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Auchter's Art: Republicans want to keep government out of business except for when they don't

John Auchter

My wife and I have been watching the Netflix series Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Our kids were big fans of the books, so I read them many years ago. I'm happy to report the TV show does a fantastic job of capturing their dark, over-the-top humor.

It's not giving anything away to tell you that the story revolves around three orphans whose parents have recently been killed in a fire. The children are given over to an executor, Arthur Poe, who works for a bank and is to settle them with their closest relative. It is not clear who their closest relative may be. This is complicated by a bad guy, Count Olaf, who is after their inherited fortune, and by Mr Poe who is highly distracted by what he considers to be important grown-up stuff and is completely incapable of grasping what is obvious. In other words, he is a perfect example of what smart children understand most adults to be.

I can't help but to feel that today's cartoon was somewhat influenced by Mr. Poe. Once upon a time, it was the Republicans who tended to be the grown-ups in the room. When some new legislation was introduced, they would be the ones who asked, "How will we implement it? How will we measure it? How will we pay for it?" Now, of course, while they still pretend to play that role, it's blatantly transparent (especially to smart children) that most care only about their personal agenda.

So in the story when Mr. Poe is again unwittingly handing the children over to Count Olaf, it feels awfully Republican when he cheerfully tells them, "I think you children will have a good home here. I hope so anyway, because I just received a promotion. Vice President of Orphan Affairs, which means I'll be too busy to check in on you orphans."

John Auchter is a freelance political cartoonist. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management, or its license holder, the University of Michigan.

Since 1995 John has created Michigan-based editorial cartoons for the Grand Rapids Business Journal, the Grand Rapids Press, and MLive Newspapers. His cartoons are currently featured at MichiganPublic.org and are syndicated to newspapers through the Michigan Press Association. John is an active member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. You can view an archive of his editorial work and other cartoons at Auchtoon.com.
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