While it’s not the first time it’s been brought up in liberal circles (generally in jest) there is a bit more serious tone to an editorial which found its way to the pages of CNN this week. The unapologetic title says it all… Jon Stewart for President. Yes, it’s written by comedian Dean Obeidallah, but it’s not at all humorous in nature. Dean is making a serious pitch (at least in his mind) for the Democrats across the country to drag the Daily Show host into the Oval Office, kicking and screaming if need be. After all, he refers to Stewart as (and no, I’m not making this part up) truly the Walter Cronkite (with more laughs) of our generation.
Wait, before you dismiss this idea quickly, keep in mind that Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, famously got his start as a comedic performer on “Saturday Night Live.” And there’s of course Ronald Reagan, who had a career as a B-level actor before becoming president.
If Stewart became president, his press conferences and presidential addresses would be the most entertaining ever. Instead of mimicking past presidents who offered us solemn, direct to camera speeches, Stewart would add flashy graphics and jokes that help him make his point. I bet some of President Stewart’s speeches would go viral.
That initial offering should be a clue to Obeidallah as he proofreads his own work. Summoning up the ghost of Reagan as an example of how the inexperienced can ascend to our highest office is the first and last resort of the desperate who want to prove that anyone could be president. It also willfully ignores the fact that The Gipper spent a decade as the chief executive overseeing one of the larger economies on the planet as Governor of California. At the other end of the scale, yes… you can always call upon Al Franken as an example, but let’s be honest here; we’re talking about Minnesota. These are the same folks who chose unwisely when picking wild mushrooms for their salads and elected Jesse Ventura to be their governor. I’m not sure if that’s the go to example you’re looking for.
But Dean has more to say on the subject. Lots more.
The more I seriously contemplated a Stewart candidacy and reflected upon his body of work, the more I realized that he truly would make a great president. There’s no doubt Stewart understands the nuances of the issues facing our nation; after all, he has been discussing them nightly for over 16 years…
Former Obama adviser Eric Lesser told Politico this week about Stewart, “I’d be hard-pressed to think of a person who spoke with the same amount of authority to that big of a group of people.”
Stewart also would have many things going for him if he ran. He has very high name recognition and is viewed as trustworthy. Not only did a 2009 Time online poll name him the “most trusted newscaster in America,” but a recent poll also named Stewart the top political pundit in America, far outdistancing people like Rush Limbaugh. And 48% of the respondents to this recent poll stated they admired Stewart, with over 50% noting they agreed with Stewart on at least some issues. (Only 12% never agreed with Stewart.)
Aside from going on to compare Hillary Clinton’s trustworthiness unfavorably to Stewart, the author just heaps more and more praise on the talk show host. It’s actually quite mind boggling. Anyone who could watch that show night after night (as I freely admit to doing) and come away with the opinion that Jon Stewart “understand the nuances of the issues” is clearly so deeply immersed in the liberal swamp that he surely must receive daily deliveries of SCUBA tanks. Stewart is clever and can be very funny at times – at least when he’s not mindlessly droning on about Republicans for the entire show – but the problem with using him for a news source is that he is so frequently wrong. He’s either uninformed, without taking the time to research the facts of the stories he mocks, or he is knowingly disingenuous, using distortions to try to make the bits funnier. Neither speaks well of an actual leader.
But if you have some time to kill today, feel free to give a read to Dean’s entire argument. It’s an intriguing peek inside the mind of one of the people who compose the Democrat base and find Hillary insufficiently liberal for their tastes. But be forewarned… you’re treading into a bit of a fever swamp.