You Can’t Do That

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All of Washington is vibrating like the foam on a latte in the cup holder of a convertible jeep riding railroad tracks over a bridge. Republicans are scrambling to hold together their diverse coalition of rich white men frightened about the next election and well-to-do white men worried about the next election. Democrats also seem mildly engaged, which to them borders on a frenzy.

It’s all due to the substantial evidence that Donald Trump conspired to withhold military aid to Ukraine unless President Volodomyr Zelensky agreed to assist in the upcoming election by digging up dirt on Joe Biden’s family. A great way to resolve this would be to launch an investigation into corruption activities by all family members of the executive branch of government, past and present, but that’s probably not going to happen.

The proof of Mr. Trump’s malfeasance consists of texts, emails, depositions, multiple whistleblowers and a little thing called Trump’s own admission. Either he doesn’t believe he can commit a crime, doesn’t think anybody cares, or considers himself untouchable (stemming from the fact that lately, nobody wants to touch him).

The problem with swimming with Trump is he’s constantly pooping in the pool and expecting everyone to pretend not to notice while smiling at the honor. Then he pees from the high board and calls it liquid gold. And still his enablers are surprised when they get out and no one will lend them a towel.

It was bound to happen: you cut enough corners, eventually all you’re left holding is a hole, hopefully big enough to hide in. Which is what all of his staffers and appointees are looking for right now as the investigation spreads like basement mold.

He then didn’t just double down, he quintupled down by publicly threatening to ask China to do the same thing. First he leverages Ukraine, then China, who’s next; Wakanda? Ruritania? Fredonia? He’s already got Absurdistan’s support, aka: Fox News.

Why does Trump have to dig up dirt on anybody when he has plenty Trump branded dirt in his own back yard? Obviously, he’s not going to give away his extremely valuable dirt for free, but couldn’t he lend Biden a couple of wheel barrels full at 10 percent interest?

The man has never heard the words, “You can’t do that.” From anybody. Ever. Whether it concerned legal, ethical, moral or strategic matters. He’s Billy Mumy in that Twilight Zone episode. Either you agree with what he wants or suffer the consequences. Hopefully he’ll hear “No, I’m sorry, you can’t betray your oath of office, you’re fired” from the American people soon.

But right now, the president is double-dog daring Congress: “Yeah, I did it, and I’ll do it again, and who’s going to stop me? You? Right, you and what army?” Even though he’s under intense fire for abuse of power, the House of Representatives – controlled by Democrats – decides this information is so critical, they immediately spring into action… and take a two- week recess.

But in the middle of October, when they get back, Congress is expected to buy a one-way ticket on the Impeachment Train without any idea of where it’s going, when it’ll get there or how much it’s going to cost.

And as usual, checked bags are extra.

Copyright 2019, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate.

Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comic and former sod farmer in New Berlin, Wisconsin. For a calendar of personal appearances, including his new one-man show, “Durst Case Scenario,” please visit willdurst.com.

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Labor Day Already?

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Are you kidding? Labor Day? Already? How the hell did that happen? Didn’t we just scrape down the Weber for the first summer barbecue on Memorial Day? Wasn’t that like a week ago?

No matter. The kids are back in school. Every team in the NFL has legitimate playoff hopes. The trees are turning colors. Detroit is rolling out their new pieces of iron. Time to celebrate. Go out and party hearty everyone, like we’re getting a day off of work to celebrate what it is we do for a living. Because that’s what this day is really about.

Labor Day is also the seasonal marker between summer and autumn. The day that acts as barrier between coolers full of iced cans of PBR and icy winds swooping down from Manitoba. When we stow the swimsuits and flip-flops and pull out the parkas and galoshes. Storms go up, screens come down. The bright yin slowly changes into the dark yang.

It’s when watermelons get carted off the floor of the grocery store behind those big black plastic flappy things and out comes the squash. When we roll up the garden hose and check the exhaust hose on the snow blower. Verdant shades of green are replaced by the orange and black of Halloween.

It will never be mistaken for the king of holidays – more like a wandering minstrel on a discount donkey, blissfully unshackled to any official duties required of royalty. No proscribed traditions to uphold, and no pumpkins or fir trees to kill. No bunnies or turkeys or Cupid mascots to venerate. No flags or fireworks or dead presidents or foreign wars to remember. It’s a feets up, shoes off, potato chip and dip kind of day.

And as a holiday, it gets little to no respect. Like a gym teacher substituting for an advanced honors biology class. Or an usher at a Saturday afternoon pre-school screening of a “Frozen” sing-along. An accountant in a biker bar. Artichokes at a cookout.

The name is definitely part of the problem – Labor Day. Kind of a bummer, when you think about it. After all, hard labor is a punishment and any woman who has gone through childbirth is not going to wax ecstatic either. So unsexy, it should be wearing support hose. The people at Hallmark will never make a penny off the first Monday in September.

But don’t blow it off because this holiday is a gift for everyone: from the masters of the stock market to the stock clerks at the corner market. Equally to be enjoyed by the wizards of Wall Street and the folks who shovel blizzards off of Main Street. For the blue-collars and the white collars and the diamond collars and the no collars and the studded dog collars.

Just one day off to relax. To sleep late and maybe meet up with friends and family for one last warm weather blow out, and then again, maybe not. Do it up good or do nothing. Because this holiday is about the true American heroes. The ones who keep democracy alive and growing and stable. Who keep their heads down and continue to move forward trying to carve out a living in this crazy world. You know – you and me.

Okay. Mostly you. Happy Labor Day everybody.

Copyright 2019, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate.

Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comic and former sod farmer in New Berlin, Wisconsin. For a calendar of personal appearances, including his new one-man show, “Durst Case Scenario,” please visit willdurst.com.

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Beat the Heat

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Humans cherish our seasonal grievances. In the winter, we enthusiastically complain about the cold. In the spring, it’s the wet. In the fall, it’s the pumpkin spice. But in the summer, it’s the heat. Your Aunt Catherine may have said, “Its not the heat, it’s the humidity.” But as usual, she was wrong: it’s the heat.

So here we are, dead-end summer and guess what; it’s hot out there. And not just your normal summer- hot either. We’re talking exponential factor hot. Second degree burns from the car-door handle-hot. Your clothes all feel like greasy Saran Wrap-hot. Hershey bars are drinkable-hot. Sweating in places you weren’t aware you had places-hot. Record shatteringly hot.

As a matter of fact, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared July 2019 to be the hottest month recorded in the history of forever. Well, since 1880 anyway, when they started keeping records. Which back then was done with quill and parchment, so you know they were extra careful.

We’ll ignore the question of whether humans are responsible for heating up the globe like a test tube on a Bunsen burner with the gas spigot turned up full. YES! Along with other questions such as does the unceasing burning of fossil fuels bear any responsibility? INDEED! Or is the current administration colluding to accelerate the rise of the planet’s thermostat? YOU BET!

Rather, let’s focus on the practical aspects of surviving these thermal extremes. Local television coverage thoughtfully provides advice with their annual “How to Survive the Heat Wave” segments.

These typically involves a reporter frying an egg on the sidewalk or the hood of a car or the forehead of the resident wacky sports reporter. Then they haul in some dodgy looking expert who intones earthshakingly predictable advice while the perky anchor makes valiant efforts to remain alert; “Stay indoors. Don’t exert yourself. Wear light colored clothing. Drink plenty of liquids. Plan physical activities for early in the day. Call into work as absent due to the scorchiness.”

They might as well caution you to eat food, breathe air and walk upright. And because we here at Durstco care, here’s a couple of novel ideas on how to stay cool while the rest of the world swelters in the blistering.

TOP WAYS TO BEAT THE HEAT DURING WHAT’S LEFT OF THE SUMMER EVER.

– Take a trip to the southern part of South America, its winter there.

– At irregular intervals, stick your head in the refrigerator.

– Sign up for underwater spelunking lessons.

– Sleep as close to the beach as possible, but check the tides first.

– Ice cubes in your underwear. Scoff if you will, but it works.

– For as long as it takes, subsist entirely on ice cream.

– Hang out in the shady parts of town.

– Meditation. Think cool thoughts.

– Collect all your sweat and put it in a bowl. Won’t make you cooler, but will keep your mind off how hot it is.

– Eat frozen foods while still frozen.

– Sit in a sauna for ten minutes every hour. Then the mere balmy will seem refreshingly cool in comparison.

Book a room in a hotel with a pool. Crank the air down to glacial.

Drink plenty of water, frozen into cubes, completely surrounded by gin and tonic.

Two words: Champagne popsicles.

Copyright 2019, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate.

Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comic and former sod farmer in New Berlin, Wisconsin. For a calendar of personal appearances, including his new one-man show, “Durst Case Scenario,” please visit willdurst.com.

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Soft Tissue Racist

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What a long, hot, lousy stinking summer. We’ve spent so much time sending thoughts and prayers to Gilroy and El Paso and Chicago and Virginia Beach and Dayton and even Toledo, there’s hardly been time for ice cream and barbecues and theme parks. Who can relax with everybody so focused on being strong?

Fireworks are out of the question as the horrific spate of mass shootings has the entire country recoiling from any loud noises, and yes, that includes the strident denials by the president that his vitriolic rhetoric has anything to do with riling up the racist element often referred to as his base. We’re not saying all Donald Trump supporters are lethally ignorant racists, just that most lethally ignorant racists are Donald Trump supporters.

In response, he said, “I don’t think my rhetoric is racist at all. As a matter of fact, I think my rhetoric brings people together.” And it has proven to be effective in bringing white supremacists together with immigrant victims.

Under intense pressure from vulnerable GOP congressional candidates, Trump did manage to mumble something about racism being bad. Of course, his words might have been easier to understand if he had taken off the hood.

45 went on to blame video games, the internet, mental illness and all sorts of things, somehow neglecting to mention the word “guns” at all, while claiming the only true answer to this disturbing spray of terror is his desperately needed immigration reform. Yep. Everything is always all about the wall. Except Mexico paying for it.

Although blaming mental illness, Trump also failed to mention it was he who got rid of Obama’s regulation that kept people who received Social Security checks for mental illnesses and deemed unfit to handle their financial affairs from buying guns. Probably just slipped his mind. That’s one slippery mind.

It’s also worth noting that people hearing Donald Trump accuse hatred and mental illness for being responsible for the madness pointed out to their televisions in varying degrees of intensity, “you, that’s you, you’re talking about you.”

What nobody mentions about this 2nd Amendment brouhaha, it’s not the guns so much as the bullets that are the real problem. Guns don’t kill people, bullets do. They are the things that put the holes in the body making the blood leak out way too quick.

Trump declared he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body, so the general consensus is it must be his soft tissue. And that’s a lot of soft tissue. I can’t wait for the upcoming announcement by the president that there is no room in his administration for racists because all the slots have been filled by his family.

He expressed confidence he could work out a deal with Congress on “meaningful background checks,” but Moscow Mitch McConnell has gone full turtle, pulling his head into his shell and refusing to encourage or discourage any optimism. Which is his way.

Suspicions run rampant they’re both counting on the 116th Congress returning from recess on the Monday after Labor Day and being distracted by the umpteen other catastrophes, calamities and cataclysms that will surely arise before their arrival, once again making this issue as dated as the fashions worn by trustees at the Asylum of Charenton. Which in 1814 played a role similar to… Congress.

Copyright 2019, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate.

Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comic and former sod farmer in New Berlin, Wisconsin. For a calendar of personal appearances, including his new one-man show, “Durst Case Scenario,” please visit willdurst.com.

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The Best Words

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Nobody knows what the earliest word used by humans was. The general consensus is the Sumerians developed the first written language around 3500 BC, using wedge-shaped symbols called cuneiform. Scholars hypothesize that the first word was either “ouch” or “me,” although “pie” had to have been up there since the shapes surely reminded the Sumerians of it.

For the last 5,500 years humans have spent lifetimes searching for the best words to communicate. The precise word can make the difference between understanding and confusing people to the point of banging their heads against metal railings until blood drips out their ears. It doesn’t help that individual words can have many definitions, such as “gross,” which can mean… icky, large, 144 or the thought of Mitch McConnell naked.

President Donald Trump claims he knows the best words, though while he keeps saying he’s got them, curiously, we never get to see or hear them. 45 obviously realizes how precious they are and keeps them locked up in order not to waste them. Along with his best people.

The Democrats’ think they have some pretty good words, too, and trotted out some superlative ones in the debates last week. As we have learned, those words can be inspirational, aspirational, confrontational, nondenominational or generational, but are definitely not necessarily connected to reality. And as predictable as finding blueberry muffins the size of aspirins at a breakfast buffet.

Writers strain mightily to use not just good words, but the very best possible ones, and most books are just different rearrangements of those words. All 20 of the Democratic candidates apparently read the same book because they squawked out the same exact things, behaving not unlike well-groomed parrots.

Each and every one of them is pro-good and anti-bad. On the side of the angels, not the demons. The cops. Not the criminals. Looking to go to heaven, not North Korea. They unanimously stand against cancer, love families and puppies and think we should plan to start at the beginning.

Education? Yes, indeed. You bet. They’re big fans. Corruption? Nope. Not in favor one bit. And on that you can quote them. The future? That, my friends, is yet to come. And something we must all work towards. Together. Because working together is the only sure path to tomorrow.

Health care is good, but only good health care, not bad health care or insufficient or poorly administered health care. Let’s face it, bad health care is not good. Universal health care can be good or bad. So they want the good kind.

They hate hypocrites and revere the clergy. And their thoughts and prayers are with us in El Paso and Dayton and everywhere else that needs to be strong. And we need to get rid of the guns. Okay, just the bad guns. What? Wait. Oh, sorry, never mind, erase that.

And we’re definitely going to need more free stuff, like tuition and child-care and a guaranteed income. But we also should have a strong defense and border security and a powerhouse economy and clean air and water. You know what this country needs: more good stuff. And less bad stuff.

So let’s get to it, shall we? How? By working together.

And then we can have pie.

Copyright 2019, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate.

Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comic and former sod farmer in New Berlin, Wisconsin. For a calendar of personal appearances, including his new one-man show, “Durst Case Scenario,” please visit willdurst.com.

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Tyrannical Twitter Tirades

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President Donald Trump’s Chaos Strategy was working overtime last week with a series of typical topical tyrannical Twitter tirades. He tore into Robert Mueller then pivoted to energize his base by tossing out attacks against anybody with the temerity to criticize the administration’s inhumane immigrant incarceration policies. It was a week where the vitriol spewed like a pinwheel of bile in a wind tunnel.

A Democratic aide claimed Mueller’s testimony was integral because “If people haven’t read the book, they’ll watch the movie” but not even Stephen Spielberg could have saved this production. A motorcycle chase might have helped, but probably not. Some killer robot CGI… maybe.

It’s easy to see why the former special prosecutor prefers the darkness. Although this was his 89th testimony in front of Congress, his performance was so uninspired, the reluctant witness seemed to nod out himself a couple of times along with many members of Congress and most of the viewing public.

A few Republicans couldn’t even summon the energy to pepper him with antagonistic questions. But it was the performance of Mueller himself that set the tone. Dial tone. The man is stiffer than Mitch McConnell wearing buttless chaps on a gay pride parade float.

One problem is Mueller’s about as vindictive as a throw rug. They sent a Boy Scout to take out a vampire. The Democrats needed Van Helsing and got Dudley Do-Right. The fired up the Bat Signal and Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred showed up.

Trump complained Mueller shouldn’t be allowed another bite of the apple, ignoring the precedent established by Republicans when they took multiple bites out of every apple in the Benghazi barrel.

But the 74-year-old’s testimony was exactly what anybody who had paid attention to his report or press conference could have predicted. He takes straight and narrow to levels previously unheard of in mathematics.

Every question posed resulted in his stating he either couldn’t or wouldn’t answer. Others he didn’t answer. Hard to figure what Democrats expected: that he would suddenly remember a smoking gun under a couch cushion or be seized by the irresistible urge to do the right thing or be struck by a bolt of religious righteousness? They threw up a Hail Mary but the quarterback fumbled the snap.

The one thing Mr. Mueller did do was reiterate over and over that the Russian government was responsible for a sweeping and systemic effort to interfere in our election for the purpose of getting Donald Trump elected over Hillary Clinton. And not only will they do it again, but “they’re doing it as we sit here.” Sparking Congress to immediately spring into action to do nothing.

Senate Democrats proposed two pieces of legislation to provide election interference protection but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called them partisan and announced he would not allow either to receive a vote earning him the viral sobriquet, Moscow Mitch.

Then President Trump turned up the distraction meter, tweeting that Elijah Cummings’ Maryland district is “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” after earlier encouraging four Democratic congresswomen of color to go back to where they came from. Responding to accusations of racism, Trump said he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body, meaning it must all be packed in his soft tissue.

And he’s got a lot of soft tissue.

Copyright 2019, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate.

Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comic and former sod farmer in New Berlin, Wisconsin. For a calendar of personal appearances, including his new one-man show, “Durst Case Scenario,” please visit willdurst.com.

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Greenwashing the White House

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In a recent speech by the president, the former golf resort magnate claimed his administration had done more for the environment than any other presidency, ever. Yes, he did. He said that. Out loud. He trotted out some facts and figures and studies to support his wacky assertions and managed to convey a deep condescending concern with a fairly straight face. Well, a fairly orange face. A very organic color for a Florida fruit.

Donald Trump called himself an environmentalist. And reporters reported it. And viewers saw it. And listeners heard it. And absolutely nobody stood up and said, “No, no, no, no, no. You are not an environmentalist. If you are anything, it is the exact opposite of an environmentalist. This is crazy talk and cannot be allowed to continue or the fabric of reality will be forever torn and tentacled monsters will descend from holes in the sky.”

You know what this means, of course: that we have officially passed through the looking glass. Trump the Environmentalist. It’s delusion spiced with confusion caused by contusion. This man must be stopped before he hurts himself and/or us. Someone get one of those white canvas jackets with the way too long sleeves that tie off and buckle up in the back and put it on him. Soon. Please.

The 45th POTUS has undoubtedly been the single worst thing to happen to this planet’s climate since that asteroid killed all the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. This is the guy who said wind turbines cause cancer and wildfires can be prevented by sweeping under trees. He is to Mother Nature what alligators are to nests of baby ducks.

He bragged about gains in air and water quality made by regulations he has subsequently gutted and claimed credit for clean air statistics based on scores compiled before he was elected. He pulled us out of the Paris Accords, stripped scientific climate data off government websites, rolled back over 80 Obama- era environmental regulations and called climate change nothing but a Chinese hoax.

His first director of the EPA was an oil lobbyist and the new guy was a coal lobbyist. You can’t make stuff up like this. It’s the Environmental Protection Agency, not the Environmental Plunder Agency.

And you know that if his good buddies in the fossil fuel industry asked, he would gladly open up drilling anywhere: in the Arctic, in Central Park and on his daughter’s forehead. Well, Tiffany anyway. Donald Trump promoting the environment is like an avalanche petitioning for trees. Like the Demon Barber of Fleet Street advertising with customer testimonials. Like William Barr talking about justice. Adolph Hitler endorsing a Holocaust museum.

And why has the man who declared bankruptcy six times undertaken this sudden 180-degree, vertebrae- snapping turn with the attempted greenwashing of the White House? Very simple, it’s all about the red versus the blue and winning the next election. With more than a little green for money involved.

His base doesn’t matter, they wouldn’t care if he outlawed shade. But someone on Team Trump must have informed the president that kids and independents consider the environment a major issue and his regressive policies and ludicrous denials and stubborn refutation of science may have electoral consequences come next November.

Oh my god. Imagine that. Actual consequences. Nah, you’re right. Never happen.

Copyright 2019, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate.

Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comic and former sod farmer in New Berlin, Wisconsin. For a calendar of personal appearances, including his new one-man show, “Durst Case Scenario,” please visit willdurst.com.

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Democrats You’d Have a Blank With

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Back in 2000, the presidential election was tight and much attention was focused on who better related to the public. Al Gore was viewed as an automaton, the product of reverse taxidermy who had to be hosed down every spring with Thompson’s Water Sealant. He needed a strobe light at press conferences just to give the appearance of movement.

George W. Bush, on the other hand, was a good ol’ boy Texan. “Someone you could have a beer with.”Of course, the whole nation remained on alert in case we had to take away the car keys.

Ever since, likability has played a pivotal election role. Except in 2016, when the two candidates were as beloved as wounded coyotes fighting over a dead rabbit in a broom closet.

If you had to pick one of the 20 debate-qualified Democratic candidates to have a beer with, you could do worse than John Hickenlooper, who helped found the Wynkoop Brewing Company before stints as Denver mayor and Colorado governor. A man who knows his India Pale Ales and Summer Wheats from his 3.2 percent Utah dishwater.

Beer expertise might not be a prime arrow in the other candidates’ quivers, but they all sport individual characteristics that could endear themselves to certain distinct demographics. Some more targeted than others. For instance:

– The best guy to sit on a porch in matching rocking chairs to wax poetic about the bad old days; Joe Biden.

– Anybody interested in arguing the merits of Texas vs. Iowa barbecue should report directly to Beto O’Rourke.

– If you want someone to belt out a couple of choruses of The Internationale with: Bernie Sanders is your man.

– Planting a garden of sustainable Swiss chard mulched with leaves and pine straw? Talk to Jay Inslee.

– Looking for someone to peer review new regulations for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau- see Elizabeth Warren.

– If you need to dust the top of a really tall bookcase, give Bill DeBlasio a call.

– Curious as to how “Minnesota Nice” differs from “Minnesota Get Things Done,” sidle up to Amy Klobuchar.

– You want the real skinny on Marcia Clark, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Willie Brown, you need to talk to Kamala Harris.

– Rate the skits in The Best of Al Franken on Saturday Night Live DVD with Kirsten Gillibrand.

– Hankering to sing some Broadway musical karaoke with a Naval Intelligence officer, check out Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

– Talk smack about the Alabama Crimson Tide football program with Ohio State Buckeye alumni, Tim Ryan.

– Looking for someone who knows someone who might could possibly get you backstage at a Bruce Springsteen concert, how about Cory Booker?

– Get down and dirty as to how you’ll spend your guaranteed $1,000 a month mostly on gum and candy with Andrew Yang.

– Trade loco moco recipes with Tulsi Gabbard.

– Discover which of the TV pundit shows has the best snacks in the green room by talking to Michael Bennet.

– Discuss the ins and outs of playing The Parent Trap for real with Julian Castro.

– For an extremely accurate but sympathetic tarot reading, Marianne Williamson.

– Argue where Spiro Agnew ranks on the list of most corrupt Maryland politicians with John Delaney.

– Lay odds on who will be the next candidates to follow in his footsteps by quitting the race with Eric Swalwell.

Copyright 2019, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate.

Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comic and former sod farmer in New Berlin, Wisconsin. For a calendar of personal appearances, including his new one-man show, “Durst Case Scenario,” please visit willdurst.com.

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An Ambien Thunderdome

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If the first round of Democratic Party debates were distilled into five words or less, it would be “pass the No-Doz please.” Vini, vici, dormeo. They came, they saw, they slept. Ambien Thunderdome: “20 go in, 6 remain awake.”

There were two seperate two-hour debates between the twenty frontrunners for the Democratic nomination for president Four of their twenty-four major candidates weren’t included, and those lucky innocents would have to be considered the big winners.

Also winningish were Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Donald Trump, maybe Elizabeth Warren, but definitely the entire viewing public that had better things to do than watch potential opponents to the current occupant of the Oval Office argue over who dislikes him more.

24 candidates. Literally, dozens of Democrats. Which sounds like a Sondheim song. “Dozens of Democrats, all in a row. Most of them chasing some guy they call Joe.”

The two ways to qualify for the Miami debates were 65,000 unique donors or 1 percent support in three sanctioned polls. 1 percent?! That’s only 1 percent more than you or I currently sport. And with such crowded panels, the goal was simple: find some way, any way, to stand out from the pack. Meaning that belligerent, argumentative and contentious ruled the day. Luckily enough, the Democrats’ default state.

A couple candidates strove to be noticed visually. Senator Warren wore purple and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, red. Governor Jay Inslee wore a green tie because he’s the environmental candidate. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang didn’t wear a tie because he’s cool. Congressman Eric Swalwell wore an orange ribbon to honor victims of Parkland. And New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio was tall.

Others tried to stand out by their statements. Marianne Williamson announced her readiness to fight the 45th president with the Power of Love. It was a performance that attracted numerous donors anxious to keep her in the race. Many are suspected to be Republicans. Or Russians. Or both.

Congressman Beto O’Rourke, Senator Cory Booker and former HUD Secretary Julian Castro spoke Spanish in varying degrees of fluency. Castro also defended a transgender woman’s right to have an abortion. Warren hinted at more plans than there are blueprints to the Pentagon. And MSNBC was confused by the concept of microphones.

Senator Kamala Harris jumped on former Vice President Joe Biden so hard she runs the risk of having an aggressive prosecutor charge her with elder abuse. Then Vermont curmudgeon Bernie Sanders piled onto Biden in a grisly example of Grey on Grey crime.

There was shouting, finger-pointing, accusations, elbows, head butts and a couple kicks to the groin but not a single authentic moment over two nights. Most of the time was spent ignoring moderators’ questions and responding with soggy snippets from canned stump speeches. The only thing everybody agreed on was Donald Trump needs to be a one-term president. Although, its hard to imagine any of these lightweights helping accomplish that task.

The Democratic National Committee is teaming with CNN for the next round of debates at the end of July in Detroit, and 21 candidates are nearing qualification standards. So tie-breakers might need to be employed to get down to two nights of ten each. The least they could do is make the cut-down interesting. A competitive round-robin of Indian wrestling or axe-throwing might raise ratings.

Copyright 2019, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate.

Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comic and former sod farmer in New Berlin, Wisconsin. For a calendar of personal appearances, including his new one-man show, “Durst Case Scenario,” please visit willdurst.com.

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A Rash of Lies

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President Trump has been called many things. A short-fingered vulgarian. Mister Misdirection. The Cheater-in-Chief. Vlad’s ventriloquist dummy. Boss Tweet. Herr Gropenfuhrer. The Oval Office Oompa Loompa. But the most apropos moniker to throw at him is, the King of Lies.

According to the Washington Post, the former New York City real estate developer is closing in on 11,000 lies since taking the Oath of Office. Which occurred approximately 900 days ago, averaging out to a bit more than 12 lies a day. And that’s in public. We have no idea how many lies he tosses towards staff or family or himself.

And yes indeed, you are correct, sir: “liar” is so pejorative. Let’s call him a serial fibber. A fabricator. Deceiver. Falsifier. Prevaricator. Pseudologist. But whatever you call it, Donald Trump is the undisputed heavyweight champion of lying. Holds the Guinness Book World Record for making stuff up. Orange-man speak with forked tongue.

Some lies are political, ie; claiming he was against the Iraqi War when multiple examples of him saying the opposite exist. Some lies are just to pump the brand such as when he said the head of the Boy Scouts called to say he gave the best speech ever at a national gathering, something the Head Scout said never happened. Some lies are pure animal instinct. To maintain and move on. Going to release his tax returns after his audit. Longest… audit… ever.

Others are inexplicable. What reason would he have to say his father was born in Germany when the man was born in New York? Nobody cares. But he keeps saying it. Perhaps simply a little self-delusion to reinforce his love of sauerkraut?

He lies and then he lies about lying and then he lies about lying about lying. Even if he said he were lying, he’d be lying. Which is metaphysically difficult. He lies to the press and then believes what he reads. Since it’s him being quoted, it must be true.

He lies because it is his nature. He lies because he’s good at it. He lies to stay in practice. He lies to keep opponents off balance. He lies because he is never held accountable or forced to suffer a consequence by either the Republican Party or his base. He lies because he can.

If ever caught in a lie, he just denies it. Even though there’s tape of him saying it out loud. In a press conference after Helsinki he said he didn’t see any reason why Vladimir Putin would interfere in our elections and after everyone, including his own staff, flipped out, he said, what he meant to say was, “he didn’t know why he wouldn’t have,” which doesn’t make any sense.

In a recent interview with George Stephanopoulos he said he didn’t see anything wrong with accepting dirt on opponents from foreign powers and that he would do it again. The very day after the interview aired, he said he never said that.

The man is responsible for more bad lies than all of his golf courses put together after a month-long strike by the groundskeepers. He goes so far beyond pathological liar, psychologists are going to name a new condition after him. Karma mandates it be something that comes with a nasty rash.

Copyright 2019, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate.

Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comic and former sod farmer in New Berlin, Wisconsin. For a calendar of personal appearances, including his new one-man show, “Durst Case Scenario,” please visit willdurst.com.

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