If you’re one of those people who thinks that The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is not an equal-opportunity smack-talker, you must have missed their evisceration of President Obama’s campaign promise-breaking from last week. That said, it’s sometimes hard to take the time to delve into these more complex political issues when there are so many easy targets among this weird faction of corporations-first Republicans who still somehow claim to speak for the average American. When you have to churn out a show on a daily basis, some days you need those easy targets.
Case in point came last night during the latest installment in The Daily Show’s ongoing segment “The Strife Aquatic” – a reference to the great Bill Murray movie The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, in case you didn’t know. They’re continuing to monitor the fallout from the congressional hearings about British Petroleum and their never-ending oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last week. You may have heard about that – Texas Representative Joe Barton actually apologized to the universally-reviled BP CEO Tony Hayward for what he called a “shakedown” of a private corporation and “a tragedy of the first proportion,” which in actuality was the $20 billion escrow account that Obama got BP to set up to give restitution for the livelihoods they’ve destroyed. The backlash against that sentiment from even his fellow Republicans proved that even the most right-wing of pundits and politicians wouldn’t be crazy enough to take BP’s side in this disaster, right? Unfortunately for them, there just happens to be all this videotaped evidence of many of the Republicans who dumped on Barton once the public lambasted him for that stance actually agreeing with that stance just days earlier, and that’s right in TDS’s wheelhouse to dredge up and rub in their faces. It’s what they do best, really.
It turns out that the terminology Barton used was taken from a memo released by the Republican Study Committee, which apparently counts 114 congressmen as members (2/3 of the Republican caucus), which blasted the escrow account as “Chicago-style shakedown politics,” but apparently not every suggested talking point can be a winner, seeing as how Barton’s been taking so much heat ever since he made a point of talking about it. Hardest hit by the stinging segment were Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota – in one clip she’s calling it “extortion” and a few days later insists that “no one is saying this fund shouldn’t be set up” – and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, whose incomprehensible conclusions amounting to ‘they shouldn’t have to set aside money to pay us so we can make sure they have enough money to pay us’ drew a great line from Jon Stewart: “That’s not circular logic – that’s circle-jerkular logic.”
The TDS position is made very clear. “‘You broke it, you bought it’ is not extortion!” Stewart said, before turning his attention to mockery of Hayward being spotted going on a leisurely yachting excursion during this crisis. There’s no forgetting the real villains in all of this.