Sadly, Jon Stewart is part of the problem. He goes out of his way to skewer both sides and show how both Democrats and Republicans are hypocrites on many issues. Obama trying to paint a happy face on the job numbers last week is one example of the Democrats’ hypocrisy. But he has much more material with the Republicans, yet he leaves us over and over again with the message that both sides are the problem. As Mann and Ornstein have shown in their book, Even Worse than it Looks, that is simply not the case. And worse, it turns people away from choosing which party might help them and lends to voter apathy. It is no different than the he said/she said arguments that the press fails to mediate and leaves either side free to believe whatever they want to without the intervention of facts.
Jon takes it a step further with his “both parties have gotten what they wanted but those two things can’t coexist successfully.” As Thomas Mann tried to point out to Jon, the Democrats have been willing to give up some of their “gains” and the Republicans are using a scorched earth approach to make sure there are no wins for the Democrats. The other thing John seems to gloss over is that all those “gains” of Democrats occurred 50 years ago and the tax cuts and rolling back of regulations which is devastating our safety nets and running up our deficit occurred under Republicans. When Democrats try to compromise with the Republicans, even on policies they once wanted, they don’t want the Demos to have a win so they won’t compromise.
Jon seems to suffer from the idea that reasonable people will find a reasonable compromise. What Mann and Orstein presented was that first the Republicans are no longer reasonable. Second, although they did not say it in this interview, but in one with Dan Rather I posted yesterday, that sometimes the middle is not the solution. Sometimes one side has it wrong. We are facing a decision point in this country where we have to choose. One side, the Republicans, want Bush on Steroids and will not accept compromise. Then when solutions fail to arise, Jon blames both sides. He has become part of the problem of confusing the American Public. I realize as a comedian he just wants to make fun, but he is where a large segment of our society who is fully disgusted with mainstream media gets its news. So he has to tell the whole truth, not a partial one that might alienate some of his viewers. Of course if you tell the whole truth, that will be de facto picking sides.
The whole truth would be to recognize that the Republicans have no real plan, and their Ryan plan would worsen the deficit if the deficit is important, which they claim it is. They have stymied any attempt by the Democrats to make things better. And when the Democrats, to their discredit, attempted to give away the farm, the Republicans refused to play. So how is this both sides Jon, and how is it helping the country to confuse people by saying both sides are at fault? No you can’t have low or no taxes and Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, affordable schools, and affordable health care. The Democrats have foolishly said we will cut some of these programs and yet the Republicans won’t play. This is not both sides, this is a war and sooner or later you to will have to pick a side or you to become just another flack giving us he said/she said, instead of pointing out the ultimate truth with your humor.