Video: Jon Stewart blasts Obama on IRS scandal

posted at 10:01 pm on May 14, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

In which the host of “The Daily Show” expresses pretty much my entire political philosophy after suddenly realizing, hey, maybe there’s something to this whole skepticism of the federal government thing.

“This has, in one seismic moment, shifted the burden of proof from the tin foil behatted to the government. The VA claims backlog and the bounced checks and foreclosure clusterf**k had already given government competence fetishists fits. And now this. In a few short weeks, you’ve managed to show that when the government wants to do good things, your managerial competence falls somewhere between David Brent and a cat chasing a laser pointer. But when government wants to flex its more malevolent muscles, YOU’RE F**KIN’ IRON MAN!!”

Watch the whole thing. It’s pretty great.

He’s no convert; he’s more bemoaning the blow the idea of government competence will take in the wake of this and other scandals, thereby preventing President Obama from making a good-government argument in the future. The thing is, though, it’s the government that’s dealing the blows. Skepticism of a giant federal government’s ability to deliver on promises and treat citizens fairly is not some paranoid preoccupation, but a pretty decent assessment of the facts on the ground and experience with said giant federal government.

“I still believe that good government has the power to improve people’s lives,” Stewart says. Sure, fine, but we’re so far from that ideal, you’d think fans of activist government would be keenest to make sure it actually does that. Facing the reality of a government-performance spectrum, which truly does run from laser-pointer-cat to evil Iron Man, is key to making that happen. It’s nice for his audience to hear about it from him.


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