He’s no Huckabee, but Maverick usually fares well in these awkward comedy chat-show encounters. At the very least, he betrays no discomfort from the snoutful of self-conscious liberal hipness one gets when appearing on TDS or Colbert. Which, in fairness, may be due in part to how soft Stewart goes on him: To my continued surprise, Perino, Tony Snow, and now even the GOP nominee were treated to 10 minutes of schmoozing with only one or two glacing blows mixed in. After the media canonized Colbert for his White House Correspondents Dinner performance two years ago, you’d think he and Stewart would seize every opportunity to play Left-Wing Avenger. Credit him for showing restraint.

His one (gently broached) issue with McCain has to do with calling Obama Hamas’s candidate of choice, an apparently unfair shot notwithstanding the fact that it’s based on a quote from one of the group’s spokesmen. Since when do we take terrorists at their word, wonders Stewart? Answer: Since the left (and Ron Paul) first started pushing “blowback” as an explanation for hatred of, and attacks on, America. If Osama’s worth listening to vis-a-vis 9/11, Hamas must be worth listening to vis-a-vis Israeli policy. Know thy enemy, right? Except when it’s inconvenient.