What's Jon Stewart Smoking? Obama Spurns Democrat 'Dogma'?

Barack Obama has been endorsed by The Nation magazine and MoveOn.org, and his most celebrated California voter is Markos Moulitsas, the purveyor of the hard-left Daily Kos blog. He’s promising to meet with dictators (Cuban, Iranian, North Korean) without preconditions. He’s taken a dramatic step to the hard left. But in his appearance on CNN’s Larry King Live on Wednesday night, comedian Jon Stewart tried to push the strange idea that Obama was a base-spurning maverick like John McCain, that they’re running "outside of traditional dogma." He was mocking how conservatives dislike McCain because they want rigid obedience to their party line:

STEWART: Who do they trust? Again, it's the old idea of you have to be lock step. We have to know that you'll do exactly what we say. And I think that -- and I'm sure the left has that same sort of dogma. These are candidates -- I think Obama and McCain mostly -- that are running outside of traditional dogma. And if you're a person that -- you know, the Republicans apparently hate governmental power, except when they're in charge of the government, and then it's like you know what would be great? The unitary executive. Don't you think that would be great? (Laughter) You know what would be great? I'm just throwing this out there. A monarchy. Am I right? So you have two guys that -- they're just not quite sure if they're going to go party line. I think that's exciting.

Stewart began by praising both men and mocking the Republicans for pressing Brian McNamee, the friend of Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens, over his charge Clemens took human growth hormone in hearings on Capitol Hill:

STEWART: Well, he's clearly -- it's -- I think so much of what it is, is a moment in time. You can see -- I do think that the country -- a part of the country at least -- has felt, as though they were not heard. And I think the administration readily admits it. You know, you get Cheney on the show sometimes, or Bush, and they'll say like, you know, it's a 51 percent country. That's all you had to do. The strategy has been to basically govern for only your constituency -- just to get things done. And this is a guy coming on and saying hey...And I actually think McCain is not a guy who -- I think, the biggest difference with these two guys, and Hillary to a lesser extent, I think, is that they are not partisan animals. They almost seem to have a disdain for that purely partisan mentality. And I think that's wonderful. I -- do you remember, in the -- how did they turn the steroid hearings into a partisan affair? Did you watch it?

KING: Yeah, how did that happen? Republicans were for -- for Roger.


KING: And the Democrats were for

STEWART: You had Dan Burton waving his thing.

KING: He went nuts.

STEWART: Lies. Lies. They're all lies, sir. You know, and he's treating it like it's, you know, he's Scarlett O'Hara and McNamee, you know, they're lies! I don't like this spectacle. He's the guy who used a shotgun on a watermelon to prove that Vince Foster couldn't have killed himself, but he doesn't like spectacle. (Laughter) He's a guy who literally would hold up, you know, Clinton's underpants in impeachment hearings, but he chooses to make a stand at the Clemens hearing.

This is typical liberal snark. It is true that Burton shot a pumpkin to test whether a gunshot would be heard from Fort Marcy Park at a nearby Saudi government compound. But it is not true Burton held up a pair of underpants at an impeachment hearing – as if it was Molly Ringwald’s underwear in "Sixteen Candles." With comedians exaggerating, the audience at home might take some of the mockery as factual rather than satirical. Stewart did not recall for CNN viewers what the liberals did their own underwear act on Burton at that time. Salon.com and other outlets dragged out Burton’s adultery.

Stewart didn’t mock liberal Connecticut Republican Christopher Shays, who also pressed McNamee in that hearing. (Perhaps Shays was intense because he’s a Yankees fan?) But it demonstrates Stewart’s consistent bashing of conservatives.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis