Mike Luckovich, Russiagate, and Liberal Xenophobia

When I saw this cartoon by Mike Luckovich I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of a name “Luckovich” is. It sounds vaguely Eastern European, and yet here he is not only accusing Russians of colluding with Nazis but also of being Slavic subhumans. Note the tiny skull. Phrenology lives.

I couldn’t help but think of this 19th Century cartoon by Thomas Nast, the German born cartoonist who worked in the late 19th Century. Nast was a radical Republican who passionately hated racism against black people. Yet he also depicted the Irish as sub-human apes. Liberal racists against racism! Some things never change I guess.

It’s also pretty striking just how much the artistic standards of cartoonists have gone done over the past 150 years. In the 19th Century cartoonists like Nast and Gustav Dore were genuine artists. Now editorial cartoonists just scratch any old crude shit on paper and caption it with their political opinions, none of which are going to make any sense to anybody even in a few election cycles.

8 thoughts on “Mike Luckovich, Russiagate, and Liberal Xenophobia

    1. srogouski Post author

      Of course, aside from being liberal anti-racists who single out one European nationality for their scorn, Lukotivch an Nast are different. I was just struck by the hypocrisy. Nast was “look at these racists and dirty Irish subhuman apes oppressing the black man.” Lukovitch is “look at this American racists and dirty subhuman Slavs supporting Donald Trump.”

      Right now I’m reading WEB Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction in America. He goes into detail about how the labor movement failed to support abolitionism, that slavery was ended by the liberal bourgeoisie, not the working class. So it wasn’t only the Irish. It was native Anglo Saxons, Germans, and poor whites in the South as well. The Irish were singled out because they were Catholic and because, unlike German or English immigrants, they were largely unskilled laborers. The main reason the Irish supported the Democrats until Reagan managed to get Catholics on his side by supporting a repeal of Roe vs. Wade was because of the Know Nothings (who were associated with the early Republicans).

      (This is partly why I have very little patience for leftists concern trolling Lincoln for not being and anti-racist by 2019 standards. The white working class stabbed blacks in the back. Marx wrote letters in support of Lincoln. The American Labor movement did Jack Squat).

      Oddly enough, I think the English working class did more for abolitionism than the American working class. The English ruling class very much wanted to recognize the south but there were huge anti-slavery demonstrations in London in 1862 and 1863, The French working class wasn’t quite as vocal but there was definitely opposition to Napoleon III’s funneling supplies to the Confederacy through Mexico. The Statue of Liberty was originally a gift from French abolitionists for abolishing slavery. It wasn’t about immigration.

  1. John Thurloe

    What Nash was highlighting was the then well known racist bigotry of the classic lumpen Irish of New York city, toadies of the local Democratic Party Copperheads. A counterpart of the mudsill, clay eater whites who rallied behind the local slavocrats who otherwise oppressed them in the south. As in the Gone With The Wind Irish at Tara.

    Keeping in mind that masses of northern Irish enlisted in the Union Army, led upland armed resistance to Confederate rule and drew up their ranks in the Fenians. The Irish in America were divided by class, religion and race as everywhere. Considering that his audience were northerners and Radical Republicans he had artistic license to make a point that was well understood.

    1. srogouski Post author

      Nast invented the Irish/Ape image. He also invented Santa Claus and I think Uncle Sam. He had a way with making something stick in your mind with a few strokes of a pen.

      One of the failings of Scorsese’s Gangs of New York is that he gets none of the politics of the real Know Nothings and the Irish at the time. The Know Nothings were anti-slavery and pro-feminist, believe it or not. They were xenophobic liberals.

      Scorsese paints Bill the Butcher as pro-slavery and the Know Nothings as Proto-Trumpist.

  2. John Thurloe

    The American Party or ‘know-nothings’ were defined mostly by their xenophobic hostility to the huge influx of poor, urban Irish. But also because they were Catholic in a nation totally dominated by firm Protestantism. With the founding of the Republican Party, much of the know-nothings slid over to that camp. BUT, they had no liking at all for blacks. They were free-soilers, like Lincoln (who kept his distance from them politically). They were opposed to the slavocracy which oppressed individual free farmers and craftsmen and merchants. This lot – and virtually all northern whites (and many in the south) wanted emancipation for blacks and their removal or colonization immediately.

    Until the Civil War those who favoured freeing black slaves and giving them some resident civil rights were few in number. Even at the time of his death Lincoln did not favour or foresee that blacks or former slaves should or would be given the right to vote or sit on juries or give sworn testimony. Things moved rather quickly though as Lincoln abandoned support for colonization and the admirable performance of black Union soldiers profoundly changed public opinion. Especially when Salmon Chase headed up the U.S. Supreme Court.

    1. srogouski Post author

      There were also some really idiotic attempts to undermine the recruitment of Germans into the Union Army.


      But the Know Nothings I believe were also the first American political party to favor votes for women.

      Theodore Frelinghuysen, the President of Rutgers, wasn’t a Know Nothing per se but he was militantly anti-Catholic. He also lead the resistance against Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears.


      A lot of pretty hard core liberals back then were anti-Catholic bigots in much the same way a lot of hard core liberals today are anti-Russian bigots.

  3. John Thurloe

    The German community in the mostly north-west was a powerful and well-organized constituency. They were largely influenced by the events of 1848. Some had serious military training. Lincoln was always very careful to placate this lot who were strong anti-slavery. Unfortunately, those promoted to senior military positions turned out to be quite disappointing.

    The glue that held the know-nothing faction together wasn’t so much hostility to the Irish or even immigrants. It was virulent antipathy to the reaction Catholic Church. Irish prods were welcome. And yes, in their open and free-soil environment there was respect for women due to their independence and prowess. Lots of examples.

    Don’t get me started on the contradictions of Andrew Jackson!

    1. srogouski Post author

      There were a few very good German immigrant brigade commanders (Willich, who was an actual communist) but no decent German corps commanders or army group commanders. Sigel was a great recruiter but an incompetent general.

      As much as I detest Jackson, I’ll take his Democratic Party over Clinton’s any day.


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