HOW DOES one lampoon Hillary Clinton?
Ask nine of the nation’s top political cartoonists, and they reference a couple of noted historic leaders from across recent centuries.
Specifically, Napoleon and Nixon.
Last week, The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs asked satirists about their trade secrets for skewering Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, and the incisive replies included nods to another historic leader: Mussolini. Now, as Clinton prepares to accept her party’s nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, those same editorial artists invoke ousted leaders known for being dictatorial, deceptive or paranoid.
Clinton, put simply, is a challenge. Some caricaturists struggle with her evolving hairstyles, Others try to capture her “half-grin of irritated cockiness” and ” inscrutable smile.”
Ahead of Clinton’s big acceptance in the City of Brotherly Love, here is how acclaimed cartoonists approach their Clinton caricatures:
NATE BEELER (Columbus Dispatch):
“I’m constantly astounded, maddened and disgusted by the audacity of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. With Hillary, it’s the bald-faced lies and evasions. … My aversion makes empathy hard to come by. I also don’t necessarily want to engage them on how they frame each issue, playing by their own set of rules with straw men left and right. It would almost be a disservice to people if I would do that, because that’s what these candidates want: to confuse the issue and engage in demagoguery. In a normal election, we’d likely be having more productive, intellectually honest public conversations on the issues.”
BERKELEY BREATHED (“Bloom County”):
“I can only be grumpily honest: Mocking Clinton — any Clinton — for being an ambitious liar is like mocking the TV horse Mr. Ed for being able to talk. Just … don’t.”
STEVE BREEN (San Diego Union-Tribune):
“Hillary has great eyes for expression, I find. I hope she doesn’t change her hair anymore. Women’s hairstyles can be tough to get right. If she does change it, I’m hoping she goes simple like Ruth Bader Ginsburg: combed back into a bun. Maybe if Huma [Abedin] reads this article, she can suggest that to her boss.”
JACK OHMAN (Sacramento Bee):
“I am still not thrilled with my caricature of Clinton, and her mouth is a real conundrum to me. Her dimples are probably the most distinguishing feature, and I am working to get her down the way I feel I have Trump down.
“My favorite thing to draw about Hillary is Bill. If I can work him into the drawing, I’ll do it.”
JEN SORENSEN (Fusion):
“Hillary’s hawkish tendencies are probably the easiest to caricature. I’ve drawn her in Napoleonic attire on a couple of occasions.
“The tricky part about Hillary is that while she’s not an exaggeration of herself like Trump, media portrayals of her often are. She’s so often described in hyperbolic terms, by both the right and the left, that I find myself reacting against that. While I haven’t been crazy about some of her foreign-policy decisions, her presidency would likely resemble a third Obama term. So I’m inclined to resist simplistic tropes. I definitely avoid mocking her “ambition,” as she’s no more ambitious and hardheaded than many male politicians who are rarely discussed in those terms.”
SCOTT STANTIS (Chicago Tribune):
“Besides the obvious Hillary pant suits? I am having a difficult time keeping up with Hillary’s ever-changing hairstyles. And no, that’s not a sexist thing. It’s just that hair is an obvious focal point that politicians generally keep the same; think Reagan or Bill Clinton or Obama. Hers is fluid.
“Posture is an important element of how I caricature a personality. Trump’s is very Mussolini-like; Hillary is much more Nixonian — scowly and hunched.”
SIGNE WILKINSON (Philly.com):
“The key aspect to Clinton: Her ability to get tied up in all the careless mistakes she’s made, no matter how small.”
MATT WUERKER (Politico):
“For the cartoonists, this election presents us with an embarrassment of riches. … Hillary comes down to her inscrutable smile. She has a nice smile and friendly dimples and cheeks that pop out when she does smile. It’s just that there’s something about it. … It doesn’t seem entirely genuine. Maybe decades on the public stage does this to someone, but it seems forced, practiced and somehow not entirely honest.”
ADAM ZYGLIS (Buffalo News):
“Hillary has a wider range of qualities worthy of caricature [than Trump]. I’m most intrigued by her half-grin of irritated cockiness she gives with her head slightly raised. The challenge in depicting Hillary is capturing her likeness throughout many looks — from her robotic exuberance to her stern calculation.”
Heads of State: The 15-step guide to caricaturing your very own Hillary Clinton!