Bad Negotiator

Joe Biden, a bad salesman, attempts to sell a car to Joe Manchin, an even worse customer

This cartoon took a ridiculous amount of time to conceive, write, and especially draw. I began developing it more than a month ago, nearly completing a previous draft before I decided the car in the last panel was too small relative to the figure of Joe Manchin examining it. The result was that he seemed to be focused on some spot on the asphalt between Biden in the foreground and the car in the background—either that, or the car was clownishly undersized.

There were several other mistakes I’d made prior to that which I’d mostly corrected, but this one could not be resolved without redrawing the panel and pasting it over the old one or resorting to some major digital cheating, so I figured it wouldn’t take much longer, and would yield better results if I drew the whole cartoon over.

Unfortunately, the sheet of paper on which I drew the new draft had sizing issues in seemingly random locations on its surface: some areas allowed the ink to apply crisply, as it had on the previous sheet from the same booklet, while others feathered to widely-varying degrees. This was especially a problem for lettering, which by its nature depends on sharpness and clarity, as well as the background hatching in panels two and four (but not panel three, which was weird because that was where the fuzziness of the dialogue was the worst).

I didn’t want to start over yet again, especially since there was no way of predicting whether or not the next sheet would exhibit the same problem, so I used corrective material to clean up all the fuzz after verifying that it wouldn’t just feather in the opposite direction. Probably not as much of a time-sink as creating another draft from scratch would have been, but an additional waste of time, nonetheless.

I should also note that in the midst of all this I fell off of a step ladder and fractured my tibia while rearranging the top shelf of my closet, so at least two or three days more were lost to dealing with the immediate aftermath of that.

The point of this lengthy description of my even lengthier process is that I totally missed what should have been any reasonable deadline for a time-sensitive topic like the legislature voting on a specific bill, yet our government is so dysfunctional that I’m probably publishing it at a more relevant time now than if I’d completed it promptly, even after weeks of setbacks and delays! Literally the only thing we’ve learned in the intervening time that kind of undercuts the gag here is that Joe Manchin drives a Maserati, AKA the unofficial, overpriced car of clueless, narcissistic douchebags who have no idea what anything is actually worth.

There are three major points underpinning the cartoon:

1. Joe Manchin is a pompous, malignant asshole who never, ever intended to negotiate in good-faith over the infrastructure bills in question, as illustrated by him repeatedly decreasing the maximum amount of money he’s been willing to support each time the cost has been cut to meet his previously-stated demands.

2. He’s insisted upon the removal of every component that could possibly have made the bills useful or even potentially functional to any non-wealthy individuals or community who might actually need them.

3. Joe Biden sucks at negotiating.

Remember when Biden made his purported ability to “reach across the aisle” one of the centerpieces of his candidacy? Those of us who recalled how that worked out for his former boss knew that was bullshit we wouldn’t want from the start, but after this demonstration, no one other than the most craven, delusional boot-suckers could possibly argue that Biden has a knack even for working out differences within his own party, to say nothing of wrangling his nominal opponents.

That being the case, and given his office’s evident desperation to score a win after constant besiegement by: COVID-19 infections and deaths exceeding those under Trump; his bungling of the somehow long-overdue yet still overly-hasty withdrawal of the military from Afghanistan; and employment statistics which only look good if you squint; I thought likening him to the character of Gil Gunderson from The Simpsons would be both funny and appropriate.

Based largely on Jack Lemmon’s portrayal of frazzled, past-his-prime real estate salesman Shelley “The Machine” Levene in Glengarry Glenn Ross, Gil was maybe the last recurring character the show debuted prior to its terminal decline, and his entire character is pretty much summed up by the word “loser.”

Regardless, in yet another parallel with Trump, we have a President who ran on his deal-making abilities, yet clearly isn’t any good at making deals. It’s like one of them had no carrot, and the other has no stick.

I previously noted some people’s hyperbolic fluttery that Biden would be as transformative as Lyndon Johnson, and this is one area the current President would perhaps do well to emulate that predecessor in order to achieve his stated goals: whether spreading rumors that they indulged in bestiality or wielding his gigantic cock as a cudgel, Johnson was notoriously vicious when it came to exacting concessions from his political opponents and members of his own party when they were reluctant to play ball.

And before anyone says, “yeah, but Johnson was a racist whose actions in that manner could easily have been classified as sexual harassment, if not assault,” let me just remind you that Biden’s history in either of those areas isn’t exactly earning him any awards, either.

When a poorly-carved mass of cheap plywood with an oversized sense of self-importance like Joe Manchin steps up, you don’t present your soft, pliant flesh while submissively urinating in an effort to win his favor; you call him into your office, seat him in a chair that’s just slightly too small, and tell him that if he doesn’t fall the fuck in line, you’re sending your Attorney General after his piece-of-shit daughter for conspiracy to inflate the cost of EpiPens! Then you add that they’ll also be investigating his own connections to the coal industry for anything you can use as a pretext to indict his dumb ass, too, no matter how technical or insignificant, so he better hope there’s nothing really serious waiting to be dredged up from his record.

After that, you won’t even have to threaten Krysten Sinema with anything in particular—you just go, “see what I’m doing to that scow-dwelling, ferret-faced goblin? Consider that the next time you’re about to give a thumbs down to anything I want, you curtsying, Lisa Frank abomination.”

This entry was posted on Monday, November 8th, 2021 at 5:06 pm and is filed under Cartoons & Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Bad Negotiator”

By » Mythical Goddess (November 8th, 2021 at 5:27 pm)

Amazing job on the cartoon and article is very well written.

By » Tony Caroselli (November 9th, 2021 at 12:19 am)

Excuse me. A Maserati is actually an EXCELLENT automobile that can only be afforded by people who don’t appreciate it enough.

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