The best parts of Tuesday’s episode of The Daily Show involved political issues. This is not surprising since political humor – be it dark or light, sharp or abstract – is definitely one of the stronger areas of this show. And with all the recent news stories involving politics, there is plenty to talk about.
So it was that host Jon Stewart reported on the news that Rep. Tom DeLay had announced his resignation. The crowd went crazy with applause.
DeLay said he is leaving to avoid personal attacks from Democrats. “I refuse to allow liberal Democrats an opportunity to steal this seat with a negative personal campaign,” DeLay said in a speech. “A negative personal campaign, like referring to Democrats as people who steal,” Stewart said.
“DeLay is not the only congressperson in hot water,” Stewart went on. “Georgia Democrat Cynthia McKinney is in trouble after scuffling with a Capitol police officer who tried to stop her at, of all places, a security checkpoint. How dare they!”
The officer said he asked her three times to stop and when she did not, he placed a hand on her, at which point she “allegedly stabbed him with her cell phone,” Stewart said. “Even worse, McKinney has the new cell phone from Motorola: The Shiv!”
McKinney, who is black, is suggesting she was stopped because of racial profiling. “This whole incident was instigated by the inappropriate touching and stopping of me, a female black congresswoman,” McKinney said in a news conference. “You know, I hear you,” Stewart said. “I, too, believe in judging people not by the color of the skin but by the content of their character and you seem batshit insane.”
On a television interview McKinney was asked directly if she hit a police officer. Her response: “Before you bring on my two attorneys, let me just say for the record…” and rambled on. Stewart: “Okay, that is a ‘Yes, I hit the dude’.”
Stewart then brought on Rob Corddry, the show’s “Senior Political Correspondent.” The show hands out titles like Santa hands out presents. Stewart asked Corddry for his analysis. What happened with McKinney?
“Racial profiling, Jon. This is a black woman, who was black, she was a woman and, as a woman, she is saying to the world, ‘look at me! I’m a black woman!’”
Stewart: “What about Tom DeLay?” Corddry: “Racial profiling, Jon. Oh wait, I messed that up. Ask me that again.”
Stewart: “Tom DeLay?”
Corddry: “Politics of personal destruction, Jon. A bunch of liberal Democrats so obsessed they drag a man’s reputation through the mud just because he spent his entire career trying to destroy them. All the Democrats have to offer are personal attacks. And you know why, Jon? Because they are drunks. They are cheats. They gamble. I heard one of them, a congresswoman from Georgia, punched a cop.”
Stewart: “You mean Cynthia McKinney?”
Corddry: “A black woman?”
Stewart: “Yes, Rob.”
Corddry: “That was her.
“What does all of this mean?”
“Jon, it is about accountability. I think it is time for both McKinney and DeLay to look the American people in the eye and say, ‘Why do you keep electing idiots like us?’”
On the show, there was also an incredibly frank, blunt exchange between Stewart and Sen. John McCain. Since McCain has been a guest on the show, I was concerned Stewart would ask softball questions of the Larry King variety.
But Stewart straight out accused McCain of flip flopping after McCain agreed to be the commencement speaker at Liberty University. This is the same McCain, a presidential hopeful, who once called Rev. Jerry Falwell “an agent of intolerance.” Falwell is the university’s chancellor.
In introducing the interview, Stewart said he likes McCain because he takes clear principled stands. Or he did… until now. McCain, who has criticized the Bush administration for “dirty tactics”, has also been acting like a cheerleader for Bush of late, as well as hiring two top Bush advisers.
Has John McCain’s Straight Talk Express been re-routed through Bullshit Town? You know who we can ask? Sen. John McCain.””Senator, what is going on?” Stewart asked.
“Before I bring on my two attorneys..,” McCain said, quoting McKinney’s statement. He also joked that he is going to Liberty so he can get in the news and be on The Daily Show again.
McCain said he is going to give Liberty University students the same message he gives at other universities – public service is good. He invited Stewart to come sit next to Falwell when he gives the speech.
“Is that so that if the rapture happens during the speech somebody can be there to clean up all the clothes?” Stewart asked.
“Exactly. And you probably have lots of fans there at Liberty University,” McCain said.
“You are killing me here. I feel like it is condoning of Falwell’s crazy-making to have you go down there,” Stewart said.
He is going there to speak to the students, at the request of Falwell, but his message will be the same at other places, McCain said.
Stewart: “Is it not the kind of thing that, maybe if you don’t go there, it helps to keep marginalizing guys like that, or do I misunderstand politics? Maybe I misunderstand things.”
Stewart: “Are you freaking out on us?”
McCain: “Just a little.”
Stewart: “I hope you know what you are doing there.”
Stewart asked McCain if he feels nausea when he sees Fallwell. “I will give him your love,” McCain said.