Recently, Mitt Romney has been harshly criticized in the media over his comments to a group of fundraisers labeling 47 percent of Americans as “lazy” and “entitled” to government support (view all our Romney gaffe cartoons). In an attempt to sidestep criticism, Romney recently called out President Obama for his desire to “redistribute” wealth, something of a dog-whistle to conservatives convinced Democrats are modern day socialists. Here is my cartoon:
I thought the classic phrase “the Emperor has no clothes” worked well visually for the point I was trying to convey, but it occurred to me afterwards that by drawing Romney naked, I omitted something important that is at the core of his beliefs – the religious “garments” he wears as underwear.
For Mormons, these temple “garments” are a special piece of clothing worn to represent a symbolic gesture of the promises they have made to God, and are seen as either a symbolic or literal source of protection from the evils of the world.
There’s a long tradition among editorial cartoonists of drawing politicians in their underwear, but not religious underwear like this. For instance, many cartoonists illustrated President Clinton’s sexual dalliances by drawing him with his pants around his ankles and wearing boxer shorts with a pattern of little hearts.
The same underwear treatment is given to serial adulterer politicians like Newt Gingrich, Arnold Schwarzenegger and too many members of congress to list. Even Batman and Superman wear their underwear on top of their tights. As an editorial cartoonist, I cherish my right to draw anyone I want in their underwear.
Here are a couple of cartoons I’ve drawn featuring Romney wearing his Mormon “garments.” I have gotten a bit of flack from readers about drawing the mysterious underwear on Romney, but not as much as I expected: