The General Arrives
First Impressions: Editorial Cartoonists' Portrayals of Gen. Wesley Clark from mid-Sept. 2003.
Based on a non-scientific sampling mainly from the Cagle website, but also with some from other sites.  A total of 34 cartoons were found.
Gen. Wesley Clark announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination on Wednesday September 17, 2003, becoming the tenth candidate to enter the race.  Efforts to draft Clark began in April 2003, and by September some people were getting tired of waiting for him to reach a decision.

A couple of cartoons touch on the long time Clark took to get in the race.

Many cartoonists presented Clark in relation to the nine Democrats already in the race.  Stuart Carlson shows him as a giant-sized figure next to the other minature sized candidates and Joel Pett alludes to "Superman."  Clark's entry causes consternation among the Democratic candidates according to Gary Varvel (who nicely invokes General Douglas MacArthur), Carlson and Walt Handelsman; Mike Keefe also shows Clark stirring up the Democratic candidates in a couple of cartoons (9/13 and 9/18).  In the view of Dan Wasserman and Mike Thompson Clark's candidacy provides a bit of a spark for Democratic voters.  (A few cartoons focus on Clark and Sen. John Edwards (D-NC); Edwards' formal announcement of his candidacy on September 16 was overshadowed by a meeting of Clark and his top advisors in Little Rock on Tuesday).

A second major theme is Clark in relation to the Republicans and President Bush.   The most frequent approach was to contrast Clark, the General, with the President Bush who donned a flight suit to fly out to the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003; Kal, Tony Auth, Tom Toles, Don Wright, Drew Sheneman, Chan Lowe and Matt Davies all allude to the May 1 event.

Finally, other cartoonists considered Clark himself and look forward to a Clark campaign.  In this grouping, Henry Payne and Scott Stantis addressed Clark's positions on issues, with Payne pointing out that this area is rather thin and Stantis critiquing some of Clark's known views. Bob Englehart and Mike Smith make the point that Clark is not well known.  Bob Gorrell and Jeff Danziger seem to suggest something about the character of the man.  Jack Ohman and Bob Lang portray Clark in campaign mode.  ema 9/21/2003

Long Time to Reach a Decision
Nick Anderson-Louisville Courier Journal  9/5/03
Clark, at the front door of his home, speaks to a few Draft Wesley Clark supporters outside.
Clark: "I've made a decision: I'm going to decide on a decision deadline soon!"

Mike Keefe-Denver Post  9/13/03
Democratic candidates on a stage labeled "Dem. Debate;" a man or reporter in the audience; a helicopter labeled "Clark" hovers overhead.
One of the candidates: "Make up your mind, or buzz off!"
Guy in the audience (to the candidates): We can't hear you!"

In Relation to Democrats and to the Rest of the Democratic Field
Chuck Asay-Colorado Springs Gazette
Four panel cartoon captioned "The Democrats' Debate."
First three panels show candidates coming out on stage for a debate; Democratic donkeys fill the audience.  1. Announcer: "Also introducing Sen. John Kerry..."  2. Announcer: "...Gov. Howard Dean..."  3. Announcer: "...and last but not least..."
The fourth panel shows Clark standing in the middle of the stage having parachuted in; his parachute is covering all the other candidates at their podiums.  4. Announcer: "That was quite an entrance Gen. Clark!"

Gary Varvel-Indianapolis Star  9/18/03
Evokes General Douglas MacArthur (who was born in Little Rock, Ark.).  Clark, dressed like MacArthur, is standing in the water in front of a landing craft labeled "'04" loaded with the nine Democratic candidates.  In the background is the ship labeled "USS Dems."
From among the nine candidates on the landing craft Kerry: "The General is messing up our maneuvers!"

Stuart Carlson-Milwaukee Journal Sentinel  9/17/03
A giant sized Wesley Clark, in dress uniform, and the nine Democratic candidates in minature scrunched to the side (seemingly arranged in order of their strength in the polls; Kerry is closest to Clark, then Dean, Gephardt...)
Various Democrats: "Well, um, glad to have you on board!"  "The more the merrier!"  "Isn't this cozy?"  "Oof!"  "I fully support a larger dais!"  "Hey! I was going to support that!"

Walt Handelsman-Newsday  9/17/03
Two panels.
The first shows the nine Democrats (each has a letter on his or her shirt "D," "E," etc.) running toward the left.
The second shows a tank labeled "Clark" on the left side of the panel, and the Democrats retreating to the right.

Joel Pett-Lexington Herald-Leader
The Democratic candidates are all jammed into a phone booth; Clark, carrying a briefcase labeled Wes, is to the side talking to them.
Clark: "I'm mild-mannered my cape in there?"   [reference to "Superman" and Clark Kent]

Mike Keefe-Denver Post  9/18/03
Caption: "Wesley Clark tosses his hat in the ring..."
Shows military helmet with four stars thrown into a ring and landing with a "Thunk" causing the nine hats there (including a Mickey Mouse hat, a beanie with a propeller, and a dunce cap) to bounce up.

Matt Davies-Journal News (NY)  9/18/03
Caption: "'04 Military Props."
Top: Bush waving from plane on deck of aircraft carrier.  Bottom: Democratic donkey waving from plane labeled "Dems" on broad shoulder of Gen. Clark.

John Deering-Arkansas Democrat-Gazette  9/18/03
A vending machine labeled "Democratic Snacks" has various products: Nuts, Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Snickers, Jaw Breakers, Sucker and a big Clark candy bar.

Dan Wasserman-Boston Globe  9/17/03
A variation on the hat in the ring theme.  Democratic donkeys are at a bar; a military hat labeled "Clark" flies in and the word "Attention!!" appears in bold letters.  The donkeys appear startled.

Mike Thompson-Detroit Free Press
Clark in uniform at a filling station labeled Clark; two Democratic donkeys pushing a broken down car with the licence plate "'04 Hopes."
Donkey 1: "You can trust your car to the man who wears the star, huh?"  Donkey 2: "You got a better alternative."

John Edwards
Dwayne Powell-Raleigh News & Observer  9/17/03
Inside Edwards campaign headquarters, Edwards looks over an aide's shoulder at a computer monitor; two other aides converse in the background.  The monitor shows a map of the U.S. with a storm system labeled "Clark Candidacy."
Aide: "It's just wandering around in the Midwest but it could pick up steam..."
Aide in background: "Political evacuation route?  The Senator closed that last week." [refers to Edwards' announcement that he would not seek re-election]

Robert Ariail-The State
Edwards at a podium making his announcement speech, an aide/reporter/supporter(?) at his side, and a huge noisy helicopter labeled "Clark 2004" hovering above.
Edwards: "I said, I've come home to North Carolina today to formally annou...  Dang!  I forgot about that hurricane!"
Aide/reporter/supporter(?): "That's no hurricane, John..."

Dana Summers-Orlando Sentinel  9/17/03
Reporters surround a tank labeled "Clark" (Clark is rising out of hatch, arms above his head); the tank has run over an "Edwards for President" banner and balloons and left Edwards, disoriented, on the ground.
Edwards: "Hey this was my big announcement..."

In Relation to the Republicans and to President Bush
Kal-Baltimore Sun  9/14/03
Caption: "Toy Action War Hero Meets Real Action War Hero"
A Republican elephant is playing with a Bush in a flight suit toy; the elephant is shown in six different poses making sound effects (weeeooyeeeoooorrr....)  In the last illustration, however, the elephant runs the Bush action figure squarely ("Bonk!") into the legs of a tall man carrying a briefcase labeled "Draft General Wesley Clark For President."

Tony Auth-Philadelphia Inquirer  9/18/03
Caption: "Pick the military action figure."
Wesley Clark in a suit.  George W. Bush in a flight suit.  A box is below each so people can put a check mark to indicate their choice.

Tom Toles-Washington Post  9/18/03
On the stage of a debate; a sign overhead reads "Tonight's Debate: Clark-Bush."  A couple of reporter/panelists are off to the side.  Clark in dress uniform is behind his podium.  Bush is putting on a flight suit from a "Dress-up box."
Bush: "...Almost ready!"

Don Wright-Palm Beach Post  9/17/03
An aide? leans over and talks to Bush.
Aide: "...Not only is Wesley Clark a stud, he's a real war hero!"  Bush: "Oh, yeah?  Get out my flight suit and call my aircraft carrier!"

Drew Sheneman-Newark Star Ledger  9/17/03
Clark in uniform next to Bush in flight suit; Clark towers over Bush.
Clark: "Cute outfit."

Chan Lowe-South Florida Sun-Sentinel  9/17/03
Caption: "Hole in the Flight Suit"
Bush, in flight suit, is parachuting down and is about to land on the sharp points of four stars labeled "Clark Candidacy."

see also Matt Davies above.

Jim Day-Las Vegas Review-Journal
A building on the edge of the ocean is being buffeted by a storm.  On the side is a banner "Re-elect the President/Bush 2004 Campaign Headquarters."  Two elephants are on the porch looking out at the ocean.
Elephant 1: "Hurricane Isabel?"  Elephant 2: "...or Wesley Clark"

Vic Harville-Stephens Media Group
Republican elephant holds a newspaper with the full page headline "Clark Says Yes!"
Elephant: "Sigh!!! Another Rhodes scholar from Arkansas"

Jeff Koterba-Omaha World Herald
Clark throws his military hat into a ring containing a rather motley collection of nine other hats (includes a beanie with a propeller and a wizard or dunce cap); a Republican elephant, walking away from the ring, looks towards Clark with a startled expression.

Mike Lane-Baltimore Sun  9/19/03
Republican elephant wearing a big badge "GOP Support Our Troops: Go, Military."
Elephant: "...but not General Clark!"

Clark Himself
Bob Englehart-Hartford Courant
Clark in dress uniform wearing a "Hi My Name Is" sticker; written on the sticker is "Gen. Who?"

Mike Smith-Las Vegas Sun  9/19/03
Clark on a platform, in front of a "Wesley Clark for President" sign, speaking to an audience.
Clark: "...and I have a plan to repair the relationship between Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez."
One audience member to another: "He had to do something to boost his name recognition."

Henry Payne-Detroit News
An invisible man in a uniform, name tag reading Clark, walks by.  A man and a woman are over to the side; the woman has a paper "Clark in '04."
Woman: "(Um) the General is still fleshing out his domestic policy views."

Scott Stantis-Birmingham News  9/18/03
Uncle Sam takes a close look at Clark who is in uniform.
Clark: "I got this one for being pro-choice."  "And this one for pro-affirmative action."  "Anti-tax cuts"  "No real original ideas"
Uncle Sam (thinking): "Eisenhower he ain't..."

Jeff Danziger-Tribune Media  9/18/03
An unflattering illustration of a squint-eyed Clark in dress uniform, including a Clark 2004 patch on the right pocket.
Clark: "I was drafted..."

Bob Gorrell-Creators Syndicate
Clark, in uniform, standing atop a soap box holding a paper on which is written "Clark for Prez."  He is in the middle of a desert and no other figures are around.  Across the top of the frame in bold poster size letters is written "AN ARMY OF NONE."

Jack Ohman-Oregonian  9/19/03
Clark, in a jeep with license plate "Clark," is driven by a soldier past a line of television cameras.
Soldier: "Your troops ready for inspection sir..."

Bob Lang-Inside Politics/CNN  9/18/03
Clark in uniform is conducting a military drill with four rather motley looking soldiers; they are labeled "AFL-CIO," "The Press," and "Campaign Donors."
Clark: "You will hold off on endorsements until I'm in the race!  You will not question my political abilities!  You will provide encouragement for financial donations...."  "Aneee questions?"

Wayne Stayskal-Tampa Tribune  9/19/03
Man and woman in their living room watching television.
Woman: "Oh, good, 'Patton'...I love this movie!"  Man: "I'm afraid not.  That's General Wesley Clark, another Democratic candidate for President.  He's going to make a speech."

Copyright © 2003  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action