The Healthcare Mess-RS Rx

AUGUST 18, 2009

I was going to wait until this Friday, when the next issue of ROLLING STONE is coming out,  to post this illustration, but as it appeared on Rachel Maddow’s show last night during her interview with the writer, Matt Taibbi, discussing his latest journalistic tour de force,  I guess it’s okay to blog about it now. 


ROLLING STONE has been on a tear for quite a while now, featuring some of the best journalism and investigative reporting that you’d ever want to get depressed by.   I mean that.  I love reading the pieces- they possess that urgent sense of outrage walking in synch with the facts.  They connect the dots.  They follow the money.  They make it clear how incredibly broken the system is.  The depressing part comes with realizing how entrenched and willfully, systemically, self-destructive the system insists on remaining. 


The upcoming Healthcare piece was interesting because of how sideswiped I felt reading the original draft.  One would assume reactionary Republicans to play the designated bad guys.  But not so, at least not in this draft.   Taibbi’s contempt was being dished out in heaps upon the Democrats, with characters like Max Baucus and Nancy Pelosi demonstrating once again why the Democrats show far greater talent at self-destruction than meaningful, beneficial, legislation.  Even with a majority now in Congress, the Democrats appear terribly uninterested and unwilling to shake up a failed system of government and are every inch as deep in lobbyist money as the designated ‘bad guys’. 

Fuck them as well.  After I illustrated the Goldman Sachs piece for RS I sold my Goldman shares in my retirement account.  After reading this piece I promised never to donate another dime to the DNCC.


My initial sketches tried to draw attention to the collective atrocity in the works, and, in one of them, it was from the patient’s point of view from the operating table.  The other sketch was an attempt to utilize Rembrandt’s “The Anatomy Lesson” to get a laugh.  Editorial felt that the Rembrandt might be too obscure and that readers wouldn’t recognize a lot of politicians from the operation scene.  It was decided to keep Pelosi and Ted Kennedy in an operating room scene along with Obama and the ever-handy elephant to represent the Republicans.  The layout size was changed and I went for something a bit more obvious and slapsticky.  For whatever reason, my pen and ink chops weren’t working and I switched to pencils and watercolor to get the dramatic effect I was hoping for.  It’s interesting.  There are times when drawing with a nice Prismacolor allows me the variety of lines and subtleties that seem to escape me with pen and ink. 

It behooves all of you to read this article when it hits the stands Friday.

I am noticing that, as time goes on, my Obama is looking less in control and more a victim of circumstance- maybe in a little over his head considering the animals he has to deal with in D.C..
As this idea was killed pretty early on I didn't go for a bloodbath image revise. I would have also taken the jackass and elephant out and replaced them with a couple more douchebag members of Congress.
It was also decided that Pelosi without her hair didn't read quick enough. The fact that I didn't really have a good Pelosi caricature here didn't hELP either. So the surgical hair-net came off.