Ted Rall, a veteran political cartoonist of 25 years, has been quite critical of President Barack Obama — but his barbs don't originate from the ideological place you might assume.
Rall's Obama slams actually come from the "progressive end of the political spectrum," according to TheWrap, aimed at the president essentially for not being liberal enough.
Indeed, a recent Rall cartoon slams Obama for not honoring his promise to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan by 2014 (with a little bit of Obamacare humor thrown in for comparison):
But this very cartoon is what sparked accusations of racism from a liberal blog that Rall contributes to...none other than Daily Kos.
Daily Kos did not immediately respond to TheWrap's request for comment, but Rall posted on his blog what he said is a message from Daily Kos, which said his depiction of Obama as "ape-like is intolerable."
“Through British and American history, blacks have been subjected to racist depictions of themselves as monkeys and apes,” the message reads. “No excuse is acceptable for replicating that history.” The message threatens to revoke Rall's posting privileges if it happens again.
And Rall is fuming.
“It’s the height of arrogance and authoritarianism to ask me to change the way that I depict the president,” Rall told TheWrap. “I’ve been doing this since 1987 and I’ve earned the right to not be branded a racist. If you’re going to take issue with the way I draw the president, fine. If you’re going to call me a racist, f*** you.”
“I don’t do it to demean Obama personally,” Rall said. “I don’t give a s**t that Obama’s black. My criticism is motivated from the policy. I consider him a right-winger. In my analysis, most of the people on the right who criticize him are motivated by racism, because I don’t see what they would dislike about his policies. He’s a political conservative.”
Rall’s work is syndicated in more than 100 newspapers nationally, TheWrap reported, but Rall didn't get paid for posting his cartoons on Daily Kos. For Rall, the upside since he started posting on Daily Kos over last couple of months was that exposure might move traffic to his blog, where he discussed the dust-up under the headline "I have been censored by Daily Kos."
In an interview with Steve Malzberg (below) Rall discussed his cartoon, liberal/Democratic politics and the media, specifically the treatment Obama gets versus other presidents...and offers an incredible prediction of what might happen if Hillary Clinton is nominated in 2016.
"It's not a secret that most editors and producers are Democrats, and this president really gets away with a lot more than previous presidents, and I would say he gets away with more than Clinton did," Rall told Malzberg. "The media is ... significantly softer on Democrats than Republicans, and this president in particular has really benefited from kid gloves all along, there's no question."
Rall told Malzberg that his fellow editorial cartoonists "who are liberals" tend to draw Obama "like a white guy" with no features that indicate he's black "or they try not to draw him at all because they're afraid of being the center of this kind of controversy."
More from TheWrap:
Rall said he has been drawing the president since 2006, but settled on a way of caricaturing him in 2009 when he won the White House. He said he has a very simple drawing style and that certain facial features in his version of Obama, such as the president’s outsize nose, have turned up on white characters.
“My Obama has only been seen in several thousand comic strips in hundreds of newspapers, so I guess the two thousandth is the charm,” Rall quipped to TheWrap. “They’ve unmasked my careful campaign of racism.”
“I tend to draw guys ugly,” he added. “It’s how I drew Bush.”
Rall called Daily Kos' chastisement a “seventh-grade history lesson” on racism and said the site is simply falling prey to political correctness on overdrive.
“It’s not a left thing,” Rall told TheWrap. “It’s a squishy liberal thing and it’s not an accusation that should be tossed around lightly. It can really tarnish you and it’s f***ing unfair.”
Featured image via Universal U Click/Rall.com