Closing Years, Contrasting Styles of Leadership
Herb Block remained active into his last years, with his zeal for tackling key issues and assessing the deeds and words of prominent public figures undiminished. His cartoons about Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush highlight striking contrasts between the two: Bush, the self-contained “compassionate conservative” vs. Clinton, the initiative-driven activist. Block criticized trends or conditions that he found troubling during Clinton’s tenure: the rich getting richer, the lack of parity in women’s salaries, and a willingness to overlook human rights violations abroad. He criticized candidate Bush’s lack of forthrightness, and later, President Bush’s energy policy. Of special note, Block exposed flaws in the American political process that became apparent in the 2000 presidential election, namely, Bush’s fundraising that reached record highs, unchecked by campaign finance reform. Block also powerfully conveyed widely shared dismay when Bush became the first president in more than a century to take office without a plurality of the popular vote.
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