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Capitol Ink | The best of 2022

CQ Roll Call’s political cartoonist presents his most memorable reflections of another whirlwind year

(R.J. Matson/CQ Roll Call)

From the House Jan. 6  panel’s ready-for-prime-time probe to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and a midterm election that defied historical norms, 2022 was a year like no other. 

Meanwhile, Democrats continued to flex their legislative muscles throughout the year, which resulted in a number of wins for President Joe Biden ahead of Election Day. 

Without further ado, we present CQ Roll Call political cartoonist R.J. Matson’s best cartoons of 2022, all of which lampoon the events of a topsy-turvy year striving for normalcy.

As 2022 kicked off with the Jan. 6 select committee beginning its probe, Matson warned of future congressional task forces that might threaten our democracy in “Back to work,” published Jan. 5.
Matson took the opportunity to “embiggen” President Joe Biden’s vocal attempt to tackle the issue of voting rights and the Senate filibuster in “Simpson’s moment,” from Jan. 13.
In “Team Players,” published Jan. 19, Matson poked fun at the legislative pitfalls that Biden had to face from a couple of senators from his own party.
Matson had a fish tale for both political parties as they started to hook voters with viable campaign issues for the midterms in “Catch of the day,” from Jan. 26.
On March 9, Matson gave Marvel an option for a potential new Avenger, thanks to Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine.
All rise! Matson gave Grant Wood’s iconic painting a new, 21st-century layer of conspiratorial lunacy in this post from March 30.
Matson took a jab at congressional Republicans in “Safe Haven,” published May 10, as the Supreme Court prepared to leave a woman’s right to choose on the doorsteps of state legislatures.
Matson helped Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy clarify his plea for more swift and substantial aid in “With all deliberative speed,” published May 12.
In May 19’s “Bipartisan baby caucus,” the baby formula crisis was raging, and Matson heard the cries from lawmakers on the issue.
And then Uvalde happened. In “Second Amendment remedy,” posted May 26, Matson ridiculed Republicans’ “solution” to stopping gun violence.
Calling Chevy Chase! In “Evoking Gerald Ford,” published June 23, Matson took readers back to the mid-1970s, when inflation was sky high and an accident-prone president occupied the Oval Office. Oh, wait — he was talking about 2022.
Matson highlighted the cartoonish futility of working for and defending former President Donald Trump in July 13’s “J-6 Minions.”
Following more Jan. 6 panel testimony, Matson skewered the Secret Service, whose agents are supposed to provide cover for the president but not a cover-up, in “Top Secret Service,” published July 19.
The Jan. 6 panel’s hearings aptly competed with the summer’s blockbuster entertainment, and in July 21’s “Duty to Watch,” Matson called on members of a certain party to actually watch that night’s big prime-time event.
Just before the August recess, Democrats were ready to pass their Inflation Reduction Act, and in “Sunset Sinema,” from Aug. 3, one senator was ready for her close-up.
Remember when Trump used to boast how, under his administration, everyone would be tired of winning? Matson, in Aug. 10’s “Winning,” showed how Biden could actually make that claim.
The political winds and tides shifted throughout 2022, and, with the fall campaigns looming in Sept. 13’s “Ankle slapper,” Matson showed how the big, expected GOP red wave was evaporating into a trickle.
Following Sen. Lindsey Graham’s rollout of a bill that would ban abortion nationally after 15 weeks, Matson skewered the stance that some congressional Republicans took in response just before Election Day in “Clear Choice,” posted Sept. 14.
Matson skewers Graham and his announcement again in this post from Sept. 15.
The current state of polling gets zinged in “Tracking Poll,” from Oct. 4, just weeks before the election and as GOP voters continued to grapple with Trump’s “big lie.”
It was neighbor against neighbor in the homestretch before the midterms, and Matson showed how the vitriolic partisan divide was a sign of the times in this post from Oct. 25.
With the midterm elections just a week away, Matson took inspiration from a classic Norman Rockwell painting in this Nov. 3 post that summed up Team GOP’s winning prospects in the bottom of the 9th.
Matson knew the Respect for Marriage Act was coming up for a vote in the Senate, so he baked a cake for the Supreme Court in “Congressional bakery,” from Dec. 1.
Matson tweaked a classic holiday poem on Dec. 15: ’Twas the morning of Christmas, when all through the House, the GOP caucus was stirring, because many had doubts; McCarthy’s stockings were hung by the dais with care, in hopes that 218 votes soon would be there.

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