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by Steve Young

Steve Young columns

No doubt John McCain likes Jon Stewart and visa versa. McCain has appeared on "The Daily Show" more than any other guest. Certainly more than any other politician. After Tuesday night's appearance, my guess is that he'll probably think twice about showing up again, at least until after he loses the Republican primary. Fact is, if any candidate holding an untenable position on any issue, especially one that bonds himself to the administration's Iraqi failed strategies -- an obviously dear-to-the-heart issue with Stewart -- will think twice before coming on armed only with talking points.

Compared to his battering on Tuesday night's "Daily Show," his inappropriate "Bomb, bomb, bomb. Bomb Iran" parody seemed exceptionally ingenious.

From the start, it was obvious that Stewart was not in the mood for tit for tat punchlines with his friend.

"Do you want to start with "Bomb, Bomb Iran," or your market walk?"

McCain chose the Market and it went down hill from there. It really didn't make any difference which he chose. It was "did you stop beating your wife?" to the max. But it was McCain who had baited his own trap. From word to word Stewart shot down every talking point as if he had been prepared for them -- a hint to Mssrs Russert, Stephanopolous, et al. Until McCain realized that he was the sitting duck and needed to go on a non-stop diatribe, haranguing over Stewart's third, fourth and fifth degree, the interview drilled enough holes into McCain's stump speech to make him think twice about his official announcement today.

But the interview was not as much an insight into the thinness of McCain's argument as much as a template for every Sunday morning news talk host. I'd suggest cable talk to listen up, but they're so busy talking, hearing anything but their own voice is asking them to do the incomprehensible.

How clearly Stewart explained the divisiveness of the Bush administration and their apologists' attacking anyone who questioned their butchering of a so-called foreign policy.

"If the architects of a house without any doors and windows doesn't admit that this is the house they built,"said Stewart, "and continues to say, 'no, it's your fault for not being able to look into it,' then I don't understand how we move forward."

No response.

McCain could only go to the surge. Stewart wanted to know how "10,000" soldiers in Baghdad would turn the tide.

No answer.

Stewart wanted to know how questioning the president's policy is more an undermining of the troops than extending troop tours, creating stop loss and the Walter Reed debacle; He found the administration's using of the "undermining the troops" gambit, "almost criminal," asking rather incredulously, "How does the President have the balls to justify that?"

No answer.

When McCain used "Al Quaeda itself told us" TP to defend the even older TP, "If we leave Iraq they'll follow us here," Stewart informed the cherry-picking, near candidate that Al Quaeda also said, "Our strategy is to trap America in a war that will bleed them of treasure and lives."


That it takes a comedian to get drive a Kenworth through a would-be president's humongous hole of bullsh*t is an awful commentary on serious talk shows. Still, it would be nice if Sunday morning "moderators" took a look at how neatly Stewart took the wheel and turned in an interview that actually revealed that with McCain, there was no there, there.

At the end of the deballing, Stewart leaned over to his old friend -- something he is wont to do at the end of every interview -- to whisper whatever it is he says. I don't know what McCain said back, but I'm sure it wasn't "Can't wait to come back."

Then on this morning "Reliable Sources," the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz's Sunday CNN show meant to dig into how the media did or didn't do their job on the past week's stories, the Jon Stewart/McCain interview revealed how so-called RS oversight didn't even understand what one particular story was about,

Kurtz said that McCain was "standing up for what he believes." Panelist and conservative talk show host, Blanquita Cullum, said that Stewart was all about doing an O'Reilly, Rosie, Trump, et al, in an attempt to increase his ratings.

Nowhere in the segment did they come close to what really came out of the "Daily Show" interview: John McCain did not stand up for what he believes -- if what he says is what he really believes.

Every Stewart question or statement regarding the Republican "undermining the troops" red herring was never responded to directly -- or even indirectly -- by McCain. The former straight-talk expresser just deflected by moving on to another and altogether separate issue, never attempting to defend himself, mostly because that artificial and fallacious talking point is defenseless. As Stewart said, "it is almost criminal."

But nowhere in this week's "Reliable Sources" was a discussion of how Stewart did the job the MSM seems hesitant to do: hold politician's feet to the fire. And in this case, Kurtz's media watch-dogging, missed seeing the dog attempting to pee on the truth. Those actually watching that interview couldn't miss it.

Kurtz said that McCain "didn't necessarily lose" by his performance on this week's "Daily Show." Maybe, if you call not being able to justify your own "beliefs" not necessarily losing . But Kurtz not appreciating the importance of the job Stewart did and McCain's incapability to "stand behind his beliefs," was his own loss.

Stephanie Miller watch

Short of Bill having a new (or old) book of his to push, it will be the MSNBC's hottest fill-in/audition yet. Certainly no where near the lookers Michael Smerconish or Imus are, Stephanie Miller will be seated in the morning simulcast slot in the MSNBC studios in Secaucus, N.J. If she and her crew perform to half of their capability, Miller will never leave that seat.

As George Bush thought George Tenet said about WMD, this one's a "slam dunk."

Yes, the honchos at MSNBC, the same network that brought us the face (and rancid mouth) of Michael Savage, are moving into uncharted area: entertainment.

Hands down, The Stephanie Miller Show is the most entertaining political show in morning radio. I know I put in a lot of qualifiers there, but if I just used "funniest," no more would be needed.

It may not be perfect right off the bat, but that never stopped Miller. Much as the mystique of Jim Ward's on the money voices and the impact of the sound effects frittata that punctuate the show, will be handicapped by the fact that you actually see the man and woman behind the curtain.

The tradeoff is that the talent that is The Stephanie Miller show will get some well-deserved notoriety. While neither a Bill Maher nor a Jon Stewart nor even a Stephen Colbert, Stephanie Miller is the first Stephanie Miller and another in an all too short list of comics who has evolved into a political animal who reveals the emperor's (or president's) lack of credible garments. Watching Maher and Stewart wielding their satirical (and very real) power this past week, makes one beg for more funny guys with brains, even if some of the funny guys gots great gams, I tellya.

But the best part of it all is that you know Bill O'Reilly will have someone from his crack(ed) staff take note of Stephanie and her replays of Bill's actual words which should nail her at least a feature appearance on "Most Ridiculous Item of the Day" at the Factor. If you don't know what that is, picture a segment that usually has absolutely nothing to do with anything truly ridiculous, but is made so because Bill ends the segment by saying, "...which makes it The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day."

If Bill listens to how much his own words and audio are embarrassing and laughably insipid, he might even make Stephanie the "Talking Points Memo" subject at the top of the show. If Jim Ward were to actually lampoon O'Reilly, Bill might call for a complete boycott of Stephanie's show. She should be so lucky. Ask Franken.

Steve's latest blatant infomercial is available on YouTube and well worth five minutes, eighteen seconds of your time

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Albion Monitor   April 29, 2007   (

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