I interrupt the promised weekend of old stories with a transcript of the CNN interview with Aaron McGruder. You know I think cartoonists have a gift for saying a lot in a very small space, so:
AARON BROWN: We’re joined by Aaron McGruder. His cartoon, “The Boondocks,” is syndicated most days in over 300 newspapers, but sometimes a few less, depending on the material. Good to see you.
BROWN: All right. Two sentences: who won the debate? You’re going to say this.
MCGRUDER: Kerry. He got his ass whooped.
BROWN: Who did?
MCGRUDER: Kerry. I’m sorry. No, I’m sorry. George Bush.
BROWN: You set that whole line up, and then you blew it.
MCGRUDER: I did. No, it was — it was a very clear victory. You know, what bothers me about shows like this, and all the news shows, after Bush talks I hear all these smart people completely ignoring the elephant in the room. And the elephant in the room, which nobody wants to say, is that Bush is not a smart man. He can’t articulate well. He doesn’t speak in complete sentences.
BROWN: Well…
MCGRUDER: And everyone just ignores it, like that’s OK.
MCGRUDER: But he’s really dumb.
BROWN: OK. That’s a different thing. Let’s say he is not articulate. And I think they would concede he’s not the most articulate guy on the planet. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t have convictions. It doesn’t mean he believes in some things. It doesn’t necessarily mean he’s wrong. It just means he can’t express himself.
MCGRUDER: But beliefs don’t mean anything if you’re stupid. And not only that, but he — it’s almost as though he’s talking to the dumbest segment of society, whereas Kerry…
BROWN: Aaron, don’t you think that’s an incredibly arrogant way to look at the world?
MCGRUDER: It’s — you know, it’s real, you know? It’s just that nobody is saying the obvious, which is the man is not smart and he’s the president.
BROWN: I wouldn’t say that…
MCGRUDER: Everybody knows it, but nobody is saying it.
BROWN: What does that say, then, about the 52 or three or one, or maybe it’s 49.5 tonight, percent of the country that not only believes he is smart enough to run the country now but should be the guy to run the country for the next four years?
MCGRUDER: I think they have been woefully misled. I think — I think Americans have a natural inclination, like all people around the world, to believe that their government is not corrupt, that the people are fair and smart and they’re not lying to them. And history doesn’t prove that out. And current events doesn’t prove that out. The American people have been lied to, and it’s at the point now where I think that that percentage of people simply are not interested in the truth. They don’t want to go down the road the thought that the president, one, is not intelligent; and two, the people behind the president who are intelligent are deliberately lying and misleading the American people constantly.
BROWN: Let me see — let me see how cynical you are.
BROWN: Do you believe that a Kerry presidency would be there — would be more honest, or is this a corruption, in your view, of the entire establishment?
MCGRUDER: I — I don’t blame it — I mean, to say the establishment is oversimplified. I think that the institution of journalism has failed in its responsibility to hold the government accountable. The government’s doing what it’s supposed to do when left unchecked. I do think Kerry would be better than Bush. I think he would be more honest. I think he would be more intelligent. But that’s — everybody knows that already. That’s not really in anyone’s debate. It’s just people have picked a side. It’s — you know, it’s like, you know — it’s the kind of weird God people in the middle of America, the people that live on the coasts fly over. We don’t talk to those people. We don’t understand those people, and they don’t understand us. But nobody just says the obvious, that their president can’t articulate himself and is dumb. And it drives me nuts.
BROWN: I got all that.
MCGRUDER: There you go.
BROWN: Nice to meet you.
MCGRUDER: It is a pleasure. Thank you for having me on.
BROWN: Come back, too.
MCGRUDER: If you let me.
BROWN: I will. We’re equal opportunity around here.
MCGRUDER: There you go.
BROWN: In every respect. Thank you.

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