Using Bush's Own Words, Stewart Offers Tour De Force Review Of Iraq Talking Points
If JABBS has a kindred spirit in the world of television, it is Jon Stewart and the rest of the gang at Comedy Central's The Daily Show.
Simply put, Stewart et al have the uncanny ability to make razor-sharp political analysis -- better than just about anything you'll see on a real news show -- entertaining and memorable.
The Aug. 25 edition of the show provides the latest example of why this may the most intelligent and meaningful half hour on television.
The subject was President Bush's talking points on the Iraq War. If you a regular JABBS reader, I'm sure you will agree with Stewart's various points.
STEWART: (Bush) has developed a sophisticated exit strategy ... for getting out of questions about the war. It's a strategy known as repetition, or "repetition." It's one he'd used with great success many times before.
"But Jon," you ask, "how does it work?"
The first step is to let people know you're aware of their questions. Then the president can reduce these nuanced concerns into a simplistic misguided concern that he can easily refute.
BUSH MONTAGE: I also know there's a lot of folks here in the United States that are, you know, wondering about troop withdrawals ... I also have heard the voices of those saying: "pull out now" ... Immediate withdrawal from Iraq would be a mistake.
STEWART: See? He knows the concerns that make you look like a pussy. So staying the course in Iraq is the plan. But what about all the violence and chaos we see? Pah! It's not match for a simple eight-letter word. See if you can pick out the one he uses:
BUSH MONTAGE: I am pleased with the progress being made ... we're making progress ... a lot of progress ... I'm please with the progress ... progress ... progress ... Oh I know it's hard for some Americans to see that ...
BUSH: ... we are making progress.
So we're doing the right thing and we're making good progress. So, I guess that means, uh, if I hear you correctly -- we're doing the right thing and we're making good progress -- that soon we'll be able to talk about concrete troop withdrawal?
BUSH MONTAGE: Why would you say to the enemy, you know, here's the timetable ... it makes no sense ... it doesn't make any sense to have a timetable ... an artificial timetable ... there aren't any timetables ... I'm not giving timetables ...
STEWART: One little timetable? No timetables!
Now here's why staying on message with your talking points is difficult: Back when the war began, the talking points for the president centered on weapons of mass destruction. (Laughs) Really drilled that into our heads actually -- it was quite a lot of talk. That doesn't seem to come up so much anymore. But you just know some nasty reporter's always going to ask. So the key for your new war rationale talking point is: delivering them as though the person who asked is retarded:
BUSH MONTAGE: We're defeating them there so we do not have to face them here ... our immediate strategy is to eliminate terrorist threats abroad ... we're fighting the enemy in Iraq ... fighting them in Iraq ... to defeat the terrorists abroad ... so we don't have to face them here at home ... where we live ...
STEWART: (Sarcastically) Duh!
Of course, sometimes, no matter how good your talking points, no matter how many times you repeat them, there are still some dissenters and non-believers. If there only was some way you could shut these remaining people up with some kind of emotional bludgeon:
BUSH MONTAGE: The war arrived on our shores on September the 11th, 2001 ... September the 11th ... September the 11th I made a commitment to the American people ... from September the 11th ... the lesson of September the 11th, 2001 ...
STEWART: You know, if I had a nickel for every time Bush has mentioned 9/11, I could raise enough reward money to go after Bin Laden!
And there you go, talking points. Simple! Catchy!
And there you go. Stewart! Brilliant!