News & Politics

Evolution of a Shrub


George Bush isn’t so much a person or a president as he is a marketing campaign—an extremely well crafted marketing campaign designed to sell us every drop of snake oil that could benefit the agendas of his mega-rich backers.

Over the last seven years, I’ve been determined to create an alternative to Karl Rove’s insidious branding. For inspiration, I’ve looked back to the way cartoonists depicted Richard Nixon, studying the greats: Herblock, Pat Oliphant, Ralph Steadman, Edward Sorel, and more. The key to Nixon’s downfall was the turning of the tide of public opinion, and I believe caricature had a serious role in this. For example, if you look at the history of the covers of Time magazine, nowhere is the president more consistently represented in caricature as during the Nixon era.

So here’s a look at how my Bush has evolved over time. My objective is not to create an actual likeness of Bush per se, but rather a graphic representation of how I feel about him. With two and a half years left, I can only guess how he’ll look by the time he finally retires or (let’s hope) is booted from office.—Ward Sutton

Ears to Ya: The most recognizable change over time has been the ears, inspired by “Dumbo” (with no disrespect to the elephant) and growing as the list of misdeeds grows.

The Eyes Have It: From the beginning, he had empty eyes. They’re hollow like Barney Rubble’s and beady like a rat’s. Over time they’ve gotten pinched closer and closer together.

All Bark, No Bite: George Bush never does anything himself—he has surrogates attack his enemies, steal his elections, fight his wars. That’s why I draw him toothless.

Read My Lip: The more lies he tells, the more his goofy upper lip just flaps in the breeze.

Well-Suited: No patriotic blue, only corporate gray suits.

No Giant, No Shoulders: Only a weak man is unable to apologize or admit when he was wrong, so I give him the stature to reflect that.

Chinny-Chin-Chin: I once read that P. Diddy feels self-conscious about his machismo for not having a stronger jawline, so I removed George’s.

Holding Back the Years: He sold his soul and it’s taking its toll. You can see it in his increasingly frazzled eyebrows, wrinkles, and emerging turkey neck.

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