his Harper's Weekly cover cartoon by Thomas Nast pokes fun at Republican presidential nominee James Blaine in several ways. Among his political opponents, Blaine was considered to be an habitual liar, as exemplified in a popular campaign chant in 1884:
"Blaine! Blaine! James G. Blaine!
Continental liar from the state of Maine!"
The illusory nature of Blaine's words is emphasized by the cartoon's setting of a theatrical stage, where the nominee is about to perform his act; that is, to try to be something that he is not. The play will not be a political drama, however, but a farce, a joke before the entire nation.