OK, we've had a few days to debate and get over it. The current issue of the New Yorker has that astonishing cover featuring Barack Obama as a Muslim etc. etc. In the fireplace, the American flag burns. On the wall, a portrait of Osama bin Laden.
In short, every major Rovian stereotype aimed at the presumptive Democratic nominee and his wife now announces one of America's oldest liberal magazines. The cartoon evokes stereotypes reminiscent of Jim Crow and Willie Horton. Whether it lampoons or promotes them is being debated.
But the New Yorker has clearly produced and distributed an indelible image based on race, religion, patriotism and an outspoken spouse -- all factors that could tip the balance on the Obama candidacy.
Given the magazine's historic commitment to balance, shouldn't the New Yorker now give equal time to the factors that could likewise define the McCain campaign -- his "McBush" one-ness with the incumbent, his age, his unbalanced temper, his misogyny?
Along those lines, we list ten suggestions that have come our way to send the New Yorker for a "fair and balanced" follow-up cover.
WARNING: some of these may be considered as crude and insensitive -- if not as downright stupid and offensive -- as the one just run on Obama. Please do not blame the messenger. Please DO send your own to the New Yorker:
10. Bush and McCain smile haplessly at each other while bailing out of airplanes. McCain's is his stricken rig as it goes down over Vietnam. Bush's is the Alabama Air National Guard;
9. Bush and McCain embrace while being married by the Rev. John Hagee, who is reading from the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion." Next to him, the Rev. Rod Parsley shreds a copy of the Koran;
8. Bush and McCain are hitting the bottle in the local bar. Bush is drinking Scotch, McCain is downing a Geritol. In the background, Bob Dole pushes viagra;
7. A police detective sits in front of a computer, with Bush in a line-up off to the left. The image on the screen, labeled "suspect as aged in ten years" shows McCain;
6. In one of his legendary fits of temper and misogyny, McCain slaps Angela Merkel, much to the shock of Bush, who is in the process of giving her another back-rub. The expression on the German Prime Minister's face makes it clear she cannot decide which is more horrifying;
5. McCain is being tortured by one of his Vietnamese captors; he looks over in anguish to see Bush doing the same thing to an Iraqi;
4. McCain looks in a mirror in horror as he sees Bush looking back at him, with a newspaper on the dressing table showing 20% approval ratings;
3. McCain's current spouse is shown hawking her company's beer in Iraq, raking in huge sums of money, while McCain espouses a 100-year war with a balance sheet showing how much that would mean to his personal fortune;
2. McCain is shown in the robes of an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, taking a fifth seat next to Justices Roberts, Scalia, Alito and Thomas, all of whom exhibit the infamous Bush smirk;
1.Bush and McCain jointly address a war council of the Joint Chiefs, showing a map of their planned attack on Czechoslovakia. On the wall is a framed portrait of Gerald Ford, falling down a flight of stairs.
As a "bonus": Bush and McCain howl with glee at a chart showing gas prices skyrocketing. In the background, their oil industry patrons smile joyously while pocketing billions in cash and gloating over permission to drill everywhere and build new nuclear plants.
These could get even get worse. Send your own suggestions to the New Yorker. They should be capable of a cover on McCain that matches the one on Obama. Seems the least they could do.