Socks and Barney is an online comic strip created by Steve Conley that utilizes animals as human stand-ins to debate the current political activities. Each character is based on one of the white house pets. The main characters are made up of the Clinton’s pet cat Socks, who is the democratic voice, while Barney, George W. Bush’s dog acts as the republican, as the two re-enact various renditions of our political parties’ interactions.
Conley states that he started this strip by “looking at the presidential nomination and election process through the most appropriate lens available: buttsniffing, dumb animals.” The use of animals in his comedy is threefold, first it allows for the unexpected “which only the use of animals will make funny” (Koren 382), secondly though his characters are not as recognizable as the donkey and the elephant they still stand in not only for political parties, but also for specific presidents, and lastly that he still allows the characters to mingle in between human and animalistic qualities. While Socks and Barney watch TV, chat about capital hill, go to bars to enjoy a pint (or in Sock’s case a milk cartoon with a straw) Conley allows them to switch back to their animal habits effortlessly by allowing them to “buttsniff”, purr, scratch, and so on. In this particular cartoon Barney is making fun of Socks who happily purrs for Obama, and Socks tries to cover up his animalistic slip up.