Jon Stewart on the Democrats and Republicans: “Holy sh&^ these can’t be the only two options!”

Daily Show 20060123Reader Rob D. pointed out that last night’s Daily Show with Jon Stewart was characteristically non-partisan when it came to talking about the similarity of Democrats and Republican corruption entrenched in Washington (torrent link, info). Stewart had conservative guest Fred Barnes on the show to pimp his book, but the interview took a turn where the topic was unfettered contempt for both parties. Stewart succinctly laid out the problem most rational third party observers have with scandal-ridden Washington:

“This idea that there’s this entrenched Washington establishment, that if you don’t… if you stick a finger in their eye, you’re not creating a different entrenched Washington establishment that’s just as perhaps corrupt or bubbled than the old one. It’s not… I guess it’s hard to give credit to someone just for coming in and going ‘that doesn’t work, let me bring in my own not-working thing'” [Applause]

A few moments later, the two talked about the (lack of) choice in politics:

Jon Stewart: You make the case that he’s one of these great presidents, but it seems like he’s one of these great presidents for really one segment of the population. And maybe the most polarizing that I’ve seen. You make the case that he’s a great leader… But isn’t leadership not just… solidifying a base? But reaching out, like Lincoln… to almost your enemies and being gracious. He’s… the new Republican establishment seem like sore winners to me, in a weird way. [laughter]

Fred Barnes: The ah… look, the president… I think the president could have done more to reaching out to Democrats.

Stewart: Not even Democrats, forget about Democrats…

Barnes: But who?

Stewart: Reasonable people… [laughter and applause] Forget about Democrats, I don’t even know that that… See that’s… That’s my point, Washington is sort of this… it views the world bicamerally, as though the world is Republican and Democrat, or liberal and conservatives, where the rest of us sit on the outside and just think “Holy shit… these can’t be the only two options.” …[laughter and applause]… Do you know what I mean? That’s the part that is so like… myeah.

Barnes: Yeah the difference is though, in Washington, those are the only two options.

Stewart: Why is that? Aren’t there independent thinkers that could have a chance to affect policy?

Barnes’s response was nothing short of a bombshell lie:

Barnes: There are independent thinkers but they’re not independent parties. There are two parties, remember there is the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. That’s it, that’s all we got.

It’s hard to believe that Barnes can sit there and say with a straight face that these are the only two parties we have. See for yourself that there’s a world of choice. Hell, Barnes himself is likely to be more in tune with libertarianism on domestic policy issues than Bush himself. But to claim ignorance that they even exist, especially as a major media mouthpiece (FOX News and Weekly Standard) either makes him incredibly stupid or amazingly disingenuous.

Stephen VanDyke

I've published HoT along with about 300+ friends since 2002. We're all Americans who are snarky and love our country. I'm a libertarian that registered Republican because I like to win elections. That's pretty much it.

12 Comments
  1. Fred Barnes spoke at my school, Roanoke College, last year. I asked him what advice he had for small government Republicans and his response basically consisted of dismissing small government Republicans as unimportant.

  2. So he’s a big government republican? I’ll try and dig up some info on him and confirm if I have to strike through relating him in any way to libertarianism.

  3. Were not his comments enough to warrant a mental strikethrough prior to your comment being made? Save yourself the research effort. This guy is there to kiss some Bush. That alone should be ample explanation of where he is.

    I’m not in the mood to debunk and viciously rip into the oxymoronic “small government Republican” title. Maybe I’ll get myself a blog here and save it for that.

  4. Oh yeah, he had a column in the Weekly Standard about a year or so ago titled “Big-Government Conservatism.” Talk about an oxymoron. Fred Barnes is a Straussian neo-con who wants endless war. I’m surprised Jon Stewart invited this scurrilous Bushite on his show.

  5. “Big Government Conservatism” isn’t an oxymoron. It’s a redundancy. “Small Government Conservatism” is an oxymoron.

  6. Well, I do have a Reader’s Digest from around 1990 where he wrote an article complaining about government spending. So maybe 15-16 years ago he had “some” interest in small government.

  7. Always remember that political ticks like Barnes HAVE to have a huge government to suck off of – they make their living that way! If they didnt have a two party system, they’d make one up becuase it gives them job security.

  8. Stewart: Forget about Democrats, I don’t even know that that… See that’s… That’s my point, Washington is sort of this… it views the world bicamerally, as though the world is Republican and Democrat, or liberal and conservatives, where the rest of us sit on the outside and just think “Holy shit… these can’t be the only two options.” …[laughter and applause]… Do you know what I mean? That’s the part that is so like… myeah.

    Matt Stone: We’re libertarian. Which is basically: Leave me alone—and I’m okay with drugs and gays. … We’ve had L.A. people—Democrats—come up to us and say, “How are we gonna get Al Sharpton out of this Democratic primary?” We’re like, What the fuck are you talking about? I don’t care about that shit. If you have hard-core political leanings, you’re like, Let’s fucking influence some people. Not us. I think it would cheapen the show. I kind of think South Park is more important than Democrat or Republican.

  9. This was one of my favorite statements from the Daily Show host. It is beyond clear that neither party represents anything but a representation of a set of values. The show continues to abide by their purpose stated as pointing out the absurdity in the system. I wait anxiously for the time when the half of the country that abstains from voting finally realizes they have the clout to put a third party on the map, if for nothing else than to declare that Americans care for America and not an outdated, overly specialized choice between what is temporarily the lesser of 2 evils.