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February 6, 2012

Drudge, Tea Party Impressionism and the “Fine Art” of Obama Bashing

With news outlets so reliant upon either photojournalists or Photoshop for their visual content, it’s uncommon for an oil painting to find its way onto the front page. Yet for the second time now, and with Matt Drudge providing exposure, Utah artist Jon McNaughton – whose paintings often depict what he describes as “religious and patriotic subjects” – reminds us that the painter’s brush can still drive a story.

McNaughton’s latest painting, “The Forgotten Man,” turns one of the Tea Party’s favorite verbal punch lines – that Barack Hussein Obama is trampling the U.S. Constitution – into a feast for the eyes.

It’s not enough for McNaughton to choose James Madison (the solomonic political genius whose constitutional compromise established African slaves as 3/5 human) as the one who is most distraught at seeing 3/5 of Obama’s shoe stepping on the sacred document. Nor is it enough that McNaughton’s forgotten man be a despondent white male. As a visual nod to Obama’s progressive (read: “unconstitutional”) genealogy, McNaughton depicts Bill Clinton and the two Roosevelts, Franklin and Teddy, in supportive applause.

“The Forgotten Man” isn’t about history, though. Rather it gives us a candid view of the version of history that energizes the Tea Party imagination. No surprise, then, that it’s the painter’s brush – not the camera – that brings us this image of how things are.

– Phil Perdue

(painting: Jon McNaughton)

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