayer and his family will have more money left over after taxes for a new car, a new home, new conveniences, education and investment. Every businessman can keep a higher percentage of his profits in his cash register or put it to work expanding or improving his business, and as the national income grows, the federal government will ultimately end up with more revenues.”
                – John F. Kennedy, Sept. 18, 1963, radio and television address to the nation on tax-reduction bill

                • The tax structure and the economy and America’s sense of priorities, especially military ones, were vastly different in the early 1960s. Dragging out that quote is pointless.

                  • No, it is accurate, and it reflects JFK’s policies. Moreover, his analysis of the relationship between tax policy and economic growth remains accurate.

                    • Which means what to the current political discussion? I mean, should we talk about why today’s Republicans don’t reflect the values of Eisenhower?

                    • Sigh! My initial post on this topic was the observation that JFK would not be welcome in today’s Democrat party. his views on the relationship between the rights of citizens and the state were antithetical to those of the modern Democrat party. His views on changes in tax rates and economic stand in contrast to those of the current leadership of the Democrat party, as do his views on national defense..

                    • “economic growth”

        • There is no Democrat Party…it is the Democratic Party, unless you are member of the Publican Party. 🙂

      • “….lefties, self-proclaimed socialist and Marxist” If so, then the opposition must be righties, self-proclaimed fascists. True?

  12. – Check
    – Check
    – Check

  13. Richard Lawrenc Stein

    Emma you attack and assume things about Dan…that really proves you do not know him at all…. and the crap you spout only makes many think of you in one way. As a huge Denver Bravo Alpha Gamma….watch out library Emma has her granny panties in a huge tight wad…….I don’t think TNT will release that tight buttocks

    • How special! Thanks for sharing Dickie.

      • Richard Lawrence Stein

        Good One Enema….. Really calling me Dick…. My brother does that… And I could careless… But your age shows as does your out of touch thoughts… You are comparing government and ways that don’t apply possibly in the current times… But your mean inflicted vitriol is on target for an aged GOPer who spews hate… And can’t accept we the USA are accepting people

        • And what did you call me Dickie? You are a typical bully, you can dish it out, but you can’t take it. Additionally, your screed is incoherent, rude, and vulgar.

          • Enema how am I a bully….Because I disagree and you insult as you spew your crap…..my screed is free flow thought association to your nonsense….rude maybe , but not nearly as rude as your attitude….vulgar….not even close…. rude vulgar incoherent…..that is RUSH, FOX TV, BECK, and NEWT.

  14. Old and Grey

    You kids…timeout…go to your rooms!