The Sweetest Gift, by Martha Thomases
Over a month ago, I was assigned to find out each presidential candidate’s favorite super-hero or heroine. It seemed like it would be a fun assignment, a chance to find a bit of insight into how pop culture affects politics and vice versa.
Alas, only Ron Paul felt self-confident enough to answer our question. I was impressed that not only did Dr. Paul know one super-hero from another, but he also knew one creator from another, specifically citing Paul Pope’s version of Batman.
Why didn’t the other candidates respond? John Tebbel thinks it’s because the race is so close that no one wants to risk saying something stupid that will alienate a segment of voters needed to gain percentages in the early primaries and caucuses. Can the Marvel vs. DC split be so wide? Do indy fans resent superhero fans this much? I don’t think so.
Or maybe the question is considered too goofy for a future President of the most powerful country in the world. However, in the last few days, I’ve heard how the candidates like their coffee and what their least favorite food is.
I’ve had to conclude that these candidates simply don’t read comics, or graphic novels, or the funny pages. Therefore, in the Spirit of the Season, I’ve decided to recommend the following:
Mike Huckabee: This Baptist minister turned Governor of Arkansas seems like a personable guy. His story about losing 100 pounds is inspirational, and he seems, in interviews, to be a friendly sort. However, as he’s climbed in the polls, he’s become disturbingly more evangelical about the role of religion in public life, especially the federal government. It would do him good to read Garth Ennis’ and Steve Dillon’s Preacher: Gone to Texas.
Hillary Clinton: As the first woman candidate to lead the pack (Shirley Chisholme was great, but never ranked very high in the polls), Senator Clinton is a heroine to many young girls, whatever their political beliefs. I think she should stop trying to show she’s tough enough to lead, and embrace the innate power of being a woman. She can start by reading Alan Moore’s and J. H. William’s Promethea.
Rudy Giuliani: New Yorkers know that their former mayor is not a big fan of meeting with his opponents, not even to find common ground so they can govern together. During his tenure, he refused to meet with any African-American leaders, whether they were clergy, City Council members, or community activists. It would do him good to consider other points of view, so he should check out Robert Morales’ and Kyle Baker’s The Truth: Red White and Black.
John Edwards: When then-Senator Edwards brought his family out to accept the Vice-Presidential nomination in 2004, a friend of mine said, “He just won the vote of every over-weight woman in the country.” If he did, it wasn’t enough, but I have to confess to a fondness for the former Senator from North Carolina. He wants to be a modern New Deal Democrat, I think, so he would probably enjoy James Vance’s Kings in Disguise.
Mitt Romney: The former Governor of Massachusetts has a reputation amond his fellow Republicans as a “flip flopper,” someone who changes his opinions frequently. Howard Cruse’s Stuck Rubber Baby would give him the opportunity to change them one more time, in the right direction.
Barack Obama: This is an easy one. The Illinois Senator should read Reginald Huddlin’s and Scott Eaton’s Black Panther; The Bride, then lend it to Oprah.
Mike Gravel: Have you seen his commercial on iTube? He should read Grant Morrison’s and Phil Jimenez’s The Invisibles. He’ll get it.
Fred Thompson: The former Senator from Tennessee has spent much of the last decade in New York making Law & Order. He’d benefit from reading Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis for the perspective of someone who doesn’t get to hang out with movie stars.
Christopher Dodd: As the only candidate who seems to understand why a telecommunications monopoly is scary, I think he’d like Warren Ellis’ and Jacen Burrows’ Bad Signal.
Tom Tancredo: As a Congressman from Colorado, Tancredo has based his campaign on his reputation for being toughest on illegal immigrants. He’s out of the race, but let’s get him a gift suggestion anyway. He should check out Alan Moore’s and Gene Ha’s Top Ten: The Forty-Niners and see what fun a more open policy would be.
Bill Richardson: The Governor of New Mexico has an impressive resume, as an elected representative, an elected executive and diplomat. He’s also the first Hispanic candidate to run for national office. He should exploit this by being seen reading Brian Azzarello and Danijel Zezelj’s El Diablo,
John McCain: The only candidate in the race with extensive military experience, McCain stand out in the Republican field because of his hard-earned opposition to torture. I think he’d enjoy Garth Ennis’ War Stories, with art by Dave Gibbons, Chris Weston, David Lloyd and others.
Joe Biden: The loquatious Senator could use the example Peter Kuper sets in Speechless.
Dennis Kucinich: I’m sure the Congressman from Cleveland knows about American Splendor, but I bet he’d also like Harvey Pekar’s and Dean Haspiel’s The Quitter.
And for all of them, in case they forget there’s a war on, and it bleeds with real blood from real people, I suggest Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury: The Long Road Home.
Bless us, every one.
Martha Thomases, ComicMix’s Media Goddess, wishes everyone a joyous solstice.