Comparing Obama to Italian Cruise Ship Captain

Today the White House criticized comments by Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus comparing President Obama to the captain of the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia, who allegedly abandoned his sinking ship.

Priebus said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Obama was “our own little Captain Schettino,” and accused the President of abandoning ship and spending more time on his re-election campaign.

Preibus wasn’t the only person to make this analogy. Some of the nation’s top political cartoonists drew cartoons to the same effect. So is it a fair analogy to make, or was Priebus (and our cartoonists) wrong to make the comparison?

Rick McKee / Augusta Chronicle
Cam Cardow / Ottawa Citizen
Gary McCoy / Cagle Cartoons

Cruise Ship Yahtzee

The use of a sinking ship as cartooning imagery has been one of the staples of modern political cartooning for years. Nearly every cartoonist has drawn at least one cartoon featuring a ship going down as a metaphor for business, economics or even politics.

When five or more cartoonists draw the game gag, we refer to it as a ‘Cartoon Yahtzee.‘ There is a basic rule of thumb to go by, “if one other guy drew it, he’s a plagiarist; if five other guys drew it, they’re hacks; if a dozen other guys drew it, they are honoring a tradition”.

With the sinking of the Costa Concordia (view our Cruise Ship Catastrophe cartoons), several cartoonists thought the incident reminded them of the current situation with the Euro, and went to their drawing boards unaware some of their cartooning colleagues had the same thought.

Paresh Nath / National Herald (India)
Jeremy Nell / The New Age (South Africa)
Alan Moir / The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Taylor Jones / Cagle Cartoons
Jeff Koterba / Omaha World Herald