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Capitol Ink: Putting a cap on 2023

The year in review as seen through the prism of political cartoons

Roll Call political cartoonist R.J. Matson references a classic 1963 comedy to poke fun at the state of the House in October, which had ceased to function without a speaker.
Roll Call political cartoonist R.J. Matson references a classic 1963 comedy to poke fun at the state of the House in October, which had ceased to function without a speaker. (R.J. Matson/CQ Roll Call)

2023 began with Republicans in control of the House but in complete disarray as they struggled through 15 rounds to elect a speaker. 

GOP infighting would continue to daunt Kevin McCarthy throughout his short, nine-month tenure in the speakership, leading to his historic ouster in October. 

While House Republican dysfunction dominated much of the news this year, other stories, — including Supreme Court ethics scandals and the blockage of military promotions — also added grist for the Capitol Ink mill. 


The 1925 Sergei Eisenstein film “Battleship Potemkin” is referenced to lampoon House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy’s failed bids to become speaker in January.

The Senate voted on repealing the two Iraq War authorizations and this cartoon from February satirizes the wear and tear from the past 20 years.

This cartoon from March was a double punch at both Speaker Kevin McCarthy and fellow cartoonist Scott Adams. 

Another mass shooting, this one at a school in Nashville, Tenn., prompted this solemn sketch in March. 

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas jet skied into the news in April with reports of gifts from a GOP donor. 

This cartoon from May sends up the mood of the electorate, and offers some potential merch ahead of the 2024 presidential race.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer’s loosening of the dress code in September resulted in some historical revisionism.

Rep. Mike Johnson had some big shoes to fill when he became speaker in late October —  but are they the wrong size?

Alabama Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville and his hold on military promotions get the satirical boot in this cartoon from November.

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