The idea is clear: Obama isn’t keeping his promises and he’s getting high and mighty. A very simple point. Yet the cartoon makes no sense. Oliphant bounces his point off the fact that Obama now has a dog and dogs leave shit around the place. So?

Obama: “Promised? What did I promise?”
Axelrod: “That you wouldn’t tread in anything.”
What? What promise was that? I mean, even metaphorically, what promise was that? Obama promised that he wouldn’t get into trouble? Like, when?
Oliphant has his metaphor exactly reversed. If Obama decided he was so powerful and popular that he could now wade into every messy issue and get it resolved exactly the way he’d like, then this idea of loftily stepping into dog turds would make sense. But Obama is now as he has always been: daring in a few big things, cautious in many others. He keeps the shit off his shoes unless he sees some great, compelling reason that makes the mess worthwhile.
UPDATE:   Bryan guides us here for the St. Petersburg, Fla., Times’ meter of kept/unkept Obama promises; looks like we’re at the too-early-to-tell stage. Matthew outdoes me with a roundup of recent Oliphants:

I would vote for something like this, if you want recent inscrutability. I have no idea what he’s trying to say here (bigots live in New Hampshire, even if they do legalize gay marriage?); the point seems to be a funny drawing of a grizzled hillbilly type in a wedding dress. And I agree, that’s funny, but there’s little point. …

But the drawings are as good as ever … look at Obama running some guys over with a steamroller, or these hideous human-headed vultures, or the big ass on the banks. And I can even follow what he’s trying to say with those. It’s when he tries to do some actual humor that he usually loses me. This one (which does have some charmingly simple depictions of its characters) seems to be saying that Rush Limbaugh is a hypocrite because he won’t gay-marry Dick Cheney. That’s silly. And here’s another bit of slang that recalls the “Texas tea” thing from a few weeks ago; apparently Oliphant isn’t aware of the term “rugmuncher”, but that’s what I thought of when I saw that one. 

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