Obama to US Political Cartoonists: Drop Dead!

In my capacity as president of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists, I repeatedly issued invitations to President-Elect Obama to deliver the keynote address at our 2009 annual convention in Seattle. Past speakers have included heads of state and the AAEC has often been invited to meet with previous US presidents.

Barack Obama, apparently, does not think we deserve his presence. In fact, he doesn’t think editorial cartoonists even deserve a personal rejection letter. Apparently, he doesn’t even know who the fuck we are–America’s preeminent and most widely-read satirists.

Check out this form rejection letter I received after my latest inquiry through Obama’s Transition Office website, Change.gov:

Dear Ted Rall,

Thank you for inviting President-elect Obama to your event.

The President-elect values each and every invitation, but due to his time constraints, he must decline the majority of invitations he receives. We have reviewed your invitation, and unfortunately, he will be unable to participate in your event.

Nevertheless, we hope that you will remain engaged in our emerging administration as you are the key individuals pushing our movement forward. As Barack said in announcing his candidacy, “[T]his campaign can’t only be about me. It must be about us – it must be about what we can do together. This campaign must be the occasion, the vehicle, of your hopes, and your dreams. It will take your time, your energy, and your advice – to push us forward when we’re doing right, and to let us know when we’re not.”

Thank you again for your interest and your understanding.

Sincerely,
The Obama-Biden Transition Project
Scheduling Team

Please note that replies to this email will not be answered

In this case, I’m going to with “not.”

Just to be clear: If he’s busy next Fourth of July, that’s cool. The point is, the least the Obama “team” could have done was to call me or issue a personal letter or offer a different date.

Let’s hope he doesn’t treat foreign leaders this rudely.

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31 Responses to “Obama to US Political Cartoonists: Drop Dead!”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    No offense but I’d rather Obama work on fixing a few things with this country than hang out with a bunch of cartoonists.

  2. Susan Stark Says:

    Looks like you’re going to have to pull out all the stops, Ted.

  3. Susan Stark Says:

    Looks like you’re going to have to pull out all the stops, Ted.

  4. Ted Rall Says:

    I dunno, Anonymous…I bet Barack will do lots of non-essential stuff as prez: meet with fundraisers, watch sports, etc.

    When I was growing up, meeting with the press was something presidents were expected to do.

    Also, I didn’t expect Obama to personally call me. I expected him to have someone on his staff–one of his hundreds of staffers–take one fucking minute to dash off a real email.

    Maybe he won’t have time to meet with reporters, either, what with all the problems he has to deal with. Lords knows he’ll have his hands full, since he hasn’t appointed anyone qualified to actually solve any of the problems we face.

  5. The Reverend Mr. Smith Says:

    Should have given Him a donation.

    The fact that I didn’t vote for Bob Barr is starting to weigh on my conscience. You don’t know me, so you don’t know how strange that is.

  6. abyss123 Says:

    The guy has been more visible to the press since election day than Bush has been his second term. The economy is tanking, healthcare is dismal and, whether you like it or not, we are stuck in the middle of 2 f*cking wars. With all of this on the plate and the possibility that W will screw things up even more before Jan. 20, you are whining that you didn’t get more than a form letter. Be honest, would you give a personal reply to someone who is attacking your work before you even start a job? Get over yourself.
    By the way, I love the “Hello Kitten” theme. It says more about his supporters than the man, though.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    The appointment of a neo-conservative like Tom Daschle does not bode well.

    Good Luck With the Cartooning Ted.
    Events will probably keep scripting themselves for you. Thats what it looks like. 😀

    Y_S
    Pakistan

  8. Anonymous Says:

    The appointment of a neo-conservative like Tom Daschle does not bode well.

    Good Luck With the Cartooning Ted.
    Events will probably keep scripting themselves for you. Thats what it looks like. 😀

    Y_S
    Pakistan

  9. AdamSmith Says:

    I wish he would speak at every event he is invited to. And that goes for the rest of those ass-hats in DC. Their too dangerous when they are working.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    What a whiny bitch-fest. Jeez, brother, he’s only inherited the biggest mess in recent political memory. Following on the heels of the most disasterous presidency in US history has to be a somewhat daunting task. I have little doubt they’re pretty busy trying to puzzle out a way to at least appear as though they’re gunning for change. It’s got to be a challenge with the Democratic Party demanding all these key positions from their Poster Boy. Now, I’m not an Obama fan, like you I was an Edwards supporter, but it’s kind of looking like Obama is just a smarter version of Bush himself; that is to say a puppet. Give him some time to actually BECOME president before you go hounding him for not attending your little soiree. It’s not like giving a keynote address to cartoonist is going to repair Bush’s economic mess.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    What a whiny bitch-fest. Jeez, brother, he’s only inherited the biggest mess in recent political memory. Following on the heels of the most disasterous presidency in US history has to be a somewhat daunting task. I have little doubt they’re pretty busy trying to puzzle out a way to at least appear as though they’re gunning for change. It’s got to be a challenge with the Democratic Party demanding all these key positions from their Poster Boy. Now, I’m not an Obama fan, like you I was an Edwards supporter, but it’s kind of looking like Obama is just a smarter version of Bush himself; that is to say a puppet. Give him some time to actually BECOME president before you go hounding him for not attending your little soiree. It’s not like giving a keynote address to cartoonist is going to repair Bush’s economic mess.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    It is indeed shocking that a guy you’re already comparing to Hitler before he even takes office would’nt want to break bread with you.

  13. Boo Says:

    Mr. Rall- while you write the amusing and occasionally thought provoking editorial, you are not comparable to a foreign head of state.

    Not to put to fine a point on it, but editorial cartoonists are not even America’s preeminent satirists. Waaaayyy more people know who the South Park guys are than know who you are.

  14. Ted Rall Says:

    I sincerely doubt that (about the South Park guys). The 300+ editorial cartoonists of the AAEC are collectively read by more people every day than watch The Daily Show, South Park, Colbert and, for that matter, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News put together.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Sometimes your cartoons and comments are funny and insightful. Othertimes your cartoons and comments are merely whiny or nasty – rather like the demon spawn of Rosanne Barr and Butthead.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    Dude, I sincerely hope you’re doing some kind of tongue in cheek thing here.

    I would also wonder how other presidents have treated with the AAEC in times past.

    What about president elects about to inherit a historically catastrophic mess? Did they take time to talk to the cartoonists of the day?

    Have a little humility here, you’re starting to look small.

  17. Maura Says:

    Oh Ted, you know how their schedules change. I realize it’s in your nature to be passive, but if you bug him enough…

    To the critics here, most politicians love talking to cartoonists, especially cartoonists who bash them on a regular basis. It makes them feel generous and conciliatory. They’ll practically break an arm to get a signed cartoon for their office walls.

  18. Ted Rall Says:

    “What about president elects about to inherit a historically catastrophic mess? Did they take time to talk to the cartoonists of the day?”

    Yes.

    Anyway…

    Do you think Obama will take time to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner? He will spend 90% of his time doing non-essential bullshit.

  19. Ted Rall Says:

    “What about president elects about to inherit a historically catastrophic mess? Did they take time to talk to the cartoonists of the day?”

    Yes.

    Anyway…

    Do you think Obama will take time to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner? He will spend 90% of his time doing non-essential bullshit.

  20. Ted Rall Says:

    While we’re at it, someone should tell Obama’s intern that the correct form of address is “Dear Mr. Smith.” Or, if you’re inappropriately informal, “Dear Bob.”

    “Dear Bob Smith” is for illiterates.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    “”What about president elects about to inherit a historically catastrophic mess? Did they take time to talk to the cartoonists of the day?”

    Yes.”

    You know, I googled around and could find nothing about this. Perhaps you could give some hints?

    The WHCA dinner seems to be a tradition stemming back to the 1920’s arising from a concern that the White house was going to cherrypick journalists.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_House_Correspondents%27_Association

    Such a tradition with cartoonists or the AAEC does not seem apparent. Of course I could be ignorant, but if so, some data would be useful.

  22. False Prophet Says:

    I can understand the increasing use of the full name in letter salutations though. It’s not always easy to divine someone’s gender from their given name. Especially when you’re a white North American of European background interpreting a name of African or Asian background. My own father’s Italian given name (“Andrea”, like Boccelli) is often confused by marketers with its female English counterpart because it ends with an “A”.

  23. Kurt Says:

    Ted,

    I agree with you. You deserved a personal reply from a staffer at least. This sort of “fuck off” kind of form mail gets sent out all the time and it is annoying. I put on an event in Northern California a few months ago and had asked Arnold to attend and speak, since one of the projects the event was to showcase was funded by a bond program pushed by the Governor. I didn’t get even a fuck off letter. I got nothing. The Lt. Governor, however, had his staffer call me within minutes of receiving the request and he came to speak and did a great job. Maybe you should give him a call.

  24. Anonymous Says:

    Oh wow, did you just say that you’re more widely known than South Park? Ted, what happened to you? Are you in fear for your future with declining newspaper sales and the election of a democrat? You’re freaking out, literally unraveling in this comment thread. Come back to reality. Biggest source of satirists or not, editorial cartoonists are NOT the cultural meme they were in days of yore. Know your role, dude. I’m embarassed for you.

  25. Anonymous Says:

    “I sincerely doubt that (about the South Park guys). The 300+ editorial cartoonists of the AAEC are collectively read by more people every day than watch The Daily Show, South Park, Colbert and, for that matter, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News put together.”

    ??? Can you substantiate this claim? Are you basing this off of papers sold, clicks on websites, ad revenue, or do you have actual numbers where people say they read the cartoons? Also, out of curiosity is there a sort of a “nielsen ratings” for cartoons?

    I enjoy your work, but I think you’ve lost perspective on this one. You come off as sour.

  26. Anonymous Says:

    “I sincerely doubt that (about the South Park guys). The 300+ editorial cartoonists of the AAEC are collectively read by more people every day than watch The Daily Show, South Park, Colbert and, for that matter, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News put together.”

    ??? Can you substantiate this claim? Are you basing this off of papers sold, clicks on websites, ad revenue, or do you have actual numbers where people say they read the cartoons? Also, out of curiosity is there a sort of a “nielsen ratings” for cartoons?

    I enjoy your work, but I think you’ve lost perspective on this one. You come off as sour.

  27. Maura Says:

    Oh wow, did you just say that you’re more widely known than South Park?

    No he didn’t. He said:
    The 300+ editorial cartoonists of the AAEC are collectively read by more people every day than watch The Daily Show, South Park, Colbert and, for that matter, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News put together.” The work by AAEC members can be found in countless newspapers and magazines, and increasingly on-line. Their work also reaches more demographic groups than South Park does. Ted’s assertion is not at all outrageous.

    But now that Ted’s comment has been entirely misinterpreted, he could be compared to John Lennon.

  28. chubs for change Says:

    Lollin’ at all the people in here saying He’s inherited such a mess that He won’t be wasting any time, and He certainly won’t deign himself to visit a cartoonists’ convention.

    I expect you’ll all get on His case when He takes a dump at the White House without taking his files along. PROTIP: the work done by a President isn’t like weaving baskets, there isn’t a direct correlation between time spent at his desk and concrete, tangible results. Get a grip lollll

  29. Boo Says:

    Being in a newspaper doesn’t automatically mean that everyone who gets the paper reads your particular piece of it.

    And Ted did compare cartoonists to foreign heads of state.

  30. S_A_Wells Says:

    Ted, I hate to break this to you; you are not the #1 priority of the incoming administration. In fact you’re not even on the top 100. Have some cheese with your whine!

  31. S_A_Wells Says:

    Ted, I hate to break this to you; you are not the #1 priority of the incoming administration. In fact you’re not even on the top 100. Have some cheese with your whine!

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