The analysis of the president’s much publicized, bizarre appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart continues. Mostly due to the fact it wasn’t the jovial, yuck-fest everyone anticipated. Instead the “interview” was cutting and revealing — akin to a scalping.
It may have been the toughest interview the president has endured since he was elected. Obama-friendly Stewart turned critic, asking the question about Washington we all want the answer to: what happened to that change thing Obama promised. This is not the question the president needs to be struggling to answer less than a week from the mid-term elections.
Obama’s response: Wait for it . . . no, really you have to wait for it. This evoked laughter. In fact, the intermittent periods of laughter appeared to be directed at the president and not with him. You can’t blame the audience for being disrespectful. What he was saying was laughable.
The president, rather audaciously, admitted to abandoning those lofty principles of change he expounded in 2008 to play the Washington game. He justified it as a show of martyrdom: the American people were in a time of crisis and need. This ends-justifies-the-means tactic defines Americans’ disdain for Washington.
The quintessential cynic Stewart unwittingly exposed the reason for Obama’s unpopularity — not the health-care bill or the auto bailouts — but his orphaning of hope and change. Stewart managed to highlight what Americans have discovered: we elected another politician and not a principled leader.
Jeff Sural is an attorney working in Washington, D.C.