Mike Kueber's Blog

October 19, 2012

POTUS on The Daily Show

Filed under: Media,People,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 1:51 pm
Tags: , , ,

While the media was focused on Romney and Obama at the Al Smith Dinner last night, it overlooked an interesting appearance by POTUS on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show.  Although Stewart is a self-described progressive, I enjoy his shtick and have defended him against conservative charges of rank partisanship.  Last night, his interview of Barack Obama proved that my defense of him was justified.  

In the course of 15 minutes, Stewart asked five solid questions:

  1. Why was Debate #1 so weak?  POTUS ignored the question by saying it was “obviously an off night” and then answered with why he would make a better president than would Romney.
  2. Is your message stronger about how good you are or how bad Romney would be?  “I’m strong on both…  Two sides of the same coin.”
  3. What is your weak point – the economy?  POTUS blamed the tepid economic recovery on the obstructionist Republicans in Congress.
    1. First followup question – But there was $55 billion in the Stimulus Bill to help housing, but only $5 billion has been spent.  Question ignored.
    2. Second follow-up question – Won’t the Republicans be obstinate in 2013?  That’s why we need more Democrats elected.
  4. Based on four years of practical experience, do you still believe that there does not have to be a trade-off between our values & ideals and our national security?  POTUS maintained that, although there are tough calls and situations that are “not optimal,” there is no need to compromise our ideals.  (This response planted the term “optimal” in Stewart’s and Obama’s brain.)
    1. Follow-up question – But the Bush-era laws (probably referring to the Patriot Act) have not gone away?  POTUS claimed that his administration had modified them.
  5. Although you won the debating point about referring to Benghazi as a terrorist attack, what about Crowley’s larger point that there was much confusion about whether the movie was a precipitating event?  POTUS evaded the question by instead listing what he wasn’t confused about – i.e., four Americans were murdered and he was going to find out who did it and then go get them.
    1. First follow-up question – But the State Department and White House seemed to have different stories?  POTUS said that, as the information came in, it was communicated to the public.
    2. Second follow-up question – You’ve got to admit that the communication to Americans was not optimal?  It’s not optimal when four Americans are murdered. 

Every question from Stewart was legitimate, although Questions 2 and 4 made it easy for Obama to respond with his standard talking points.  By contrast, Questions 1, 3, and 5 were difficult to evade, and any objective-minded viewer would have to notice when Obama did that.  And follow-ups to Questions 3 and 5 made Obama’s evasiveness clear to all but the most partisan progressives.

Considering that Stewart is a progressive entertainer who wants Obama to win, this conservative thinks he acquitted himself quite well last night.    

p.s., I think that conservative efforts to make a big deal about the usage of “optimal” is misplaced, although not as bad as progressive efforts with respect to “binders of women.”

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