Straw Character

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Members of the Springfield Republican Party include Dracula, an attempted murderer, a watercooler, and an unfunny clown.
"Oh my God! The dead have risen and they're voting Republican!"
Bart Simpson, in "Sideshow Bob Roberts," on finding the tomb of a "registered voter" who died in 1909

A boxer steps into the ring and declares that today the crowd will watch as he pulverizes the reigning world champion. He then produces a straw dummy that looks a little like his supposed opponent, beats the hell out of it, and declares himself the victor. This is the strawman fallacy; a debater constructs a weakened or just plain unrecognizable form of an opponent's argument, and in defeating it acts like he has defeated the real argument.

A straw character is a caricature of a person holding an opposing viewpoint, a character the author has set up in order to ridicule a particular viewpoint.

A strawman can have pretty much any political or religious stance. Why bother addressing the real issues of, for example, firearm-ownership advocates, when you can instead portray them all as bearded, racist lunatics ranting about black helicopters and wanting to own their own nuclear warheads? And so it goes with other examples: capitalists literally worship the bottom line; liberals are all secret communists aiming to destroy morality; conservatives are gun-toting money-grubbers; scientists shake their fist at God while plotting to surpass him; the religious are wide-eyed, superstitious madmen; feminists want to kill all men; and so on. This is not to say that such extremists don't actually exist, but the straw character presents extreme or minority views as the typical beliefs of a group rather than those of a tiny subset of it.

A sub-type of straw character is the sounding board, a character who makes points on their side purely so a character the author agrees with can reply with devastating comebacks that prove the first character's foolishness. The straw character is left stumped by the author's obvious wisdom, and will struggle to reply or explode angrily to show how unreasonable they are.

Characters of this type are extremely one-dimensional. Every aspect of them is geared towards advancing the views of the author. The presence of such characters is often jarring and sometimes offensive to people who actually hold the beliefs that are being misrepresented; in addition, strawmen are very ineffective tools to convert or convince people of opposing beliefs and tend to encourage Confirmation Bias. This is especially annoying when a normal member of the cast suddenly loses IQ points to deliver An Aesop.

The American strawmen sometimes fall into one of these categories (see Political Stereotype):

  1. Liberal. An aging hippie who refuses to believe his movement is dead, a Straw Feminist who loathes anything with a Y chromosome, a Malcolm Xerox who thinks Everything Is Racist, a self-righteous hipster (or Bourgeois Bohemian if they're older) who worships Michael Moore and is utterly convinced of his/her own moral superiority, or an insane environmentalist who will do anything to further his crazy agenda. Invokes First Amendment protection whenever people try to censor pornography, no matter how graphic and/or obscene, yet wishes to purge all references to violence from our media.
  2. Conservative. A sneering, racist Good Ol' Boy who's seriously behind the times and is morbidly obese, a Corrupt Corporate Executive who only wants money, or a strict Fundamentalist/televangelist (bonus points if they're evangelical or Mormon). Takes the opposite stance to the Liberal regarding Censorship and the First Amendment: wants to protect depictions of violence, but calls for the banhammer on any work where people kiss a second too long or reveal even the slightest amount of skin. Listens obsessively to Rush Limbaugh.
  3. Libertarian. An insane survivalist with a stockpile of guns and supplies who smokes copious amounts of marijuana, or a Corrupt Corporate Executive who obsessively follows Ayn Rand, a snotty rich WASP teenager who thinks he's a member of the intellectual elite after reading Heinlein and Rand, or an overzealous activist who spams Internet message boards with ads for Ron Paul. Worships either Ron Paul or Ayn Rand, one or the other, never both.

Sub-Tropes:

See Strawman U for an entire university composed of straw characters or Fictional Political Party for what can amount to an entire party of strawmen. See also Fox News Liberal for varieties trotted out for or by the media.

The strawman is a relative of the Windmill. While a strawman is a dumbed down version of a real enemy or threat, a windmill is not at all the threat it's believed to be - if it even exists in the first place. A person who honestly fights such windmills can be used as a Straw Loser, while a dishonest person who tricks others into fighting windmills typically is a Straw Hypocrite.

Not to be confused with Plant Person.

No real life examples, please; While there are some people with views so extreme it's hard to believe they're not a joke, these people are not in themselves straw character, as they were not constructed for the specific purpose of mocking their own viewpoints. We hope.

Examples of Straw Character include:

Comic Books[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Almost every evangelist tract by Jack Chick features strawmen liberals as villains. Often he proves his arguments by having a character argue down a Strawman Political.
    • A particularly bad one is "Big Daddy", which consists mostly of a blatant Gary Stu debating evolution with a Strawman Political science teacher. Guess who wins?
    • Jack Chick outdid himself in a Crusaders and Alberto comics, where the main characters meet new political strawmen every issue who state things such as the Catholic Church is really a front for The Illuminati or Communism is actually a form of Satanism.
  • Goldilocks, from the Vertigo comic Fables, seems to be this at first, with every negative stereotype about liberal feminists you can think of, spouting Communist rhetoric, exclaiming "Oh my Goddess!" at every turn; however, it turns out it's all an act to cynically manipulate her followers. Also, she's insane.
  • In an issue of Preacher (Comic Book), Jesse was listening to a late-night debate between a Straw Feminist and a Straw Conservative which was so stupid he got pissed off, called the radio station, and used his Compelling Voice to make them confess what each really wanted. They both said they want cock.
  • The Corrupt Corporate Executive version of Lex Luthor occasionally edged into Strawman Conservative territory, though when the character actually ran for president the writers were careful not to describe his political leanings at all. Though it's worth noting that at one point, Green Arrow decries something President Luthor has done with "This would never happen with a Democrat in the White House!" (Green Arrow's own leftist strawman status is debatable; make your own decision on whether his statement there was meant as a strawman's or dead serious.) In his defense, approximately 100% of Democrats aren't Lex Luthor, so he's probably right. Although the whole "supervillain" issue is probably more relevant.
    • The animated "Batman/Superman: Public Enemies" avoids this by making Luthor a third-party independent.
    • Luthor was a third party candidate in the comic books as well if some writers forgot that in order to turn him into a Strawman, that can't be helped but the main writers on the story showed him as competing with the "two major party candidates."
  • The DCU super-duo, Hawk and Dove, were created to exemplify this trope. In the original stories, penned by Objectivist Steve Ditko, Dove, the pacifist, is portrayed as weak-willed, vacillating, and ineffectual, while his aggressive brother Hawk is the only one who manages to accomplish anything. Almost every writer since Ditko has portrayed Hawk as a thoughtlessly belligerent borderline berserker, with the rational, thoughtful Dove providing the only rational check on his action. Only rarely do we see a story where both viewpoints are treated with anything approaching equal regard, or a writer who admits the possibility that the different approaches might be appropriate in different situations. Ironically, this mainly came to the fore when Ditko was working with Steve Skeates, the more liberal co-creator of the duo. Characterization veered from side to side depending on who was doing the main plotting, until Skeates finally left the book over how Dove was being made into a wimp. When Hawk and Dove were later revived, the whole "conservative vs. liberal" thing was quietly dropped in the dustbin, and the two were recast as agents of Order (Dove) and Chaos (Hawk) meant to find a balance in tumultuous situations. Bonus Points: their father was a judge and always told them that they needed to see and understand each other's side. Later taken to extremes when Hawk murdered Dove and became a brutal militaristic dictator. And then taken to an even greater extreme during Blackest Night, where Dove I is apparently the only dead person in the entire universe who is at peace.
    • This all becomes rather strange when you consider that the peaceful, pacifist, Dove constantly telling Hawk that not all problems are solved by running around in spandex and punching people in the face is portrayed as unfailingly right by most writers, when the setting revolves around people running around in spandex and punching people in the face.
    • It's also important to remember that throughout most of the 1960s, before the antiwar mindset truly entered the liberal mainstream, it was possible to be a liberal and a hawk (as long as war advanced a liberal agenda). In fact, at many times in the past the conservatives were the ones who were antiwar.
    • In the JLU episode Hawk and Dove, they were portrayed once again as Straw Conservative and Liberal respectively, and while Hawk was once again portrayed as an over-aggressive brute vs Dove's pacifist outlook, though Hawk's behavior was tempered by his stated need to protect his brother, whom he saw as "weak".
  • The Daily Planet columnist Dirk Armstrong in Superman was created as a strawman conservative, though some later writers gave him more depth and sympathetic qualities, such as having to raise a blind teenage daughter on his own. His strawman status should have been obvious, given his physical resemblance to Rush Limbaugh. While he is portrayed initially as a Superman fan (for being tough on crime), he is the first to turn on Superman after he loses control of his powers and becomes an energy being... though in hindsight, he might have been the Only Sane Man on this subject! Thankfully, soon after that storyline ended, he was Put on a Bus and has not been seen since.
    • Some writers that handled the character seemed to think that any conservative leaning, at all, constituted being a whacko extremist. Meaning that when Armstrong vowed to devote his column to making sure a mayor with a poor gun rights record wasn't elected (at least until the election), it slammed straight into Straw Man Has a Point territory so hard that if you weren't aware of the character's status as a strawman whipping-boy, you'd have thought they meant him to be right. For extra points, he said this while at a costume party and dressed as Lincoln... the mayor was dressed as Caesar.
  • Many argue that Iron Man (and many of the pro-registration heroes, such as Mr. Fantastic) became one of these in the Marvel Comics Crisis Crossover Civil War, which dealt with superhero registration; originally, both sides were to be intended to have equally valid and reasonable justifications for the positions they adopted, but writers penning anti-registration stories kept having Iron Man—who was leading the pro-registration side—commit atrocity after atrocity after atrocity in order to make their preferred side seem better. This ended up turning the pro-registration heroes into borderline fascists who were little better than super-villains themselves.
    • This idea is left broken and bleeding on the curb when you realize that many of the atrocities Iron Man committed—cloning Thor to give the pro-reg side moral authority (and keeping the clone around even after it killed Black Goliath), setting up an extradimensional gulag for unregistered heroes, and giving villains like Norman Osbourne, Venom, and Bullseye authority to track down and "restrain" unregistered heroes—took place in the main Civil War miniseries. Which was written by Mark Millar, who claimed in a Word of God interview that he agreed with Tony's course of action, and most people in the real world should, too.
    • Euthanasia of one of his dearest friends (Iron Man), attacking Washington DC while impersonating a communist super villain (Amazing Spider-Man), hiring Baron Zemo and his Thunderbolts to capture super villains, and letting him keep them to build his own private army (New Thunderbolts), Attempting to defeat and capture Spider-Man, who saw him as a father figure at the time, for not selling out his fellow heroes (Amazing Spider-Man), Appointing Ax Crazy Magnificent Bastard Norman Osborn as director of the Thunderbolts (Civil War Frontline, Thunderbolts)... we might have even missed a few. It is safe to say the other writers weren't actually rooting for Tony.
    • Those parts weren't nearly the big problem. The big problem happened in the Front Line spinoff, in which Tony used mind-controlling nanobots on Norman Osborn, so the latter would attempt to assassinate an Atlantean diplomat in an effort to start a war with Atlantis. All of this to unite the heroes against a common threat so the in-fighting would stop, never mind if they had to commit genocide on the Atlanteans to do it. Making this even more suspect is that the author, Paul Jenkins, presents this as a good and responsible course of action, and his character Sally Floyd (a former strawman liberal), after a period of "awakening, wherein her horizons, insights, and character grows into Republican territory" applauds this as a truly heroic decision, rather than doing her job as a journalist by reporting his actions. This was the only action of Tony that was so outright out-of-character villainous that the incident has been treated to a complete Hand Wave ignore button afterwards.
      • Given the time period when these comics were being written, it sounds like most of the authors were trying to turn Iron Man into George W Bush (or Dick Cheney) and disagreed about whether or not Bush was right.
    • Made worse when the same writers started using Tony as a punching bag, for example JMS, the writer of most of the above, would later have Thor beat up Tony.
    • Invincible Iron Man has been averting—or maybe reverting? -- this trope by portraying Tony in a sympathetic enough light that it's plausible to write off his most Anvilicious moments from Civil War as the actions of a Well-Intentioned Extremist rather than a self-centered fascist prick. The problem here is that fascists were well intentioned extremists. Maybe not the leaders, but the rank and file honestly believed in their cause. Simply because you have good intentions doesn't mean that you aren't a fascist.
    • And as of Dark Reign, Stark is now a pathetic figure, in that everything he's tried to build has simply allowed psychopathic opportunists like Norman Osborn to usurp control of Stark's apparatus and become a vastly corrupt secret dictator. Granted, its not Stark's fault that he wasn't able to anticipate the entire population of the United States being reduced to having the intellect of algae, that being how stupid you'd have to be to give Norman Osborn control of anything, let alone everything.
    • Characters like annoying twit Sally Floyd, who would be an obvious strawman liberal under most other writers (If you don't know anything about NASCAR or Myspace, you're hopelessly out of touch with the American public? Really?). Word of God says we're supposed to take her seriously. Captain America writer Ed Brubaker delivered a well-deserved Take That in Young Avengers Presents: Patriot, in which Cap's sidekick Bucky points out how stupid this line of reasoning is to fellow Cap-inspired hero Patriot. Amusingly, his phrasing matched something he said in an interview word for word.
  • Liberality For All is summarized as such: It is 2021, tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of 9/11. America is under oppression by ultra-liberal extremists who have surrendered governing authority to the United Nations. Hate speech legislation called the "Coulter Laws" have forced vocal conservatives underground. A group of bio-mechanically enhanced conservatives led by Sean Hannity, G. Gordon Liddy, Oliver North, and a young man born on September 11, 2001, set out to thwart Ambassador Usama bin Laden's plans to nuke New York City. As hard it may seem to believe, this series does contain one or two strawman liberal depictions.
  • Normalman has both a Strawman Liberal and a Strawman Conservative, and they're technically the same character. That is, the malevolent, overzealous reactionary nutjob Ultra-Conservative, and his alternate personality, the radical, chaotic anarchist Liberalator. Ultra-Conservative eventually suppresses the transformation by thinking about "commie agitators", "pinko faggots", and the "death penalty" while shouting that he "will not change!"
  • The various X-Men and spinoff series semi-regularly feature intolerant, hate-preaching fundamentalist groups obviously based off televangelists and Southern Baptists with some Ku Klux Klan thrown in for good measure as villains. Several major arcs featured a Reverend Stryker becoming a major threat to the X-men. Less common, but still present on rare occasions, are religious folk shown opposing the extremist fringe. (Anti-mutant discrimination is often played to echo historic discrimination against Blacks in America. That the actual emancipation movement first took root in religious circles is not similarly reflected.) They also, especially in the last few years, represent gays, so religious persecution makes perfect sense. That's the X-Men - they stand in for every minority group ever. Any political view can be justified with the right interpretation of a religion.
  • In Warren Ellis' Black Summer, Well-Intentioned Extremist John Horus assassinates the US President, who's actions bear a striking resemblance to the accusations leveled at George W. Bush. This is treated by many of the others with a reaction generally equitable to "Sure, man, we all would have loved to have done it, that doesn't mean you should have."
  • Green Arrow Oliver Queen was shown as a hero for the people in his earlier stories, and had a majorly left-wing agenda, referring to rich conservatives as fat cats. Occasionally though, in more recent stories writers will let Queen's negative qualities such as his self-rightiousness or his contempt for aforementioned "Fat cats" get the better of him, and he comes off, intentionally or not, as something of a Straw Liberal. This is taken to extremes (and possibly played for laughs) in The Dark Knight Strikes Again.
    • Miller went overboard rather strongly in DK 2, but Queen had taken to cynically gaming the system in The Dark Knight Returns, which might explain his later histrionics as a means to keep a smokescreen up lest his cohorts turn on him like Superman had when he burned off Queen's arm with heat vision in the backstory. Like Ollie said, "You have to make the bastards work for you."
  • An early Garth Ennis issue of The Punisher had the titular vigilante (of all people) threatening President Bush, claiming the US brought 9/11 on itself, and ranting about the military industrial complex a mere few weeks after the attacks happened in Real Life.
  • Any politician who appears in The Authority will be depicted as corrupt, greedy and too dumb to live. They also will be all Strawman Conservatives - and the more vocally they are opposed to the titular group of superpowered sociopaths, the more Straw they get.
  • Silver Age comics had some Straw Man Communists, especially in Iron Man with guys like Titanium Man and Crimson Dynamo. These guys come across as cartoonish caricatures of a what a communist is supposed to be rather then part of any criticism that has any depth. Your average communist villain in the Silver age was about as deep as a Captain Planet villain. Since the focus was on their ideology rather then their characters they have remained Flat Character types and kinda pointless after the Berlin Wall fell. The focus wasn't on their ideology (which was hardly even mentioned), the focus was on providing an acceptable target for Iron Man to beat up. The writers were too lazy to think up a real motivation for enemies to attack, so they decided that the Monster of the Week attacked the hero because they were Communists, and that's what Communists do. Communists were that era's equivalent to Nazis. Considering the Cold War nearly went multiple times in real life early in Iron Man's comic book career, its not much of a stretch to conceive of an aggressive soviet enemy responding to Tony's inadvertent escalation of the arms race. That said, it was probably still overused but it was more about the status of the relationship between the two nations and less about actual ideologies.

Film[edit | hide]

  • In Penthouse Pictures' Caligula, McDowell's titular role leads soldiers into Gaul, has them cut down reeds there, and returns claiming to have conquered Gaul.
  • The American President, the movie upon which The West Wing based, doesn't mention what party the President or his opponent represent. The opponent, however, is portrayed as a pretty standard strawman conservative who sits around with his cronies smoking cigars and plotting evil. At one point he sings, "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas" when he discovers that the incumbent President's girlfriend has a checkered past. It was pretty clear President Shepherd was a Democrat. His opponent's methods were based on the Republican rhetoric of the Bill Clinton era and he was attacked on his alleged lack of "family values", right-wing Newspeak par excellence.
    • The real straw is in the misapplication. By Douglas's admission, he was playing an idealized Clinton but his "scandal" was being a single man and dating a woman, which is a lot more innocent than what Republicans will attack in real life as being a breach of family values. In real life, the focus would have been entirely on the President advocating for the legislation of a lobbyist that he met in the process of her lobbying for it. They'd have the right under those circumstances to call for investigation into abuse of power (because they aren't privy to what we know about the situation.)
  • The Contender stars Joan Allen as a U.S. Senator (formerly moderate Republican, now a Democrat, and a pro-choice atheist to boot) who is nominated for the Vice Presidency after the incumbent veep is killed. A Republican Congressman tries to block the nomination by dredging up her sexual past, but is unsuccessful, thanks in no small part to the efforts of the (Democratic) President. The "good guys" and "bad guys" are easy to spot. (Gary Oldman, who played the Republican Congressman, and the film's producer subsequently accused DreamWorks Pictures executives of re-editing the film, which came out three weeks prior to the 2000 election, to make the Democrats more sympathetic.)
  • Shoot Em Up featured both a Strawman Conservative and Strawman Liberal. Both of them kill babies, but like the rest of the movie their portrayal is pretty tongue-in-cheek. Though the Strawman Conservative was portrayed as being absolutely pure evil, and for extra anviliciousness had a monologue about how America having guns was great because it let cowards feel powerful, and seems to enjoy the idea of killing babies. The Strawman Liberal, however, was portrayed more as just having lost his way, and wound up begging to be killed as an atonement and to help outlaw guns. So it's a Complete Monster on one side versus one treated so sympathetically at that point he's almost The Woobie. Not all strawmen are created equal, it seems.
  • La Cage aux Folles, and its American remake The Birdcage, feature an obvious strawman in the father of a gay man's son's fiancée. The French version has deputy Simon Charrier being played by Michel Galabru, who turns the straw into pure comedic awesomeness. This being a French movie, Sarrier was not meant to be a strawman conservative, but a religious extremist: unlike the US and its Two Party System, French religious extremists do not get along well with French conservatives and usually French conservatives do not feel they are targeted when watching the movie.

While the Senator in The Birdcage is pretty strawmannish, it's easy enough to view it as just a sign of the ridiculous exaggeration and silliness that pervades all the characters. He's a kooky, over-the-top example of far-right politicians because the family of his daughter's fiancé is a kooky, over-the-top example of a gay couple.

    • And his goals in the movie isn't that absurd: he wants to get reelected and is facing a scandal that REALLY isn't his fault. What he's against is seeming even more ridiculous in the eyes of the American public and especially HIS supporters. If you're against gay rights, it would be bad to see your senator's daughter marrying the son of a kooky, gay couple.
  • Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay. Almost every time politics of any type is expressed.
  • Blue State is actually more politically complex than the concept (two people moving to Canada after Bush gets re-elected) would imply, but the protagonist's father is a definite conservative Strawman Political: he greets his son by calling him "Comrade Lenin," locks him for voting for Kerry, and begins to act like a deranged Bill O Reilly on mushrooms when his son argues with him, screaming out to "cut his mic," and eventually throws his son out of the house.
  • Mexican film Un Mundo Maravilloso was deliberately made as a giant leftist Take That to the liberal economic policies of recent governments in Mexico (but more specifically Vicente FOX's administration), the protagonist (a homeless, jobless hobo) and his friends several times blame "the system" and "the government" for his situation, and the minister of economy (the antagonist) in the end decides to outlaw poverty and for this he wins the Nobel Prize in Economy. Similarly, La Ley de Herodes (which is set in the 50s) from the same filmmaker has these two exchanges between an opposition party member and a strawman U.S. citizen:

Morales: Do you think democracy is the solution for poor countries like Mexico?
Robert: No no no, we Americans also like dictatorships like yours.
Morales: Is it true that your countrymen are still angry from the Mexican oil expropriation?
Robert: Well a little... yeah. But my countrymen know that one day we will recover all of that, and in time more, much more.

  • In Hiding Out, Jon Cryer is an adult accountant hiding out as a high school student. In a history class, the strawman conservative teacher gives a weak and histrionic defense of Richard Nixon as Cryer's character struggles to bite his tongue.
  • Team America: World Police features gung-ho, collateral damage causing Strawman Conservatives taking on Strawman Liberal actors who help terrorists.
  • But I'm a Cheerleader involved straw-conservatives trying to teach gay teens to recover their "true" sexuality via acting out stereotypical 1950's gender roles. Everyone in the movie is a stereotype of some sort.
  • Most American action films from The Eighties were hostile to Straw Liberal or Straw Feminist views, with two typical varieties. In both cases, a female character has a limited number of roles: Victim of the Week, Damsel in Distress, or butchy ball-busting harpy, and will never be as important to the hero as his partner.
  • Away We Go featured not so much a Strawman Political, but a Strawman Lifestyle, in showing a "crunchy" family as ridiculous and unfit parents, with an inconsiderate, rambly, condescending wife who screeches like a harpy when presented with a stroller and a husband who just agrees with everything his wife says and mumbles something about the family bed (and is entirely forgettable, probably intentionally). You're clearly supposed to be giggling along with the protagonist couple at the silly crunchies when, in reality, there are plenty of reasons to not use a stroller, breastfeed into toddlerhood, or have a family bed.
  • The documentary Atomic Cafe compiles videos of WW 2 and post-WW 2 era American pro-war propaganda. One of these scenes is a stereotypical Straw Feminist in huge glasses on a soapbox claiming that Communist countries want peace and are all-around great countries. She is a classic Straw War Protester.
  • If there's one thing that The Cell should be applauded for besides its visuals, it's the fact that it utterly averts this trope. Vince Vaughn's character blatantly disagrees with the film's overall view of treating criminals more compassionately, but his views (and any audience members who share these views) are still treated with respect by the director.
  • The movie Red Planet features a straw man atheist geneticist who offers no coherent support for his disbelief when debating with other characters.
  • The final sequence in 1936's Things To Come is based around the idea that anyone who questions Everytown's black-clad, arguably techno-fascist leadership is opposed to "progress". Not to ruthless, dehumanizing progress, not to an obsessively technological society completely cut off from the natural world (at one point a small girl asks her great-grandfather what "windows" were), certainly not to a government that has outlawed private ownership of airplanes and declared its opposition to the existence of independent sovereign states, but to progress itself.
  • In the second Transformers film, Director Galloway is the National Security Advisor for President Obama. He spends the movie making bad decisions and going against the advice of the military, following typical right-wing accusations that liberals are soft on defense. Michael Bay is well known for his support military things, to the point where he films jets and tanks the same way he films Megan Fox straddling a motorcycle.[1]
  • Pick a movie, any movie, by Quebecer filmmaker Pierre Falardeau, and you'll find at least one, if not many, strawman politicals for federal government support or anti-separatists or just liberals in general.
  • President Stone of the 2009 Astro Boy movie takes every single strawman conservative stereotype, and pushes them beyond their natural extremes. "(The film) seems to have a political agenda" indeed.
  • Much of the student body was this in PCU, but Played for Laughs.
  • Some people feel Super Size Me has this attitude towards fast food. Most people aren't going to eat nothing but McDonald's all day every day for a month. He even admits that he's forcing himself to eat large meals even when he's not actually hungry. All to supposedly make a point about how it's the restaurant's fault people get fat for saying "Would you like to super size that?"
  • One of the villains of Machete is a Texas State Senator so virulent anti-immigrant that he occasionally rides along with a group of border vigilantes who shoot unarmed illegal immigrants coming over the border. Given that the movie is a loving homage to over-the-top Grindhouse-style movies where subtlety was not considered a virtue, however, this is arguably intentionally over-the-top.
  • Arguably every character in Saved except for the protagonist and her friends (and the protagonist at the beginning of the film) is a Straw Character. Saved! depicts a fundamentalist Christian private school. Most of the faculty, students, and parents connected to the school demonstrate both judgmentalism and an obliviousness to obvious realities due to their entrenched indoctrination. One particular scene deliberately sets up the type of devastating comeback mentioned in this trope:

Hilary Faye: I am filled with Christ's love! [throws her Bible at Mary] You are just jealous of my success in the Lord.
Mary: [Mary hands Bible back to Hilary Faye] This is not a weapon, you idiot.

  • This cartoon from the documentary For the Bible Tells Me So gives us a painfully obvious Straw Christian by the name of - any guesses? - Christian.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • The global government in the Left Behind series starts out on the Straw-Lib end of the scale.
    • Edge of Apocalypse (written in part by Tim Lahaye, co-author of the above) features a senator who is actually named Straworth. He and the majority of the politicians in the book (President included) are corrupt straw liberals.
  • Ayn Rand, as a Writer on Board promoting her philosophy of Objectivism, generally made the villains of her fictional works Strawman Socialists. In particular, not only does Atlas Shrugged have lots and lots of Strawman Socialist villains, but their political beliefs are repeatedly blamed for every single disaster that happens in the story. In one episode, a passenger train is held up just short of a tunnel unsuitable for its steam locomotive, but is ordered to proceed nevertheless by a corrupt politician who is late for a rally and unwilling to wait for a diesel locomotive to carry the train through the tunnel. This means death for every passenger on board -- What a Senseless Waste of Human Life, right? No—the Strawman Political beliefs of the doomed passengers are illustrated to show how their catastrophic demise was justified, because they were allegedly each Not So Different than the politician. Even worse is Anthem, where the Strawman Socialists have eliminated the use of the word "I" in favor of "We," where everyone sobs themselves to sleep in despair, and where the protagonist is ostracized after rediscovering electric lighting both for stepping out of his assigned role as a janitor and for threatening the jobs of candlestick makers. Yeah.
  • In a particularly Anvilicious case of Writer on Board and Author Filibuster, in the Sword of Truth books author Terry Goodkind has done the strawman routine on everything from liberalism to socialism to traditional religion to democracy. All other ideals can only stand in the way of the true freedom that comes about under the rule of a benevolent Objectivist dictator. One who exhibits his fine morality with such acts as ordering the implementation of total war, and riding down peace protesters "Armed with only their hatred of moral clarity." Similarly, all proponents of religion are shown to be foolish by contrast to said dictator, who espouses that all must live their lives free from backwards religious beliefs because there can be no proof of life beyond death... Despite having extensive personal experience with spirits.
    • His strawman routine on organized sports is particularly weird.
  • Most politicians in Honor Harrington get this treatment in some way - the good guys fall almost entirely into the Crown Loyalist or Centrist parties, while the bad guys and just plain nutcases/cowards are generally Conservatives and Liberals.
    • There are at least two exceptions in the later books - Catherine Montaigne, who is a Liberal and yet not a total nutcase (though many of her views overlap with those of the C Ls) though she first appeared in a side story written by Eric Flint. That being said, Weber's more recent books have been rather more evenhanded in portraying political opposition, making a significant plot point out of Montaigne's reconstruction of the Liberal Party around sincere ideology instead of Countess New Kiev's hypocrisy.
    • Her views overlap with the Crown Loyalists'/Centrists because their views are, obviously, in the center (both parties fiscally and socially conservative, so their centrism is relative). The only way to avoid finding at least some common cause with them is to be on either the extreme right or left, and extreme views rarely turn out well. CL's and Centrists are lumped together because the Queen herself is just right of center (when she isn't royally pissed), and you wouldn't be a CL if you didn't mostly agree with the queen, or at least think that what she says goes. Even New Kiev comes off as the best of a bad lot among thecoalition government, to the extent that her partner's hide things from her in fear of her ideals getting in the way.
      • Remember also that in this setting, things such as 'universal public health care' are considered centrist positions.
    • A second major exception comes in the form of Michael Oversteegen, notable for having the mannerisms of an aristocratic twit. He's the cousin of the leader of the strawman Conservative party, sincerely believes in the importance of a hereditary aristocracy (the Conservatives' main reason for existence)... and despises the corruption his cousin tolerates in the party. He's also a very talented and extremely brave naval officer.
    • The Graysons are early on are strawman conservatives, but are at least mildly open to new ideas, and whose views shift closer to center for fairly realistic reasons (many of which center around Honor saving their asses several times, though their leaders had designs on reshaping the society even before she came along and gave them a symbol to rally around). The Grayson ultra-conservative faction are Strawman Conservatives, but look sane compared to the formerly-Grayson ultra-extremists of Masada, who are effectively the Space Taliban.
    • The Graysons aren't really strawman types: they're very highly conservative, but it's a fairly natural development of their history and the extremely harsh conditions they live under.
  • In another David Weber example, the Starfire novels (which, admittedly, are collaborative works) make it easy to tell who the sniveling mush-brained idiots of the Terran Federation are - they're the ones with 'Liberal' in their party name. The first novel written, Crusade, gives them the Idiot Ball, and it seems they're still playing with it decades later. Although the Liberals' staunchest political allies (for reasons of pure self interest) are the Core World business interests, who are Strawman Conservatives to a man, and carry the Villain Ball just as often as the Liberals carry the Idiot Ball.
  • In any novel by J. T. Edson, any character described as 'liberal' will be a coward, a hypocrite and a homosexual. They will also be ugly and not bathe.
  • Pick a book, any book (but even moreso his solo work) by Tom Kratman. A State of Disobedience is a classic study with a Liberal, Pro-Abortionist cabal led by the lesbian president Wilhelmina Rottemeyer launching political purges against a priest and other enemies of the state.
  • The S.M. Stirling series Island in The Sea of Time and sequels have straw liberals (hippies who can't believe in Evil Natives who therefore die horribly at the Evil Natives' hands) and straw conservatives (who complain about the lesbian Coast Guard officer). His other books have other straw opponents, who exist solely to make ineffectual trouble.
    • Not only do the straw liberals in Island die horribly, they accidentally wipe out the very Mesoamerican natives they want to protect (by infecting them with mumps, to which the natives have no immunity).
    • Should be pointed out that the worst of the straw conservatives take themselves out Jonestown style rather early in the first book and that the black, lesbian Coast Guard Captain is the hero of the series.
      • And that a literal hippie blacksmith is an integral heroic character in the novels, And runs a secret free-slave operated intelligence network during his imprisonment.
  • Being a staunch socialist, Upton Sinclair's books are chock full of capitalist straw men.
  • Mercy Thompson has coherent and dangerous hate groups spring up every time a new supernatural species leaves the masquerade. Often overnight. They are always religious, conservative, and popular enough to push a federal bill to declare werewolves—at this point, going out of their way to only out their everyday heroes using their curses to help others—as non-citizens and non-human. That's right, a bunch of inherently homophobic, sexist, hierarchical werewolves, most of whom seem to be suburban or rural men and their wives, who tend to work for the military or government, that's what conservative Christians would rail against. Possibly subverted in Iron Kissed, where Mercy infiltrates a hate group in search of a murderer. Her expectations and their posters bring up the typical nutjob concepts, but it's really just a small group of folk worried (justly) about The Fair Folk.
  • His Dark Materials makes out that the Church is a dominating, overbearing, malicious institution that likes to break children away from their daemons... to save them from themselves.
  • In the novel Prayers for the Assassin, nuke attacks on American cities as well as Mecca result in blue America converting to Islam out of fear and compassion for the poor victimized Muslims, forming the Islamic Republic of America. Meanwhile, all the conservatives in those territories emigrate to the red Christian States of America. It's also a possible subversion as neither of the two are shown to be working particularly well, as they are overrun with armed religious extremist militias, ravaged by global warming and are being invaded by both Mexico and Canada.
  • The Guardians series is chock full of Strawmen of every possible political stripe, including some of the viewpoint characters—the original author seemed to be trying to be making the point that extremism of any form is bad (and if that's his message he sure did it in a muddled and confused way), but as new writers came in and the series got sharkier, it just got to be straw for straw's sake.
  • In Orson Scott Card's Empire the Blue states attempt to secede from the Union, funded by a Straw Liberal Billionaire (though this was all set up by a bipartisan moderate Magnificent Bastard). Any non-Christian in the sequel Hidden Empire especially Muslims and the pre-Christian Romans.
  • Piers Anthony's Bio of a Space Tyrant is chock full of these, especially the Nixon stand-in.
  • Dante put many of his political/religious enemies in Hell.
  • Richard K. Morgan's Th 1 rte 3 n breaks the United States up into three countries along stereotypical (extremely so in the case of the red states) red/blue lines.
  • Galileo's Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems has a Strawman Geocentrist named Simplicio. Part of what got Galileo in trouble was that he put the Pope's words in Simplicio's mouth. This after said Pope had defended Galileo against his enemies
  • Senator Sedgewick Sexton from Dan Brown's Deception Point, a Republican senator who starts out as an obvious scumbag and becomes more and more of a Complete Monster as the book progresses.
  • Strawmen can be found in all manner of classical literature. Plato regularly used strawmen as opponents to Socrates in his Socratic Dialogues, making this trope Older Than Feudalism.
  • The Illuminatus! Trilogy has strawmen left right and center. In the end, the authors have an Anarcho-Individualist lean, and its representatives are portrayed as completely insane... in a good way. Various strawmen include Knights of Christianity United in Faith and Simon Moon's parents (militant anarcho-syndicalist dad and anarcho-pacifist mom, which leads to embarrassing situations such as Simon telling his third grade teacher that the US isn't a democracy).
  • Mike Carey's short story Face is about a judge from a fictional empire who has to issue a decision in the case of two desert people - father and daughter. Their race (obvious Muslim analogue), for religious reasons, uses magic to take their women's faces, which are returned to them after they're married. The daughter doesn't believe in her people's religion and wants her face back. The judge decides that this tradition is disgusting and detrimental to women and orders the desert people to return all faces to women under threat of punishment. Everything is told from the judge's perspective, making the desert people look like strawmen. However, at the end of the story, we find out how big a hypocrite the judge is when he mercilessly hammers down his own daughter's dreams about being an explorer by saying that her destiny is to marry a man and become a mother.
  • One would have to dig deep to find a John Ringo work that doesn't have one of these, usually of the liberal variety. Ringo has himself acknowledged that he has problems with writing liberals, in a panel on politics in Science Fiction at the 2010 Dragon*Con.
  • Robert Heinlein's books all have strawmen since his presented political philosophies are black-and-white. They also jump between various extremes on the political spectrum, depending on the year they're written.
    • In Farmer in the Sky, Earth faces a state of starvation due to Chinese overpopulation, while Heinlein nevertheless advocates An Aesop policy of "share and share alike," by other countries—a strawman which even the most extreme liberals would consider absurd.
    • In Starship Troopers, Heinlein jumps to the opposite end of the spectrum, advocating disenfranchisement of all non-veterans, but also corporal punishment for convicted criminals, as well as capital punishment for insane persons who commit homicide. This is all justified with various arguments comparing people to dogs.
    • In "Stranger in a Strange Land," Heinlein once again goes back to libertarian views involving a rich and famous Mary Sue writer/doctor/lawyer, protecting an even more rich and famous Mary Sue Martian/Changeling/cult-leader from a human society of fascist-politicians and religious-fanatics who want to stop/control/kill him—sort of an interplanetary version of Atlas Shrugged, along with arguments comparing humans to monkeys and God.
    • With one exception -- Starship Troopers, the only book Heinlein admitted to writing because he actually wanted to soapbox on a topic—Heinlein's opinion was that you should never be able to narrow down an author's real-world political views just by reading his fiction, and would deliberately write some books from different POVs than his own just to confuse the issue.
  • Kurt Vonnegut was also quite the Strawman Political writer - using absurdly simplistic extremes which make a strawman look like Iron Man: in Welcome to the Monkey House, he attacks population-control with a society that forces people to take drugs that kill their sex-drive. Meanwhile in Harrison Bergeron he attacks egalitarianism by featuring a society where everyone is forced to handicap themselves so that everyone will be truly "equal," with strong people being forced to carry weights, smart people being forced to wear noise-making headphones to disrupt their thinking and marry stupid ones, and good-looking people being forced to marry ugly ones etc.
    • Harrison Bergeron is most likely a parody. Unless Vonnegut felt being an ubermensch lets you defy gravity.
    • The society in Welcome to the Monkey House is not very strawman, when you realize that there really are many people who do believe that abstinence is the only "moral" form of birth control. The Catholic Church, with 1.2 billion members, just happens to believe this, among other religions. The story also has suicide parlors with "hostesses" who dress like dominatrices. It's really a wacky, off the wall story that pushes all kinds of buttons.
  • Iain M. Banks of the Culture series portrays religion and traditional societies as one dimensional and morally grotesque...in a way only an anarchist could.
    • The character Joiler Veppers in Surface Detail seemed to represent various people online who criticise the Culture as weak, spineless, etc and claim that it should have already collapsed for not following their own paradigm.
  • Cergorn, the senior Loremaster of the Shadowleague, is against any expansion of knowledge to lesser peoples, as he thinks it would be dangerous for them. More dangerous than letting them all die of plague, it appears.
  • 19th century Russian novelists, particularly Dostoyevski, are fond of this trope and will very frequently work tangents about the philosophical/political issues of the time into the dialog, even when it doesn't really have anything to do with what people are talking about. Frequently this involves having a fashion chasing idiot arguing espousing Enlightenment ideals to somebody taking the side of simple virtues of the Russian peasantry/Orthodox Christianity.
  • Jerry Pournelle's books are full of straw environmentalists who hate all science and technology. His collaborations with Larry Niven are especially straw-heavy: In Fallen Angels they impose a fascist-disguised-as-liberal dictatorship in the U.S. which outlaws science fiction (after singlehandedly causing the next Ice Age); in Oath of Fealty they are a Weather Underground-style terrorist group; and after the comet impact in Lucifers Hammer they devolve into cannibalism. The cannibals include renegade black soldiers and gangbangers and Evangelical Christians.
  • The Doctor Who book Night of the Humans is essentially one long rant about how awful and evil religion is. The Doctor responds to a crash-landed alien race on a massive pile of space-junk that is threatening a nearby planet. The chosen 'god' of the crashed humans turns out to be a creepy, creepy, clown called Gobo, who's presence and use as a very heavy-handed metaphor for all religion.
  • The Wing Commander novels written solely by William Forstchen contain these in spades, particularly of the liberal variety.
  • Admiral McAteer in the Star Trek: Stargazer novels is a staunch conservatist. His dislike for Picard stems purely from the fact that he thinks the latter is too young to be a captain in his ideal Starfleet. He can't do anything directly because he's not Picard's immediate superior, but he spends plenty of time trying to sabotage Picard in order to give him the excuse to demote him. He even develops a strong dislike for William Shakespeare after watching Macbeth and deciding that Shakespeare's message that ambition is bad is just plain wrong. In one of the novels, Picard's Number Two tries to reason with the admiral, asking him to keep an open mind about Picard. McAteer promptly replies that open minds are for those who lack conviction. The other officer immediately aborts his attempts, reasoning that people who believe that can't be reasoned with.
  • Some Stephen King novels feature Anvilicious Straw Conservatives, such as Carrie. IT also mentions some Straw Preachers , and the act of hatred that awakens It is the murder of a gay man by some violent Straw Homophobes.
  • In Death: Some characters are certainly this, with Commander Douglas Skinner from Interlude In Death standing out in particular. "Instead, he'd put in his fifty and then used that as a springboard in a run for Congress. And had fallen hard on his face. A half century of public service hadn't been enough to offset views so narrow even the most dug-in of the Conservative Party had balked. Added to that, his platform had swung unevenly from side to side. He was an unwavering supporter of the Gun Ban, something the Conservatives tried to overturn at every opportunity. Yet he beat the drum to reinstate the death penalty, which alienated the Liberals from mid-road to far left. He wanted to dissolve legal and regulated prostitution and strike out all legal and tax benefits for cohabitating couples. He preached about the sanctity of marriage, as long as it was heterosexual, but disavowed the government stipend for professional mothers. Motherhood, the gospel according to Skinner stated, was a God-given duty, and payment in its own right. His mixed-voice and muddled campaign had gone down in flames. However much he'd rebounded financially via lectures, books, and consults, Eve imagined he still bore the burns of that failure." Apparently, Skinner is supposed to be a Straw Conservative with The Fundamentalist mixed in, but even the Conservative Party didn't like him very much!
    • This is hardly the biggest strawman character in the series... that honor goes to a conservative senator in the first book, who's a literal slobbering pedophile rapist (incestuous, at that). In general the series treats conservatives as being, nearly to a man (and they're all men), as misogynist assholes, while liberals (especially liberal politicians) are portrayed as being respectable if not likeable. The series moves away from this a bit later on, able to treat at least some subjects considered conservative (such as religion) with respect, but at the same time goes back to referring to the conservative political party as the Republicans.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Glee:
  • All in The Family had the character Archie Bunker, who was created by producer Norman Lear to be a Neanderthalesque caricature of working-class conservatives. It backfired. Bunker was based on Alf Garnett of Till Death Us Do Part and its sequels. Creator Johnny Speight claimed the character was based directly on his own father's POV.
    • In adapting Alf Garnett in Archie Bunker, Lear injected his own father's attitudes and catchphrases.
    • Alf Garnett also backfired, being a racist idiot who became an idol to people who seemed to miss that fact that he was created, scripted and acted by Jews.
    • Archie Bunker was balanced out with the strawman liberals of his daughter Gloria Bunker-Stivic and her husband Michael Stivic. These were token Strawmen, who usually got the last word and/or were proven right by the end of the episode, leaving Archie with An Aesop which proves it.
    • There are those who suspect that a Values Dissonance was at play as well. This theory holds that we were, originally, intended to see Michael (aka Meathead) as the voice of reason and Archie as the exemplar of the people who need to change, but that Norman Lear's view of things was so out of step with the audience that for the most part people tended to see Archie as the reasonable one and Michael as the twit. Or perhaps, Archie the one they tended to respect more than Michael, who almost universally became known as Meathead. This might have some truth in it, given that even by the generally left-leaning standards of Hollywood, Lear is well-known for his liberal views.
  • 24 has featured both types in its run. Two examples include a lawyer for "Amnesty Global" in season 4 who exempts an arrested suspect from interrogation (having been paid by a terrorist leader to do so, although it's implied the lawyer doesn't know this), and deputy chief of staff Tom Lennox in season 6, who detains thousands of innocent Muslim Americans without presidential authorization and openly talks of "suspending liberties" to safeguard the country. (In later episodes, however, Lennox becomes more of a Magnificent Bastard than an Idiot of the Week.) In quadruple irony the show is always ultimately geared towards the President's liberal and Protagonist's conservative values turning out to be correct. Detaining citizens of a radical religion HAS to be wrong, torturing terrorists HAS to be right. A restrained response to a downtown nuke HAS to be the right thing, despite the proven response to the much lower death toll of real life 9/11 being two wars and bloody hell in response to an errant nuke being the more likely consequence than a rogue maverick detaining citizens.
  • Averted in Family Ties. The producers had every chance to knock down the views of either the liberal parents or the conservative Alex, but instead, both ideologies were given positive looks. The liberals were made to look noble for their grassroots ideals, and the conservative was shown to be a hard worker. The show was reportedly one of President Reagan's favorites.
    • Family Ties creator David Goldberg originally intended for the Republican character Alex Keaton to be a bad guy, but Michael J. Fox was just so likable that Alex became the favorite character of many viewers. This motivated the show's writers abandon their plans to make Alex the show's Jerkass.
  • Hearts Afire featured a borderline-retarded Republican senator and frequently featured stereotypical "conservative VS liberal" arguments, in which the conservative would present a hollow argument so that he could be intellectually trounced by the liberal character.
  • The entire premise of the 2005 CBC series Jimmy MacDonald's Canada was a Strawman Conservative current affairs show host trying to cope with the 1960s, until he went Ax Crazy in the last episode and crashed a plane into Northern Ontario. Since everything that bothered Jimmy happened several decades ago, no one feels offended by his over-the-top right wing leanings, as (most) modern conservatives have no objection to zambonis or Italian food.
  • CBC comedy Little Mosque on the Prairie includes Fred Tupper, an offensive radio host who doesn't trust Muslims, as well as Baber, who believes that winegums, liquorice, and rye bread are part of a plot to trick Muslims into drinking alcohol. In one episode, Baber was able to patch up his religious differences with an ignorant redneck because they both felt equally strongly about same-sex marriage, or, as Baber called it, "The Abomination." It gets even more subversive when you consider that the imam, who would never conduct such a marriage, encourages the Anglican minister to.
  • The West Wing doesn't like the religious right. The pilot opens with the religious right leaders saying rude things about jews and mixing up the ten commandments. The president then mixes up the ten commandments again as he corrects them and tells them they are bigots for not condemning a religious group that made a death threat against his granddaughter, and kicks them out. Many other episodes cast Republicans or right wing people as the villains, with views that are similarly stupid and one dimensional.
    • It later introduces some republicans who are good people for example, the sixth-and-seventh season Republican Presidential candidate, depicted as a genuinely honorable and decent man like his opponent. That being said, this Republican is on the more liberal wing of the party, and is a pro-choice secularist who appears to be a hidden agnostic (or perhaps even atheist, although this is never confirmed), viewpoints that would be unlikely to secure him his party's nomination in Real Life. Indeed, many of the sympathetic Republican characters appeared to be on the more liberal wing of the party.
      • * Ainsley Hayes at first appeared to be a clear Take That of sharp-tongued conservative pundit Ann Coulter, or at least starts out that way. However, she ends up befriending the main characters. She stands up for the Bartlet administration staffers to her Republican colleagues and says that even though she disagrees with them, she doesn't doubt their patriotism. A line that was used in reference to her character is the Trope Namer for Blonde Republican Sex Kitten.
  • The CSI series (especially Miami) are a breeding ground for these characters.
  • On M* A* S* H, Major Frank Burns was a jingoistic, hypocritically pious, John Birch-style conservative Jerkass, while his successor Major Charles Winchester was a snobby Boston Brahmin type and Establishment Republican. Winchester tended to waffle back and forth between conservative and liberal traits (as well as a number of other, non-political traits), depending on how sympathetically he was supposed to be viewed in the episode. Some writers tried to make him Frank Burns with a New England accent, while others wrote him as a distinct character with his own set of foibles, not all of them negative. Though overall he's still a pretty textbook example, since the less positively-viewed he was supposed to be, the more of a conservative strawman he seemed to become.
    • He did tell the aide to the McCarthy stand-in that he was so conservative he made McCarthy look like a New Dealer. Which only makes Winchester's strong conservatism an Informed Attribute.
    • It seems like much of his conservatism was based on his fiscal policies, which would only come up a limited amount in a war zone.
    • Winchester changed with the Character Development episodes, becoming far more liberal, supposedly "becoming wise" via the harsh realities of war compared to his earlier sheltered lifestyle—particularly after Alan Alda took over the show's writing and production for Larry Gelbart. This making him the perfect mold of the Strawman Political, i.e. first a pompous ass, and then converted by the show's political bias.
    • Frank Burns became so over-the-top that his strawman behavior was justified by the Rule of Funny. Towards the end of his run on the show, it had gone so far that Frank was almost a parody of a strawman conservative.
  • Parodied/lampshaded in the first episode of That's My Bush!:

George W. Bush: You must always remember that she believes what she does because she thinks she's right.
Straw Feminist: Yeah!
George W. Bush: And you must always remember that he believes what he does because of a strong moral imperative.

  • Parodied on The Young Ones with the character of Rick; so over the top, it actually seems to be making fun of conservatives who see liberals this way.
    • While he can be justifiably read that way, he's ultimately mocking people who are anarchists or socalists only because it's fashionable and are at heart as reactionary as any of the Old Guard. Hence, Rick's instant flip flop on the morality of the police when he's in trouble.
  • Averted in the episode "The Salon" of The Drew Carey Show. The issue of Internet censorship is brought up during a debating salon started by Drew and friends to impress Drew's boss Mrs. Louder, who is a devout conservative. Mrs. Louder appears to be a Strawman Political, as she responds in the affirmative, claiming that "any good conservative" would be in favour of Net censorship, and fires Drew's friend and fellow employee Kate over her disagreement. However, conservatives as a whole are not painted with this brush as Kate herself claims that she knows many conservatives who do not think that way, and later in the episode Rush Limbaugh (whom Mrs. Louder is a huge fan of) makes a guest appearance, reveals that he actually agreed with Kate on this issue - and convinces Mrs. Louder to rehire her.
  • Arrested Development has Lindsay, a Spoiled Brat who affects a fake Granola Girl persona and a (very shallow) interest in trendy left-leaning causes.
  • The Colbert Report has a straw conservative anchorman. He makes snap decisions with his "gut" rather than his brain, preferring to believe what feels right rather than what dry facts tell him. In early episodes, he had a straw liberal foil played by David Cross who was so obsessed with not offending anyone that he could barely function at all.
  • Ron Swanson of Parks and Recreation borders on being a Strawman Libertarian with comically exaggerated Libertarian views ("My idea of a perfect government is one guy who sits in a small room at a desk and the only thing he's allowed to decide is who to nuke. The man is chosen based on some kind of IQ test and maybe also a physical tournament like a decathlon. And women are brought to him, maybe... when he desires them.") However, he's generally a sympathetic character and he's on friendly terms with Leslie in spite of their differing political views. Leslie, by the way, is almost certainly a Democrat (though this is never mentioned) and she's usually portrayed as well-meaning but naive.
  • For the majority of the show Freaks and Geeks the character of Sam has a crush on a pretty, popular cheerleader named Cindy Sanders. When the two of them finally start dating, we find out that Cindy is a Republican. And her character suddenly changes into a person who is rude, close-minded, egotistical, and shallow.
  • Law and Order made a point to fulfill this whenever it delved into a topic remotely political. If you didn't catch how the defendant was a straw man during the episode, the ADA would be happy to explain it all in the closing arguments.
  • The British No 2 AV campaign used Alan B'Stard as an example of the kind of arsehole who would inevitably saturate the UK's political life if AV was introduced. Unfortunately, most of his dickery could easily be attributed to the politicans of the status quo.
  • Britta Perry from Community is a Straw Libertarian with touches of Straw Feminist, most of the time coming out as a huge hypocrite. She's generally a sympathetic, yet annoying character.

Jeff: Everyone wants you to shut up!

  • And now Supernatural has Dick Roman, who somehow manages to heavy-handedly embody several straw stereotypes of both conservatives and libertarians at once.
  • On Smallville, the show brought in Cat Grant in Season 10 as a gratingly-annoying Straw Conservative and Blonde Republican Sex Kitten who was apparently meant to be a pastiche of...whatever the presumably-liberal writers thought that conservatives believe. On one occasion, she is sneaking around and sees Clark and Lois getting caught up in some ancient ritual (It Makes Sense in Context) and mutters "I will never understand liberals." Apparently, the Blonde Republican Sex Kitten thinks that anything weird must be "liberal," and we're supposed to laugh at her ignorance...if we weren't too busy groaning at how heavy-handed the liberal writers were being in their attempts to build a Strawman Conservative. Even worse, apparently the Straw Conservative position in the Smallville-verse is to hate superheroes, as we see repeatedly throughout Season 10, as a bunch of Straw Military characters show up to persecute the superheroes and drive the writers' point home even further.
    • Granted, Cat wasn't nearly as bad as Gordon Godfrey, who starts out as a right wing talk radio host who first gets possessed by Darkseid and then later willingly joins Darkseid's evil minion team. Cat Grant, meanwhile, mostly was just there to annoyingly lecture the cool liberal heroes in the most high-pitched voice possible.
      • The thing that makes the appearance of this entire roster of Straw Conservative characters even more annoying, aside from their Anvilicious-ness, is the fact that for NINE whole seasons, Smallville had managed to completely avoid Political Strawmen. So it felt very jarring for a whole bunch to suddenly show up in the tenth and final season.
      • In Godfrey's defense, he's an adaptation of Glorious Godfrey, an evil New God whose hat was poisoning the media against superheroes for Darkseid. If you write him as anything other than a Straw Character you're doing it wrong.
  • Gus of Psych sometimes plays a Straw Liberal, for laughs. In "Let's Get Hairy" he goes on rants against taxidermy (after being seen nuzzling a koala for charity), briefly forgetting that they're chasing someone who's committed a double murder.


New Media[edit | hide]

  • Conservapedia: "The Trustworthy Encyclopedia". All articles on Democratic/Liberal/Evolutionary topics are built of straw. Their article on President Obama is a stewed mixture of straw, insults and long discredited smears.
  • RationalWiki is a direct reaction against Conservapedia that takes constant potshots at conservatives, fundamentalists, Conservapedia, and especially its founder, Andrew Schlafly. Unlike Conservapedia, though, they make no claims to objectivity... or attempts at it. It's basically /r/atheism in wiki form.
  • The YouTube Video Beware the Believers plays the straw evolutionist for laughs.
  • Poe's Law describes the difficulties inherent in separating applications of Strawman Political and parodies of the same.
  • Proposition 8: The Musical. You tell a group of Straw Conservatives when you see them.
  • The Year Zero ARG, which promotes the Nine Inch Nails album of the same name, depicts the United States after 15 additional years of rule by Strawman Republicans and gets absolutely ridiculous. It's stated they're forbidding women to work, have genocidal bands of Christians killing non Christians in certain suburbs, they make their soldiers take drugs to both combat the drug the evil neocons poisoned everyone with (yes, that's what they did) and get Special Forces to take even worse drugs that forces the body to equate killing with sexual excitement, the local Mega Corp exploits drug addicts to boost their profits, and they make up "terrorists" by creating a virus. This is what Trent pulled together when he decided to stop taking drugs himself and get back to making music, so it was forgiven. Given how over the top it was, it wasn't all that convincing.
  • Youtube series Epic Rap Battles of History, any time politics is even mentioned and always against the right. (Among other things, Lincoln slams Chuck Norris for voting for John McCain... no, that's it, voting for a Republican for President is apparently insult enough.) Probably the height of this was the John Lennon versus Bill O'Reilly battle, where the rapper playing O'Reilly does a verse about how evil he is and how black his heart is. Exact words.
  • The Landover Baptist Church, which, along with Christwire.org, has been mistaken for an actual Christian website.
  • A Let's Play of "Life and Death 2: The brain", the Lets player does a subdural Hematoma operation...and intentionally holds the suction pump in the brain too long so part of the brain is sucked out. The player then proceeded to say "Oh, she was a Tea Party candidate! She wasn't going to need THAT!"
  • The site Derailing For Dummies is dedicated to providing a snappy generic response to counter a variety of tangential, emotion-based arguments. But the strawman? It's in the very intention of the site. By using this site, you invoke the strawman that paints your opponent as a common troll who argues with only the over-the-top prescribed fallacies featured. And unless you are responding to a post that uses those arguments exclusively and word-for-word, you've just obstructed any valid arguments from being addressed. If the irony isn't quite potent enough, just consider when it's used in advance to address "arguments I hear all the time".

Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • Just say that any political cartoonist has recurred to this, in fact, their profession demands it.
  • Any liberal, Democrat, liberal Democrat, or member of a minority group that appears in Bruce Tinsley's Mallard Fillmore.
  • Doonesbury often features straw conservatives, as have Bloom County and its spinoffs.
  • Candorville features strawmen of both liberal and conservative varieties, and then lampshades them all.
  • Get Fuzzy uses Bucky Katt for a conservative-as-idiot strawman, with Satchel Pooch as his Vitriolic Best Buds counterpart on the left. However, it is hinted that he acts conservative in order to irritate Satchel and Rob, both Liberals
  • Rat in Pearls Before Swine is also used as a conservative strawman. Given that Pearls creator Stephan Pastis and Fuzzy's Darby Conley are close friends, it's hard to guess who's copying who. In the notes to the treasury collections, artist Stephan Pastis indicates that Rat is simply himself with less self-restraint. Whether that still qualifies Rat for Strawman status is debatable.
  • Royboy in Soup to Nutz is also used as a conservative strawman. This usually doesn't work too well, because he's often just used to spout whatever the writer believes are right-wing talking points, such as anti-vaccine propaganda, while the other characters laugh at him. The character rarely actually acts like the 8-year-old boy he is. His younger sister is often used as a left-wing straw man, making anti-war, pro-vegetarian comments. The strip is rather Anvilicious in its politics.
  • Winslow the coyote pup from Prickly City. In one early story, he suggested that he and his human companion, Carmen, get married, so that the author could equate gay marriage with bestiality.
  • Aaron McGruder's The Boondocks had plenty of these. (The strip's protagonist, Huey Freeman, could arguably be deemed a Strawman Black Radical, except that we're clearly meant to sympathize with him.)
  • Going further back, Little Orphan Annie and Lil Abner frequently served up liberal versions, while Pogo featured them on both sides (though more often as conservatives, given Walt Kelly's politics).
  • Use of the trope in newspaper editorial cartooning is satirized by The Onion's "Kelly" (actually, Ward Sutton). In the persona of a cranky conservative, "Kelly" returns again and again to caricatures like the New Age Retro Hippie (here), Teens Are Monsters (here), using The Grim Reaper to symbolize disliked trends (throughout) and so on. Actually not too far off from the technique of newspaper cartoonist Chuck Asay. And half almost all the comics have the Statue Of Liberty crying (when things are going well for Kelly, she's weeping with joy)
  • The reason we have newspaper comic strips is that during the 19th century editors discovered funny, topical, easy to read drawings helped sell more papers—and the artists were expected to adhere to the paper's editorial slant.


Theatre[edit | hide]

  • Louis Ironson of Angels in America reads very much like a Deconstruction of the Strawman Liberal stereotype.
  • Mr Birling from An Inspector Calls is a prime example of a British conservative straw man. J.B. Priestly gives the audience no doubt that he is wrong about everything, including his political and social views.
  • The rock musical version of Two Gentlemen of Verona had the Duke of Milan's entrance song making him a Strawman Conservative Militarist.

"I sent 'em over and I can bring 'em back. Re-elect me!"


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The Weasel News Network of Grand Theft Auto IV is a direct Take That against the Fox News Network. (Get the pun?). Everything about the network is portrayed as Crossing the Line Twice. For that matter, 90% of the satirical media in GTA IV is Straw Conservative (at the cost of laughs). GTA: Vice City had a talk show where right and left-wing strawmen tried to out-straw each other.
  • The radio messages in Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines. They add nothing to the story, and serve only to portray a fictional right-wing politician as a sleazeball. To be fair, the radio is purely there for comedy and everyone who appears on the radio is presented as a complete idiot. Most of Bloodlines doesn't really look favorably on anyone, except the liberal Nines, the conservative Bertram, and the independents Beckett and Jack. Or you could flip the first two, as Nines views government as needing to be small and Bertram as large.
  • In a very early example, Infocom's A Mind Forever Voyaging was intended as a critique of the Reagan era of conservative capitalism. The part where they didn't remotely use any of Reagan's actual policies, save for tax cuts, didn't help it any. It also didn't help that Senator Ryder, the Big Bad, was written as so psychotically evil that when the aforementioned psychohistorical forecasting shows that the end result of his plan will be that within 20 years the country will be bankrupt, within 40 years his hoped-for government will be overthrown by an apocalyptic religious cult and he will be either a powerless serf or dead, and that within 50 years human civilization will cease to exist, he isn't deterred a bit—just so long as he wins the next Presidential election, who cares if he's dooming the human race and himself personally? A more cartoonish straw man you would be hard-pressed to find.
  • The freeware game by Tarn Adams, Liberal Crime Squad is entirely built around this. America is slowly becoming incredibly conservative, and you play as the titular group of criminals, who are willing to murder and sabotage society to get everyone to become liberal. Your main enemies are the Conservative Crime Squad, who are just as crazy as the Liberal Crime Squad.
  • Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six had strawman environmentalists, who wanted to save the Earth from humanity by killing off 99% of it.[2]
  • Dragon Age 2 has got an in-universe example, over the course of the third chapter the sane people are killed off, leaving only the Straw Mage and Straw Templar to lead the two sides of the final conflict.
  • The radio transmissions in The Conduit are full of these, with right-wing Timothy Browning, left-wing Jared X. Fulton, and Granola Girl Autumn Wanderer, all of whom use the game's Alien Invasion as a springboard for their straw views.

"Where are the Democrats on this matter? What have they done to make this country safe? What really needs to be done here is the Democrats allowing the GOP to take charge in this time of crisis so no more lives will be spent needlessly!"

  • Saints Row 2 features radio ads for an in-game gun shop called "Friendly Fire" that use extremely strawmanned arguments for protecting the second amendment. ("If you support waiting periods, you hate freedom!") Since you're playing a sociopathic Villain Protagonist who runs around shooting helpless civilians on a whim, the Straw Man Has a Point about just how unsafe you are without something to shoot back with.
    • This is a world where the most popular game show on TV murders contestants, and has them murder each other, to a degree that would make Roman gladiatorial promoters go 'perhaps that's a bit too far'... while the game show host has the head of a cartoon cat grafted onto a human body. It is very unlikely that anything the Saints Row franchise says about violence or weapons was ever intended to be taken seriously.

Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • Every political webcomic features an abundance of nameless straw men political opposing the author's political alignment. Occasionally, they will try to add in straw men of their own demographic in an attempt to show that they're not biased, but these straw men are either too subtle and argue about very minor points, or are ridiculously exaggerated in a way that makes them not even remotely believable.
  • This strip beautifully summarizes so many political webcomics.
  • Cecania and Fairbanks in Sore Thumbs are hilariously exaggerated strawmen of liberals and conservatives respectively. Each of them seems to have taken their ideology to a ridiculous extreme, and then taken the ridiculous extreme to a ridiculous extreme, leading to such things as Fairbanks having once killed two people because "they looked like terrorists" (luckily for him, they were) and Cecania having been known to demonstrate outside abortion clinics because they won't offer drive-through service. Cecania is still presented as being a lot more sympathetic, though.
  • Chris Muir's Day by Day has characters on both ends of the political spectrum, but the conservative/libertarian characters (including product designer and Special Ops sniper Zed, black Republican Damon, and Redheaded Republican Sex Kitten Sam) are portrayed as both principled and cool, while liberal Jan is often portrayed as being a bit histrionic and over the top; however, the comic itself points out that the characters respect her because she actually believes what she's saying and says it because she's honestly trying to help others. This is pointed out in one comic where it's said Jan is a "dove", and that she's sincere about it (as opposed to many who claim the title and simply "sit around and shit all over everything"). There's even an arc chastising Damon for going too far with his arguing against her, where he acknowledges he needs to be more respectful of her ideals. Since having her go through an obligatory Opposites Attract romance with Damon, Jan has increasingly shifted to being a Fox News Liberal, with her position of Straw Liberal taken over by Sam's sister Skye, who has nearly no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
  • In Questionable Content, being a professional Strawman is Angus's occupation. This means that he gets paid to appear on debates with ludicrous arguments and lose... must be awesome. When he goes up against another professional Strawman, they end up actually competing as to who can give a worse argument.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Del had religious leaders from all over the world to temporarily put aside their differences to beat up upon Ethan's new Gamer Religion, and Lucas manages to dumbfound them with some minor piece of wisdom that they are utterly slackjawed to answer.
  • Hackles has Marcus, their marketing mouse. He is used to support anything uncool, such as some conservatism (although they don't really get into politics, everyone is "moderate"), Windows users, poor web design, poor software design and marketing. He would be a Butt Monkey if he didn't deserve what happens to him (he is a mouse, and some of the characters are mice...including his nurse/date).
  • Penny Arcade features a literal strawman here.
  • Occasionally used in Dork Tower as a Take That against self-proclaimed Moral Guardians and other bureaucrats.
    • One example can be found here.
    • A related gag is for Bill to deal with clueless Moral Guardians protesting role-playing games.
  • In Awful Comics, the leader of conservatives was revealed to be Lord Zedd.
  • Gilly Gopher of Nip and Tuck: A blatant straw Liberal who exists solely to be talked down to to the entire population of Mularky County.
  • Men in Hats, has Sam, straw theocrat.
  • In The Adventures of Gyno Star the Feminist superhero, Gyno-Star, faces an array of straw foes, most notably a straw Libertarian super-villain knows as The Glibertarian, created in a lab by an insurance company in order to spread pro-corporate ideology.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Justice League Unlimited: General Eiling is shown to have sinister straw-conservative leanings, he's eager to drop nuclear bombs on the Justice League, blames the "bleeding hearts in Congress" for not getting his way and eventually turns himself into a supervillain in order to "defend" America from heroes. The series also features a cowardly straw-Bill O'Reilly type character.
    • However, like the comic books, they avoid hinting which political side Lex Luthor leans toward in his policies when he runs for president. A quick line of dialogue revealed he was running as an independent.

"Polls among likely voters place Luthor within striking distance of both major party candidates."

  • Batman: The Animated Series features a villain not taken from the comic pages, Lock-Up, who is a straw-conservative and vigilante who despises the "liberal media" and enjoys throwing everyone he doesn't like into prison. Lock-Up may have been an attempt to make Batman seem more liberal by comparison, since Batman, a rich private citizen who succeeds where the corrupt public system fails, has been accused of being a conservative-friendly character.
  • The villain "Looten Plunder" on Captain Planet and the Planeteers, a completely amoral capitalist who dreams of "stripping entire continents" for monetary gain, was a strawman conservative (At least he had a reason, though.)
  • South Park sometimes does this with its social and political-themed episodes. Not when both sides are made to look like asses (how the show normally deals with these issues), but when one side is unambiguously set up as wrong based on faulty pretenses, for the sake of dropping the episode's moral. Like the episodes about hate crimes and alcoholism.
    • Though, as implied, South Park has no qualms with building a strawman of both sides in the same episode. This is exemplified in an in-universe TV debate (which might have been intended mostly to satirize how news channels tend to do this) between "Pissed-Off White-Trash Redneck Conservative" and "Aging Hippie Liberal Douche". As their actual names. They were discussing immigrants from the future.
  • The Boondocks
    • Wingmen featured Dewey Ababaoo Mamasee Mamasay Mamakusa Jenkins, a fake Muslim who writes bad poetry because he's "down with the struggle." Huey, an actual leftist revolutionary, finds him disgraceful.
    • Huey himself is a strawman, but so is everyone else on the show and comic. One thing you can say about McGruder, he's balanced in his extremities. Except Caesar (comics), who is essentially the Closer to Earth Straight Man for whom Huey gets too extreme/obsessed.
    • Their portrayal of Ann Coulter: She appears on TV as a massively hateful ranter, but it's just an act for publicity.
    • By a similar token, Rev. Rollo Goodlove, a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Al Sharpton, is a self-serving liberal hypocrite who intentionally attaches himself to bogus "struggles" for publicity.
    • Huey's neighbor Tom Dubois and his wife, though played as decent people, are milquetoast, establishment Strawman Democrats who live far away from Huey's reality. Tom once tried to kidnap Ralph Nader for taking votes away from Al Gore. (Thus earning the title of "the first moderate liberal extremist.")
  • King of the Hill skews conservative/libertarian (as per its creator Mike Judge), but in general it's pretty good about being equal opportunity. One of the first episodes has a Strawman Liberal social worker who's convinced that Hank is physically abusing Bobby, but ultimately gets Reassigned to Antarctica by his boss for not actually investigating Hank and operating solely off of gut instinct. (This character, or an Identical Stranger, returns in a later episode where he enables people to claim disability for ludicrous reasons.) On the other hand, another early episode has a Strawman Conservative woman who claims all forms of Halloween celebration are Satanic and gets Arlen to "cancel" the holiday; Hank ends up putting on an old costume and leading a protest against her, with all the adults of the neighborhood agreeing with him.
    • In earlier episodes Dale could be seen as a Strawman Conservative with his extreme distrust of the government; however, once Flanderization kicks in he's just treated as a lone nutcase who thinks "The Conspiracy" is behind everything bad in America.
    • The Goode Family, in much the same vein as King of the Hill.
  • The Simpsons uses these almost exclusively nowadays. The local Republican Party's usual meeting place is in a sinister castle, and their members include Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, Bob Dole (who favors them with a reading from the Necronomicon), Mr. Burns. In "Sideshow Bob Roberts", the Republicans nominate multiple-convicted attempted murderer Sideshow Bob as a mayoral candidate. They originally mistook a water cooler for the candidate. In the same episode, Quimby (as the democrat incumbent) is said by the Rush Limbaugh parody to be Springfield's "pot-smoking, illiterate, spend-ocrat mayor". Quimby's response (uttered while watering a marijuana plant): "I am no longer illiterate."
    • They did this to the Democrats in a more recent episode:

Democrat: With Ralph leading the party, I don't know how we will screw it up, but we will, because that's what Democrats do!

    • The Simpsons used to take several at Democrats in the old days. Mayor Quimby was originally an expy of the Kennedy's, being a Composite Character of JFK (the voice), Ted Kennedy, and the corruption that tends to be involved in Chicago politics.
      • However, the show often takes great pains to avoid taking any real shots at Democrats these days. Quimby is a perfect example... he's now a third-party candidate (of which he is the only member).
    • In one of the earlier episodes, Bart's elephant Stampy runs through a Republican convention and gets cheered. A sign at the convention says "We want what's worst for everybody!" and "We're just plain evil!", and then when he runs through the Democrat convention, one has a sign that says "We hate ourselves!" and "We can't govern!"
    • Especially notable for the Rand daycare center, where they deny the use of pacifiers and bottles:

Ms. Sinclair: Mrs. Simpson, do you know what a baby is saying when it reaches for a bottle?
Marge: "Ba-ba"?
Ms. Sinclair: It's saying "I am a leech"! Our aim here is to develop the bottle within.

    • Any episode where Lisa is played off against Flanders is almost guaranteed to do this. "The Monkey Suit" (about teaching evolution in school) and "You Kent Always Say What You Want" (about censorship), for example.
    • Professor August from "That 90s Show" is a particularly heavy-handed Strawman Liberal. He managed to convince Marge that Homer's honest love and devotion were just his attempts to make her Stay in the Kitchen, resulting in Marge dumping Homer for the Professor. In the end, he turns out to be just as bad, and Marge realizes her mistake and gets back with Homer.
  • Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law featured some Animal Liberation Nut Strawmen in "Free Magilla"; they freed all the animals from Mr. Peeble's pet store, even though this seemed to cause the creatures more anxiety than relief. When Magilla Gorilla later reunites with Mr. Peebles, he asks him to "Take me home - home to my nice, safe cage", the group who stole him splashes red paint on him and shouts "Animal freedom now!"
  • Futurama takes a crack at the Strawmen who surround the whole, Gay Marriage issue(s). This is particularly Anvilicious, because the issue is whether or not robots should be able to marry humans. It was explained in a previous episode that dating robots (and getting the cheap thrills of a robot programmed to love you) caused the collapse of society and the wiping out of life on Earth by an alien species. Following this analogy, one might suppose that allowing gay marriage could wipe out all human life, justifying the strawmen.
    • The argument in the episode about dating robots was itself a strawman. It was presented as an after school special designed by the Moral Guardians to Scare'Em Straight and was about as objective and truthful as a Jack Chick tract. The Earth was never destroyed by an alien species. It was, however, apparently destroyed twice, by Bender, for unrelated reasons. And if all life on Earth had been wiped out, how could people still be alive today?
    • The argument in the "Robot Marriage" episode was not "cheap thrills of programmed love", and instead about people (and robots) who honestly (with the exception of Bender, obviously) love each other being able to socially express their love. Or did I make up the parts where Amy and Bender had sex despite not being married?
  • American Dad is this trope incarnate. Or at least it used to be. Originally, the show seemed to be created solely for this, but eventually Seth MacFarlane switched all of his strawmanning and soapboxing back over to Family Guy, and apparently allowed American Dad to actually have a purpose other than "Conservatives are evil".
    • The opening of one episode taking place during Black History Month, has a teacher at Steve's school (a white guy dressed in a dashiki) screaming at his students that none of them have even seen a black person, even though four of the kids in the class are indeed black and as confused as everyone else. As the teacher is yelling at them, he's got a black woman banging on a drum each time he finishes speaking. He goes on saying that white men only think of sex with a black man once a year, and ends his lecture by stating that "the next time you privileged suburban white boys think Mozart wasn't black, you should look in the mirror!"
  • Family Guy uses this trope to death; any time a character with conservative leanings appears, you can expect them to be a caricature in line of the most heavy-handed political cartoons; one specific example is Peter's father Francis, a typical Strawman Conservative religious zealot. Peter can be seen as a Strawman American thanks to his Flanderization from Bumbling Dad into self-absorbed Jerkass. Ironically, Brian (who is often thought of as Seth MacFarlane's Author Avatar, gets viewed as a Strawman Liberal by some fans due to his vehement hatred of anything conservative (among other less than pleasant traits).
    • In one episode, when Brian learns that Rush Limbaugh is in town for a book signing, he launches into a tirade about how the man is a Complete Monster and then marches down to the bookstore to chew him out. After Rush saves Brian from some muggers, he ends up going Republican...only to become exactly the same kind of Strawman that every other conservative is on this show, spouting off the most extreme caricatures of Republican ideology (free guns for everyone, execute every single person in jail, etc). The Snap Back ensures that he's back to being liberal by the end of the episode.
      • In defense of Family Guy they even spell out that, regardless of political affiliation, there will always be a unbelievably biased Strawman Political who acts like a self-parody (hence how radical Liberal Brian transforms into radical Conservative Brian; it's just how he is).
  1. The thing is, if you look at his films Michael Bay is a big supporter of the military insofar as the troops on the ground... the guys that do the fighting and dying. The higher-ups are generally portrayed as out of touch and looking at the situation from a spin control standpoint regardless of politics. Seen in this light, it's not that Galloway was wrong because he was President Obama's security adviser, it's because he was a civilian in a suit telling soldiers how war worked.
  2. aka Poison Ivy or Kyoto Protocol.