David Gregory Plays Jon Stewart Clip on Meet the Press to Bash Boehner and GOP

September 26th, 2010 6:31 PM

September 2010 might go down in history as the month America's comedians took over the Democrat Party.

From upcoming political rallies by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to the latter testifying before Congress and the media waiting breathlessly for Bill Maher to release another video of Delaware Republican senatorial candidate Christine O'Donnell, our world has surely taken a giant step towards the bizarre.

Jumping aboard the crazy train was David Gregory who on Sunday's "Meet the Press" actually played a clip from Comedy Central's the "Daily Show" to mock the Republican "Pledge to America" and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Oh.) (video follows with transcript and commentary): 

DAVID GREGORY, HOST: You know, as you go back to 1994, Congressman Pence, there was the Contract with America, and one of the big issues, if you go back even to interviews I've done with Republican leaders till after the election of President Obama, was that this wanted to be the party of new ideas.


GREGORY: And, in fact, this, this pledge has been criticized for being anything but new. Where satire is most effective, Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" this week raised this issue by comparing some of what was said in 1998 by Speaker--rather, who wants to be speaker, Boehner, John Boehner, to what he said in unveiling the pledge. And this is what it looked like.

(Videotape, "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," Thursday)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OHIO): (From September 23) A smaller...

(From March 3, 1998) A smaller...

(From September 23) ...less costly...

(From March 3, 1998) ...less costly...

(From September 23) ...and more accountable...

(From March 3, 1998) ...and more accountable...

(From September 23, 2010 and March 3, 1998; in unison) ...government in our nation's capital.

JON STEWART, "THE DAILY SHOW": Wow. That's--I don't even know what to say. This thing's not even a sequel. It's like a shot-by-shot remake of your--I thought the pledge was you were humbled and going to come back with fresh new ideas. Wasn't that the pledge?

(End videotape)

GREGORY: So what's new here?

What's new, David?

Well, NBC is now allowing a comedian to do research for its flagship Sunday morning political talk show, that's what's new.

Unfortunately, what's not new is Gregory and Stewart's ignorance of recent history. Consider the dates shown in this clip illustrating John Boehner then and now.

The "then" was March 3, 1998, and America was in the midst of a very strong economic recovery. Unemployment was 4.7 percent and was heading to 3.9 percent. Only 6.3 million Americans were out of work with this number dropping to 5.5 million by 2000. 

The Gross Domestic Product grew by 4.4 percent in '98, 4.8 percent in '99, and 4.1 percent in '00. Beyond this, '98 began a four year stretch of unified budget surpluses, in theory anyway.

By today's standards - with 9.6 percent unemployment, almost 15 million people out of work, and the economy in the doldrums! - the late '90s were a boom that Americans would do anything to have back.

Of course, at the heart of it was a Republican-controlled Congress and the policies it enacted. If replicating those successful policies precipitated a new period of growth and prosperity, wouldn't it be a good idea even if not new?

With this in mind, Stewart demonstrated staggering historical ignorance with this sketch last Thursday. Far worse, Gregory - who should have higher standards than a satirist on a comedy station! - made a fool of himself using it to try to make a point with his Republican guest.

Makes you think the late Tim Russert must have rolled over in his grave when he saw his successor make such a mockery of "Meet the Press" this morning.