Section One

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May 3, 1978: “Dear Congress . . . ”
Washington Post

The 1970s were turbulent times in the United States. Still reeling from Watergate and Vietnam, the nation was beset by economic crises, oil shortages, and irresolution in its foreign policy. Like many in the country, Herblock initially saw Jimmy Carter as the white knight, only to later view him as unfit to deal with the nation’s problems.

In this cartoon, Herblock shows a feeble Carter caving in to Saudi demands for the sale of F-15s, in exchange for promises to increase oil production and continue to use U.S. currency. This behavior toward the Saudis not only revealed Carter’s weakness but might threaten America’s special relationship with Israel, which Herblock strongly supported. In addition to depicting Carter’s softness in dealing with the Saudis, this cartoon shows him as infirm at home, begging Congress at gun—or gas-pump—point.