TOM THE DANCING BUG: Great Moments in American Political Negotiation and Compromise

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32 Responses to “TOM THE DANCING BUG: Great Moments in American Political Negotiation and Compromise”

  1. Mark Dow says:

    And slavery, until the next deadline.

  2. ChurchTucker says:

    No road from New York to Hartford you say? Hrmm…

  3. Emo Pinata says:

    The current issue would be they do have the votes.

  4. Come on, Percival.  Washington wasn’t elected until 1788.  And marsupials don’t menstruate. 

    • Percival Dunwoody says:

      Ah, but George Washington did preside over the Constitutional Convention.  And about menstruating marsupials… that man is an Idiot. – Percival Dunwoody, Idiot Time Traveler From 1909

  5. fxq says:

    I was really hoping for blood spatter in the last frame.

  6. Jeremiah says:

    Amusing, yes. But I’m waiting for a comic that presents an “inside job” scenario. For example, what if it turned out that General Washington was getting huge financial donations from the Vomitorium Supply Consortium, yet pretended to be the “good cop” facing down the “bad guy” (menstruating opossum) faction? Now THAT would be comedy gold!

  7. Deidzoeb says:

    Love that EC comics font. What’s the technical name for that? I assume it predates the “Squa Tront” and “Spa Fon” fonts.

  8. chris jimson says:

    Wait. . . I thought the US Constitution was a massive compromise, just not over quibbling BS like opossums and ponies.

    • AnthonyC says:

      Yes, that’s the point. The founders ad actually, reasonable, differing beliefs, but they were willing to make meaningful compromises in order to produce a workable founding document.

      Unlike the recent crisis, where one group controlling one house of congress steadfastly refused to give one inch from their absurd demands, even though failure to reach a deal would cause tremendous suffering throughout the country for many years to come.

      • Jeremiah says:

        Many lessons are to be learned, then. First, a “workable founding document” means virtually nothing. Only the interpretations — whether they be drawn from that document or somewhere else entirely — matter.
        Second, those who (in your scenario) were outside that “one house of congress” never claimed that “absurd demands” were in evidence. In fact, all parties agreed that a purely arbitrary deadline had to be met to resolve a purely arbitrary (and meaningless) “debt” problem. [In fact, the USA controls the world's standard reserve currency: the dollar. We can create as many dollars as we want. Everyone has to play by our rules. As a result, the USA *cannot* "go broke."]As I mentioned in my earlier remark, I anxiously await a TTDB in which the collusion of two “parties” (who are really only one ethically bankrupt assemblage of criminals: The Democratic-Republican) pretends to play a good cop/bad cop routine while an ill-informed, partisan, gullible, and culpable citizenry gets taken for a (downhill) ride.

        • AnthonyC says:

          The words in the constitution do matter, it isn’t all interpretation. Otherwise why did we need to scrap the Articles of Confederation, rather than just “reinterpret” them? One of the compromises the founders made was to leave the constitution vague. They knew they didn’t have all the answers, and left a lot up to future generations.

          Other than that, I agree with you. There were other ways out that no one really took seriously, and besides, the Democrats (including Obama) didn’t seem to be trying very hard. I don’t understand the reasoning of people who think the 14th amendment lets the president ignore the debt limit, but it was a possible loophole. Or the treasury could print money (seignorage) (which would devalue the currency, but the Fed has been trying to increase core inflation through quantitative easing already). Or the Fed could lend money to the treasury and then destroy the debt (effectively the same thing as printing money). Or they could have played hardball, actually let the Tea Partiers not win a hostage situation, and let them take the blame for the damage that would ensue. Or the democrats and non-tea-party-republicans in the house could form a voting block large enough to create a more reasonable deal.

          FWIW, I think the right solution is to abolish the debt limit. Congress should consider the deficit implications when it authorizes spending and decides tax policy, not when it needs to borrow to meet obligations already authorized.

    • IRMO says:

      Yes, except the signers of the Constitution did not threaten to sabotage the national interest to get their way. 

  9. Doug Madden says:

    the most recent ‘negotiations’ more closely resembled the scene in Speed.  They shot the hostage.

    pop quiz hot shot… what do you do?

  10. digi_owl says:

    i find myself reminded of a statement from a supposed Japanese businessman.

    he claimed that the preferred to negotiate with Europeans rather then Americans. This because the former understood that a negotiation was about finding a acceptable middle ground, while the latter was all about their way or no way.

  11. flashoverride says:

    Wow, how quickly we forget you know, real history as it really happened in order to tar people we don’t agree with.

    http://reason.com/blog/2010/10/29/attack-ads-circa-1800

    http://reason.com/archives/2006/10/13/the-10-dirtiest-political-race

  12. A A says:

    This comic would work better if the all the founders had actually had reasonable beliefs.

    In real life, a lot of them had the bizarre idea that human beings could be owned as property, and they weren’t willing to make any reasonable compromises. (The reasonable middle-ground position would be that people could be owned as slaves provided they consented to it, and provided they could opt out later on if they decided they didn’t like it.)

    So we wound up with a bunch of bizarre teabaggery inserted into the Constitution, like the bit where representation was proportional to the number of free people plus 3/5 the number of slaves. Having it be proportionate to the number of menstruating opossums would make more sense than that!

    Also, ponies might be a frivolous luxury today, but before the internal combustion engine they were a vital part of our transportation grid. So there might be a benefit to giving free ponies to rich job creators, in the hope that they’ll trickle down on…excuse me, trickle down to the poor.

  13. A A says:

    This comic would work better if the all the founders had actually had reasonable beliefs.

    In real life, a lot of them had the bizarre idea that human beings could
    be owned as property, and they weren’t willing to make any reasonable
    compromises. (The reasonable middle-ground position would be that people
    could be owned as slaves provided they consented to it, and provided
    they could opt out later on if they decided they didn’t like it.)

    So we wound up with a bunch of bizarre teabaggery inserted into the
    Constitution, like the bit where representation was proportional to the
    number of free people plus 3/5 the number of slaves. Having it be
    proportionate to the number of menstruating opossums would make more
    sense than that!

    Also, ponies might be a frivolous luxury today, but before the internal
    combustion engine they were a vital part of our transportation grid. So
    there might be a benefit to giving free ponies to rich job creators, in
    the hope that they’ll trickle down on…excuse me, trickle down to the
    poor. Certainly it could have been worth trying.

    • ymendel says:

      How would opting out of slavery work? Once you’re someone’s property, why would you be given the chance to be anything but? I’m not sure there’s a gray area between ownership of another human being and being equals.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        I’m not sure there’s a gray area between ownership of another human being and being equals.

        It’s called childhood, wherein you’re simultaneously equal under the law and chattel property.

        • ymendel says:

          When you put it like that, parenting sounds even more distasteful. I’m glad I’m not going to have children.

      • Deidzoeb says:

        This isn’t necessarily the same as what A A suggested, but “indentured servitude” is kind of a partial slavery. The servant wouldn’t be property owned by another person, could give their consent to enter the contract, and there would be a time-limit for how long they would work. But I assume there was no way to get out of the contract early. Like slaves, there were no wages. Whether they are treated like first or second class citizens depends on the society.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indentured_servant#Comparison_to_slavery

        This is still legally accomplished in some countries by charging a high “job finding” fee to a person desperate for work, installing them in another country, and requiring them to gradually pay back their initial fees. If the person wants to quit, the recruiter tries to charge them for room and board, uniforms, travel costs to get home, etc. Instead of having a fixed time limit like an indentured servant, it’s expressed as fees or debts that you have to pay to your recruiter or employer before you can afford to quit the job.

    • Jimichan says:

      Excuse me, it’s TINKLE down.  We give them money, they piss on us.

  14. Petzl says:

    Ive always been amazed by the sheer shamelessness of the 3/5ths compromise.
    Somehow, the Southern states can say on the one hand, “these slaves aren’t people;
    that’s why have no rights and we can own them as property.”  But, yet, they originally
    wanted to claim them in the population census for representational purposes, at full value.

    Then again, in 1790, in both the Northern and the Southern states, all women and poor
    white males were disenfranchised yet were claimed for representational purposes.

  15. Farley Smith says:

    Its worse than good cop.bad cop.  Its more like cheesy recurring roles in the made for reality TV US Congress Today.  Faux News writes the script, and the top paying parts to to Republicans and the slightly lesser paying parts go to Demos.  The dialog is always strictly on frame as defined by Faux News.    The rich and the banks are absolutely livid that for a period of time people like you and me instructed our governement to fund the glorious economic good times that was the 50s to the 70s.  Its been downhill ever since as rich folk have done everything they can t wrest that power out of our hands.  Make no mistake this is simply about who decides where resources go.  When banks create money out of thin air they call it prosperity and good business.  When we do it via our government they have a cow. 

  16. lorinrivers says:

    I voted for Shaft and got Erkel.

  17. This cartoon is poppycock. That’s not how it happened at all.

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