erik lundegaard

Jon Stewart's Funny, But...

I finally saw the interview with Pres. Obama on “The Daily Show” the other night and thought the president continued to do what I want him to do. He explained, articulately, about the slow business of governing. I was happy at the end. I thought he came off well.

Then I began to read the various posts about the inteview: Dana Milbank's here, Clive Crook's here.

I should say “read,” in quotes, because I can only get so far into these things. Their assumptions are not my assumptions. Neither is Jon Stewart's, for that matter. He's had a lot of fun these past two years juxatposing the high rhetoric of politicking with the slow process of governing, but in doing so he comes off as a spoiled shit. He wants it, and he wants it his way, now. I'm a little tired of that attitude. Which increasingly seems to be the American attitude.

“The Daily Show” has it both ways. When the Obama administration plays politics, Stewart calls them on it—as he should. But when they don't play politics, when they tell uncomfortable truths, Stewart calls them on that, too. (E.g., “Dude, that's not the way you play the game.”) So “The Daily Show” wins either way. No matter what the Obama administration does, Stewart can make comedy out of it.

Listen to Milbank on the appearance:

Stewart, who struggled to suppress a laugh as Obama defended [Larry] Summers, turned out to be an able inquisitor on behalf of aggrieved liberals. He spoke for the millions who had been led to believe that Obama was some sort of a messianic figure. Obama has only himself to blame for their letdown. By raising expectations impossibly high, playing the transformational figure to Hillary Clinton's status-quo drone, he gave his followers an unrealistic hope.

A messianic figure? Who are these people? Not me. Is it Milbank? Is it Stewart? 

Again: Obama is doing what I want him to do. And he's doing it in the face of the strongest propaganda campaign a sitting president has had to endure (from the right), as well as complaints from dopey liberals, who wonder why he hasn't made all the bad things go away.

Here's more from the Post:

President Barack Obama barely cracked any jokes during an appearance Wednesday on “The Daily Show” despite host Jon Stewart's attempts to draw out the president's humorous side.

Look, I'm happy that Stewart is holding his rally to restore sanity and/or madness today. I think we need it. I think too many people are buying into too much right-wing propaganda. Plus, who doesn't need a laugh?

I'm just tired of Obama being criticized for being the only adult in the room at a time when we desperately need adults in the room.

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Posted at 10:31 AM on Sat. Oct 30, 2010 in category Politics  


Uncle Vinny wrote:

Hear, hear.

Comment posted on Sat. Oct 30, 2010 at 05:08 PM

Mister B wrote:

Star Trek fans had a difficult time adjusting to Picard after so many years of nothing but Kirk. Eventually, the new character won over a lot of fans, but fortunately, it happened before the show stopped filming.

Americans, in general, just haven't had to work that big organ behind the eyes and between the ears recently.

It's like Rob Reiner said on Bill Maher's show the other day (paraphrasing), ignorance has been very popular these days.

And I think it's a lot more difficult to get people to think than not to think.

Comment posted on Sat. Oct 30, 2010 at 08:46 PM

Reed wrote:

Interesting to see Stewart's audience take the side of the guest for once (at least in certain moments). I don't remember that happening before.

And the idea that Obama didn't crack any jokes is ridiculous. He cracked several. They were deadpan, but WTF, he's the president! I recall another president that was more adept at cracking jokes than actually doing his job. You know, the guy who was most responsible for the various messes Obama is trying to manage.

I've been living in South America for the last 2.5 years. Maybe it's just that my filter is the internet, but it seems like the political rhetoric in the US has taken a serious nosedive during that time. That's a pretty strong statement because it's not like things were good when I left. Doesn't make me eager to come back.

What stinks is that the people who are supposed to be actually reporting on what politicians are doing are more interested in the horserace than the governing. I recently read this article and found it remarkably cogent:

Comment posted on Sun. Oct 31, 2010 at 10:28 AM
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