Today on his radio show, Ed Schultz was picking a bone with Jon Stewart and the The Daily Show. He said, “One of our own threw us under the bus on Saturday.”
I think there are two questions to be answered there. Is Stewart one of us? Did Stewart throw us under the bus?
Let’s take the first question first. I’m a relative newcomer to The Daily Show (TDS). I didn’t start watching it until my brother found out I was shopping the network news for some sort of congenial home at the depths of the Bush II years. He said, “Dude. Stewart on Comedy Central. The news still sucks, but at least its funny.” So Mrs. Dr. CounterTenor and I started watching TDS. Well, okay, we TIVO’d TDS and watched it later.
In the depths of Bush II it might be easy to think that Stewart is one of us. He was all over Bush, Cheney and the Republicans running Congress like… like… like… I want to say white on rice, but that’s not quite all over enough. You can get brown rice too. So, pick your favorite obvious simile and fill in. But even in the depths of Bush II, Stewart took periodic slams at the Left, too. And while there is no doubt where his sympathies lay in 2008, he spent a lot of time lampooning both of the credible Democratic candidates.
I think the evidence is in: Stewart is a moderate. He isn’t one of us — he’s Barack Obama. He wants everyone to get along and work together. If we’ll just do that, we can solve these problems. What Stewart (and apparently President Obama) doesn’t realize is that Charlie Brown ain’t never gonna kick that football, and the GOPoNO (GOP o’ NO!) is never going to reason with him as a reasonable person. When he decided to build the Panama Canal, T. Roosevelt decided to negotiate a deal with the Colombians (who owned Panama at the time). The Colombians couldn’t say, “Si” to anything and keep their word on it. Roosevelt eventually backed a group of Panamanian separatists who took over and gave the US a contract to complete the canal under very favorable terms. Roosevelt said at the time, “You can no more negotiate with the Colombians than you can nail currant jelly to the wall.”
President Obama would do well to reflect on President Roosevelt’s words.
So, Stewart isn’t one of us. His aims are more in sympathy with ours than with the GOPoNO!’s, but he still wants what President Obama wants: sane Republicans to work with.
Now, the other question. Did Stewart throw us under the bus on Saturday? He tossed up a bunch of the familiar right-wing punditry on the Jumbotron (Rush, Glen, Medved, the usual crew) but also had pictures of Keith, Rachel and Ed. I draw a line between people like Limbaugh and Beck who just make stuff (please, subsitute a four letter word beginning with s if you want) up and people like Olbermann, Maddow and Schultz who call them on it.
Putting Rachel up there was particularly … crass? Rachel got her gig precisely because she is able to hold a civil conversation with the likes of Pat Buchanan, Rand Paul, or that nutjob running against Fazio in Oregon (had to Google it, Robinson’s the nutjob’s name. I like nutjob better.) The fact that these people come off looking like idiots just reflects the fact that they’re… well… idiots. It isn’t Rachel’s fault the Tea Party has yet to nominate someone who isn’t a mouth-breathing knuckle-dragger.
But from Stewart’s perspective, the fact that the right’s idiots come off looking like what they are doesn’t help the discussion. Maybe he’s right. God knows, we could use a loyal opposition in this country. The Republican Party as it is currently constituted isn’t it. Loyal opposition puts the good of the citizenry first. The Republicans are putting the good of their Party first. Maybe second or third: they put their funders first.
As Jesse Unruh (Speaker of the California Assembly forever when I was a Treble) is supposed to have said about lobbyists in Sacramento: “Son, if you can’t drink their whiskey, eat their steaks and **** their women, and vote against them in the morning you have no business being here.”
To which I say, Amen. And let’s find a campaign funding system that strips these unelected parasites of their powers. Stewart didn’t throw us under the bus: he was simply being true to his nature.