Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The "New" Daily Show

I've always been a fan of the Daily Show. Even before Jon Stewart, I thought Craig Kilborn did a great job with it. As good as Kilborn was, I think Stewart was even better when he took over. But over time, Stewart left less and less of his personal politics off-camera. The tone of the show became so one-sided, so anti-Bush that I gave up watching it. From all reports, another of my favorite comedians, Jay Leno, is just as liberal as Stewart. But Leno doesn't let that out on his show; he writes jokes about everybody and that's only fair.

So I must say I was shocked when I read this, which is an excerpt from the Daily Show were Stewart was interviewing Nancy Soderberg, a former Clinton aide. Specifically, I was amazed by the exchange at the end.
Stewart: Do you think they're the guys to--do they understand what they've unleashed? Because at a certain point, I almost feel like, if they had just come out at the very beginning and said, "Here's my plan: I'm going to invade Iraq. We'll get rid of a bad guy because that will drain the swamp"--if they hadn't done the whole "nuclear cloud," you know, if they hadn't scared the pants off of everybody, and just said straight up, honestly, what was going on, I think I'd almost--I'd have no cognitive dissonance, no mixed feelings.

Soderberg: The truth always helps in these things, I have to say. But I think that there is also going on in the Middle East peace process--they may well have a chance to do a historic deal with the Palestinians and the Israelis. These guys could really pull off a whole--

Stewart: This could be unbelievable!

Soderberg:---series of Nobel Peace Prizes here, which--it may well work. I think that, um, it's--

Stewart: [buries head in hands] Oh my God! [audience laughter] He's got, you know, here's--

Soderberg: It's scary for Democrats, I have to say.

Stewart: He's gonna be a great--pretty soon, Republicans are gonna be like, "Reagan was nothing compared to this guy." Like, my kid's gonna go to a high school named after him, I just know it.

Soderberg: Well, there's still Iran and North Korea, don't forget. There's hope for the rest of us.

Stewart: [crossing fingers] Iran and North Korea, that's true, that is true [audience laughter]. No, it's--it is--I absolutely agree with you, this is--this is the most difficult thing for me to--because, I think, I don't care for the tactics, I don't care for this, the weird arrogance, the setting up. But I gotta say, I haven't seen results like this ever in that region.
Two things to say here.

First, hats off to Mr. Stewart. I'm both shocked and impressed that he can see positive things happening in the Middle East, even as much as it annoys him to give any credit to President Bush. I'm sure that wasn't an easy admission for him and I might just start watching the Daily Show again if he continues to be so honest.

Second, the exchange illuminates what I hate about the two-party system. Earlier in the article, Sodenberg is quoted as saying, "Well, I think, you know, as a Democrat, you don't want anything nice to happen to the Republicans, ..." Really? Even nice things like millions of people discovering freedom and democracy? And perhaps it's spreading (peacefully) to places like Egypt, Lebanon and Syria? It's a shame the two-party system creates such
adversaries out of people that it become all about wishing failure on the other side regardless of how positive success would be.

(Hat tip PoliPundit.)


Mike's America said...

When trying to understand Soderberg's outrageous comments, we need to consider the source:

She was on the staff of Senator Kennedy before joining the Clinton Gore Administration. As number 3 on the staff of the National Security Council, she was at Clinton’s right hand during much of the malfeasance we witnessed during that time.

When she remarks about something going wrong in North Korea, she ought to know. Sec. Albright and Soderberg were among the cabal of America apologists that thought they could buy good will from Kim Jong Il… Didn’t work DID IT!

Now, Bush is cleaning up the mess these people made and all they can do is hope he does not succeed…

Very sad… Politics used to stop at the water’s edge… But power and personal bitterness seems to be more important to these folks than their own nation’s success in making the world a freer, more peaceful place.

If Kerry had been elected, she would no doubt be back in office. God forbid!


Neil said...

Nice post Dan, and I'm glad you might start looking at Stewart again :)

But, to this commenter here (mike's america) you're doing exactly what Dan said is wrong with the country. Her comment about "there's hope for us" was a JOKE. She was on a COMEDY SHOW. You're spreading the same kind of hatred that got the US to this polarized state. No matter how much you may personally hate Democrats, do you HONESTLY believe they want to see North Korea devolve into a worse situation? If you do, I'm sorry, but you've been watching FOX news for too long.

But to Dans point, I totally agree that the 2 party system is what causes people like Mike here. In other countries where there are more than 2 parties people don't grow up knowing they are tied to one party or another. They tend to vote more on the issues and the leadership. Unfortunately politics, and political campaigns, here have sunk to a level of not "how am I better than the other guy" but "how am I less evil than the other guy." When people are spreading hatred like that, it's easy for the population to fall right in line.

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