The other main "conservative" comic strip out there is "Mallard Fillmore". Personally, I've always thought that strip lacks one thing I normally look for in my comics -- humor. Our local Boise newspaper has been running Mallard Fillmore alongside Doonesbury on the editorial page for some time; I've always hoped that Day By Day would try to make the transition to hard copy, and hopefully replace the duck here. However, our paper, the Idaho Statesman, is a little bit "slow" when it come to web-based content (the few "blogs" they have on the paper's website don't even allow comments or have blogrolls; of course, we in Idaho are spoiled by the excellent Huckleberries Online up in the northern part of the state), so I didn't expect them to be an early Day By Day adopter.
Therefore, I was happily surprised today when I saw in my morning paper that Day By Day had replaced Mallard Fillmore on the "right" side of the editorial comic strips; the change was accompanied by an explanation that they were testing the new strip. I figured that everyone would immediately recognize the superiority of the new offering.
I guessed wrong. Kevin Richert, the Statesman's editorial page editor, posted on his blog today that the initial response he had gotten was negative -- the people who were writing in wanted the duck back:
One e-mailer suggested we're dumping the duck in an attempt "to enforce your liberal agenda on us even more." (Not so. "Day by Day" actually strikes me as a pretty good counter to "Doonesbury.")Thinking about it more carefully, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. Idaho has a lot of "Bill Sali Republicans" (represented in the Idaho blogosphere by Trish and Halli) who share the following characteristics: they generally lack military experience, have a pathological distrust of the U.S. government (to the point where they think that President Bush is trying to give away our sovereignty to a "North American Union" and that he ordered the 9/11 attacks), and lack a sense of humor. I figure these are the types of people who would oppose Day By Day and would want to keep the duck.
One e-mailer suggested we were caving in to a couple of milquetoast critics who don't like "Mallard." (Also not so. We've run "Mallard" for a shade over a year, and I've been surprised at the number of calls and e-mails I've gotten criticizing the strip. No scientific polling, but "Mallard's" negative approval rating seems to run much higher than "Doonesbury.")
Anyway, I'm hoping you give "Day by Day" a close look; as we've said, this is a trial run. Just judge it on its merits and give it a fair shot. I'll look forward to hearing from you.
If you live in southwestern Idaho and don't consider yourself to be this kind of person, I urge you to contact Kevin Richert at the Statesman and tell him to keep Day By Day. If you're a liberal, I'm sure you won't, because Day By Day presents the conservative case much more effectively than Mallard Fillmore ever could. However, if you're not a liberal, and you have a sense of humor, you'll want to send that E-mail.
Update 0029 04 Jun: Adam defends the duck! He indicates that he, if fact, does have a sense of humor, but likes Mallard Fillmore anyway. He also risks his membership in the 101st Fighting Keyboardists by saying he doesn't like Day By Day. Completely absent is any indication that his sense of humor extends to understanding the concept of "sarcastic hyperbole" with respect to my description of "Bill Sali Republicans". (He didn't seem to understand my "SPUD-LIB Initiative" either, so he's consistent. An alternate explanation is that, as I've suspected for a while, I'm just not that funny. I think the latter is more likely.)