A Cartoonish Worldview

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Conrad’s disdain for Nixon never waned, following the latter even to the grave. After Nixon’s death in 1994, Conrad became incensed upon hearing anyone utter even the barest praise for the deceased former president. “I think it’s sick,” fumed Conrad. “We know what the bastard did.” To be sure, Conrad penned his own unsentimental eulogy for Nixon: a cartoon drawing of the late president’s gravestone with the inscription: “Here lies Richard Nixon” – suggesting that Nixon’s mendacity would persist for all eternity.

Yet another high-profile Republican president whom Conrad openly detested was Ronald Reagan. The cartoonist’s antipathy for Reagan actually had its roots in the 1960s, when the latter began his tenure as governor of California. At that time, Conrad depicted the actor-turned-politician as a bumbling, intellectually deficient, and often mean-spirited chowderhead who understood nothing about the concerns of ordinary folk – a wholly unqualified dimwit who had stumbled into politics only as a fortuitous result of his celebrity. Indeed, this would become the left’s enduring view of Reagan for decades thereafter; Conrad was among those most responsible for launching and helping to popularize that image.

To be sure, Conrad’s hatred of Reagan was entirely understandable; Reagan was his ideological antithesis. When Reagan in 1973 proposed a ballot measure to restructure the tax system of California, Conrad put his cartoonist’s pencil to paper and depicted the governor as “Reagan Hood,” soaking the poor in order to give to the filthy rich. This simplistic, hackneyed paradigm remains, to this day, the left’s reflexive characterization of virtually every genuine conservative who comes down the pike.

Dutifully and tirelessly pushing that image, Conrad continued to portray Reagan as a heartless monster indifferent to the needs of the poor, a trigger-happy warmonger who preferred to spend billions of dollars on fancy weaponry rather than on food and shelter for society’s most vulnerable. After Reagan’s election to the Oval Office in 1980, Conrad wrongly condemned the president’s military buildup as a foolhardy endeavor whose funding was made possible only by draconian cuts to vital social programs. To drive his point home, Conrad asserted that Reagan had bequeathed a $2.5 trillion federal debt – presumably created by unnecessary military expenditures – to “our children, and to their children and to their children’s children.” To further illustrate Reagan’s alleged simplicity, Conrad in one notable cartoon depicted the president immersed and playing contentedly in a bathtub filled with toy warships bobbing in the water.

When it came to international conflicts involving the United States, Conrad generally could be counted upon to view America as the antagonist. The last “good war” the U.S. fought, said Conrad, was World War II. Not surprisingly, Conrad’s blame-America-first impulse extended also to our country’s closest ally in the Mideast, Israel, which he depicted as an egregious abuser of human rights. Casting the Jewish state as an agent of mass murder, in the early 1980s Conrad drew a Star of David formed by the corpses of Palestinian men, women and children. In a 2002 cartoon, Conrad showed an Israeli airplane flying directly toward a pair of high-rise mosques bearing an unmistakable resemblance to the Twin Towers that had once stood in lower Manhattan.

During his 43 years as an editorial cartoonist, Paul Conrad did his utmost to advance a leftist worldview among his exceptionally large audience. Now he is gone, but his corrosive legacy lives on.

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  • "gunner"

    typical exemplar of the left. bitter, angry and full of hate, and ugly in his soul.he will not be missed.

  • Seek

    Paul Conrad was as dogmatic as any moralizer, Right or Left, ever could be. As a political cartoonist, he was so far to the left that he made the late Herb Block (Washington Post) look like Ronald Reagan. The L.A. Times was much for the poorer for ever having hired this clown.

  • Dennis X

    He drew the truth and he will be greatly missed.

    • johnnywood

      Conrad and Nixon are probably cursing each other in Hell right now. They deserve each other.

    • lee Poteet

      The Truth? Like most hateful leftists, he never knew the truth – only what he wanted it to be!

      Haters – and he was that before anything else – can never come close to the truth.

  • Davidka

    Conrad's viciousness was exceeded only by his bigotry. His anti-Israel cartoons often degenerated from mere falsehood and spite into open anti-Semitism. He and the Los Angeles Times were surely meant for each other.

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Maybe it's just bad luck but every Conrad I ever met was
    a radical con……….picture that!…………………………………William

  • cynthia curran

    Actually, Dick Nixon wasn't that bad, he killed the career of Alger Hiss who was a communist spy . One reason why Richard Nixon, a liberal Republican was hated out by the left thru out his career.

  • Kris

    Yeah, Conrad drew the truth . . . right after he made it up out of whole cloth!

  • Biblioholic Bill

    He didn't draw his cartoons, he vomited them.
    The foul odors of his slanderous bilge permeated the Left's insane Zeitgeist.
    He was the vilest, most poisonously slanderous, most hate-curdled bigot whom the benighted Times ever inflicted upon this sorry world.
    When he retired, Earth's sewage load got much lighter.