on April 8, 2003
To the best of my knowledge, Paul Conrad is the only political cartoonist to win three Pulitzer Prizes. I would really be surprised if any other political cartoonist had first made Richard Nixon's "Enemies List," then, only four years later been named to the Richard M. Nixon Chair at Whittier College, Nixon's alma mater. Conrad, himself, found this rather ironic.
Conrad was chief editorial cartoonist for "The Los Angeles Times" from the early 60's to the early 90's. In that period he created some of the most memorable political cartoons ever published.
Unabashedly liberal, he still found something about every President; Republican or Democrat, Liberal, Moderate or Conservative, that he deemed worth targeting. This book contains about 200 examples of his work, and he never misses his mark.
There is an old expression that "one picture is worth a thousand words." This observation holds true here. I'm going to try to describe a few of these 200 cartoons, but you'd have to see them for yourself to really appreciate them.
An example of his non-partisan president skewering is the cover cartoon which, drawn during Clinton's term, has caricatures of Presidents Nixon, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton with quotes from each as follows:
Nixon: "I am not a crook." --- Reagan: "I don't recall any Iran-Contra connection." --- Bush (Sr.): "I was not in the loop." --- and Clinton: "I did not have sex with that woman."
A few on non-presidential subjects:
On a drawing of two ragged children picking through a garbage pile behind a tenement building, "Speaking of child pornography . . . ."
A picture of an unbalanced scale shows a bullet on one side of the scale outweighing a huge pile of paper on the other side of the scale, labeled "one and a half million primary votes for Kennedy."
On a drawing of J. Edgar Hoover at the gates to heaven being sent away by St. Peter: Hoover, with a file labeled "God" under his arm is saying, "You'd better look at what I've got on him."
Conrad took on everyone and just about every issue, and, depending on who or what you loved or hated, you either loved or hated Conrad. There was no middle ground.