Dwane Powell's cartoon from November 12 satirizes modern American election campaigns, and especially the role of hired political consultants. The politician on the left is relieved ("Whew!") to have won the election, thanks to the special equipment provided by the consultant. On top of the politician's head is an arrow-shaped windvane marked "polls"; his program and strategy are shaped by a constant inflow of information from the polls of potential voters commissioned by his advisor. The shifting winds of popular opinion determine the direction taken by the ever-campaigning pol.
A politician has to address the public yet avoid offending people, so it helps to keep public statements vague and free of detail - lacking in "substance". The consultant has helpfully rigged up a "substance muffler" for the politician to speak through. As Americans will immediately note, it looks like the muffler of a car.
Recent years have witnessed a surge in "negative cam-paigning": politicians fling mud at each other instead of presenting positive programs. Our politician has been equipped with "mud flaps" that hang from his belt - implying that many of the attacks he must defend himself against are "below the belt", i.e. unfair or perhaps involving sexual innuendo.
Finally, campaigns demand heaps of money these days: TV ads are not cheap to design or to broadcast ad nauseam. To measure the cashflow, the politician has a money meter on his back that the consultant can see as he uses the steering wheel to direct his client.
Though our lawmaker is tired after the campaign, he will have little rest. As the consultant points out, it's already time to gear up for the next campaign, presumably by collecting cash for the war chest - and we see that the advisor is busy working the gear stick.(W.D.White)