Reader 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.