Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 1, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THE PRESS, THE PRESIDENT, AND A COMEDIAN WALK INTO A ROOM....It must be a slow day. Here's the question du jour in the blogosphere: Is the mainstream media in the tank because it mostly ignored Stephen Colbert's brutal and merciless skewering of the president at the White House Correspondents' Dinner on Saturday?

Beats me. I have a sneaking hunch that the featured comedian rarely gets very much news attention the next day last year's news accounts focused almost exclusively on Laura Bush, you'll remember but it would take a massive Nexis archeological expedition to find out for sure, and I don't care nearly enough to do it. Maybe someone else will.

But did anyone notice that George Bush's routine was every bit as pointed as Colbert's? For those who didn't see it, Bush worked with a double who acted as his "inner voice," saying the things that Bush himself is forced to hold in. But despite the laughter it received, that inner voice made it crystal clear that Bush really didn't want to be there and really doesn't like having to pretend to laugh at their jokes. He was pissed off about the whole thing and that was before Colbert spoke.

So the evening featured a president who really does loathe the press and a comedian who really is disgusted by Bush. Is it any wonder that it wasn't the most lighthearted correspondents' dinner in memory?

Kevin Drum 2:12 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (292)

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Comments

Is the mainstream media in the tank because it mostly ignored Stephen Colbert's brutal and merciless skewering of the president at the White House Correspondents' Dinner on Saturday?

Yes.

Posted by: craigie on May 1, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Guess that's what he meant by "a uniter, not a divider." The whole country is united in being pissed-off (just from different perspectives).

Was last year's comic Cedric the Entertainer? I only remember Laura's horse-whacking comment.

Posted by: Tom on May 1, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

I dunno... I thought it was the question d'hier. I also thought Colbert was as hard on the press as he was the prez.

Posted by: Emma Zahn on May 1, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Funny, the local fox channel here was running clips of it all morning and pointing out just what a roasting the shrub got. Even had clips with some of what colbert was saying and showing shrub looking like he had just sucked a lemon.

Posted by: Dreggas on May 1, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

The best part of Laura Bush's comments from last year was the "extended cut" on the Daily Show. Priceless.

Posted by: rusrus on May 1, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

In what way is a leftie, unfunny comedian standing up in front of friends to skewer Chimpy McHitler newsworthy? From what I understand, it happens all the time. It's a dog-bites-man story, Kevin.

Posted by: Steve White on May 1, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone interested in seeing the actual event, we've got links to video at this blog. It's hilarious. Please feel free to look around the whole blog, too!

Posted by: Tacitean on May 1, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, as one of Josh's readers at TPM has pointed out - when Imus poked Clinton hard at one of these, it was news for days.

So my vote is - in the tank.

Posted by: Doug on May 1, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

The fact that Colbert skewered Bush might not have warranted excessive press coverage in and of itself. But the fact that he effectively ridiculed the MSM guaranteed that his performance would be consigned to the journalistic deep freeze.

The press is not only in the tank, it is ashamed of its collective performance over the past few years. Journalists don't want anyone to highlight the uncomfortable truth that they were complicit in foisting Bush and his failed policies on the country. They are certainly not going to give coverage to an upstart like Colbert when he calls them on that complicity.

Posted by: athos on May 1, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

The media is pissed because Colbert gave it just a big a spanking as it did Bush.

I was highly amused to see that, after the speech, Bush tried the obligatory glad-handing and Colbert briefly shook Bush's hand and kept walking. Heh.

Posted by: shortstop on May 1, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

What I found interesting about Colbert's performance was how well he skewered the press and how incapable the press was a laughing at itself. Colbert was funny but the audience wasn't laughing.

Bush definitely looked like a wounded lame duck throughout the proceeding.

Posted by: ftm on May 1, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

In what way is a leftie, unfunny comedian standing up in front of friends to skewer ...

Friends? If anything, Colbert was harder on the press than the President. (My favorite line was, "You know -- fiction.") The delusional ability of the Bush cultists to reject any data that might cause them to question their preconceptions is truly astounding.

Posted by: Gregory on May 1, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Colbert bombed. He did his typical Bush bashing and nobody laughed. Watch for him to get dixie chicked and never to be heard again as Comedy Channel drops him due to lack of viewers.

Posted by: Al on May 1, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Er, that is, Colbert gave the media just as big a spanking as he did Bush. Among the media, only Jeff Gannon has spanked Bush, and he asked for it that night.

Posted by: shortstop on May 1, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Most telling was the reaction, or, more correctly, the lack of any visible reaction of the audience during the Colbert presentation.

Posted by: lib on May 1, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

It seems with the dilemma both near and long term
facing this country, 'lighthearted' fun seems
not only misplaced, but in very poor taste.

I am happy the hemlock is bitter to the recipients.

Posted by: Semanticleo on May 1, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Well, this is third-hand, but Josh Marshall has posted a note from a reader who suggests that Don Imus' similar thrashing of Clinton at the height of the Lewinsky scandal was much more widely covered. So, part of what's driving liberal blog conern over this is likely that we remember the newspapers being much harder on Clinton than they have been on Bush, despite the fact that Bush's errors have ruined tens of thousands of lives and Clinton's put him in the dog houes with his wife (as well as justifying a Republican investigation that cost the taxpayers millions). The meta-issue here is probably the MSM's fear of doing anything that plays too well to the wingnut's charges of being "liberal media."

Posted by: URK on May 1, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Steve White,

Re: Steven Colbert. Leftie? Sure. Unfunny? I'm assuming that you've tragically lost both arms in some kind of terrible accident, because your funny bone is missing.

Condolences

Posted by: athos on May 1, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

First, making fun of Bush would be funny if there weren't so many body bags involved.

Second, Colbert wasn't funny, but he beat on the press for not doing their jobs. Can anyone appreciate the irony that they aren't reporting what he said? Which means they aren't doing their jobs!
If I keep this up, I going to get into a loop and never get out.

Posted by: Jim Ramsey on May 1, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

On Bush's act: Somehow I was reminded that he wasn't competent enough to do it all by himself.

Sort of when he appeared before the 9/11 investigation and had to have Cheney there to hold his hand.

Posted by: MonkeyBoy on May 1, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Nothing funnier than watching the wingers try to argue that Colbert is unfunny. As evidence of this, they hold up the reaction of their staunchest ally...the "liberal media."

Posted by: shortstop on May 1, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

A quick Nexis search for "Don Imus" and "correspondents dinner" found 5 mentions for the week after his controversial 1996 appearance. A search for "correspondents dinner" for the week after the 2005 dinner resulted in 12 results. The search used "General News" as the news category and "Major papers as the news source.

So Kevin may be right -- at least according to this preliminary quick search, these things don't generate a lot of mention (at least in newspapers)

Someone with more Nexis savvy than me might uncover more, so YMMV.

That being said, I think Colbert's speech was brilliant and took some real nerve to pull off. I have more respect for him now than I ever did. And I really liked him before.

Posted by: John on May 1, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

"Kevin, as one of Josh's readers at TPM has pointed out - when Imus poked Clinton hard at one of these, it was news for days."

Yes, but Imus went after him for being unfaithful -- something that really matters. Deference to the President during Times of War is vital. Colbert should be locked up!

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on May 1, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Re: Steven Colbert. Leftie? Sure. Unfunny? I'm assuming that you've tragically lost both arms in some kind of terrible accident, because your funny bone is missing.

No kidding...frantically checking the rolls at Northwestern, Loyola, Rush, U of C and UIC to ensure I will never encounter someone of such poor judgment while I have only a paper robe to protect myself!

Posted by: shortstop on May 1, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

The corporate media people in attendance (a) probably didn't like being made fun of and (b) are probably still hung over and (c) would like to keep their little star-f***ing event to themselves, thank you very much. Little people, i.e. readers and viewers, can stick it.

Posted by: Lame Man on May 1, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

At first I was puzzled. What else did they expect from Colbert!? Now I've come to believe that they expected Colbert to be as deferential to power as they are, that Colbert would offer up a defanged version of himself, that the angry left would prove itself to be really only a Mallomar. How much do you want to bet that Colbert is the last of the liberal icons to be invited to this dinner. The only question is whether they get Ray Romano or Dennis Miller for next year.

Posted by: Raenele on May 1, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

WHAT... Come on now, isn't it about time somebody wiped that nasty sneer of Bush's face.

Stephen Colbert did a fine job of that and if any of the twenty-something crowd or even if there any half liberal minded individuals present at all it would truly have been a grand evening indeed. What does Bush expect at 32% poll rates? The man the himself is now the joke. Did you see the way Mr. Bush left? It was cause and nothing short of pure mirth. Isn't it time somebody make Bush walk out in huff?

Thanks Colbert for bring Bush down a few notches more.

And now I see that even Colin Powell is beginning to take the side of those six generals who what troop withdrawals, as well as spectulation that Karl Rove is about to be toast too. Can impeachment be far behind?

Posted by: Cheryl on May 1, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Apologies to Tacitean, but Colbert simply wasn't funny, which is why his bit hasn't been covered in greater depth. Bush critics can revel in the fact that Colbert used the venue to beat up on the president but from an entertainment perspective Colbert simply bombed.

Why? Because he forgot the basic rules of roasting (just as Imus did). He wasn't clever, he wasn't funny, he wasn't gracious. He was like the cliche of the grossly innappropriate toast-maker at a wedding. And he went over just about as well.

Posted by: Hacksaw on May 1, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

The meta-issue here is probably the MSM's fear of doing anything that plays too well to the wingnut's charges of being "liberal media."

Exactly, plus the media are more afraid of Bush than they were of Clinton. They knew that, if they laughed at a joke at Clinton's expense in front of him, there would be no consequences. With Bush the situation is quite different: they know he is thin-skinned, vindictive, and holds grudges (e.g., "major league asshole").

Posted by: kth on May 1, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

When Imus dissed Clinton, it was all over the place, for days.

Posted by: JayAckroyd on May 1, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Editor and Publishers website had a piece on Colberts performance that suggested The Decider was not amused. No surprise that the MSM was silent.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on May 1, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

If Stephen Colbert had a moustache, I would stroke it.

Posted by: Hoyt Pollard on May 1, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: "But did anyone notice that George Bush's routine was every bit as pointed as Colbert's?"

Yeah, well, he's a real laugh riot, that George W. Bush is.

I remember his side-splittingly hilarious "search for WMDs" routine from the dinner two years ago, looking under the Oval Office sofa, etc.

And I also know that Cindy Sheehan clearly remembers that bit of comedy, too. As she recently recalled to a standing room audience in honolulu, seeing the video of George peeking under the sofa is what spurred her to take personal action, because her son Casey was killed in Iraq that very same day.

What Steven Colbert did on Saturday night is most notable because he publicly and baldly confronted both the president and his courtiers about their perpetration of a public fraud upon the American people.

Where is it written in the Constitution that the president is entitled to hear only what he wants to hear, and to not be held publicly accountable for his actions -- even if it is by comedians?

And two other question:
(1) Why have comedians like Colbert, Al Franken, Janeane Garafolo, etc. been the most prominent people to take on the bullies of the right -- especially at times when it wasn't politically expedient to do so?
(2) Why do so many of our elected Democratic officials possess the courage to shoot the wounded, speaking out against this abomination of an aadministration only when it proves to be politically popular to do so?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on May 1, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK
Colbert bombed. He did his typical Bush bashing and nobody laughed. Watch for him to get dixie chicked and never to be heard again as Comedy Channel drops him due to lack of viewers.

Al's funny, and deluded. The Dixie Chicks didn't lose any sales due to their digs at the Chimperor, and their concerts continued to sell out even at the height of the manufactured controversy. Their new CD is #1 in pre-sale orders before it's even released.

Loook for Colbert's ratings to skyrocket after his ripping the Chimp a new one at the conference.

Posted by: zadig on May 1, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

This is totally fascinating. The right-wing talking point is going to be that Colbert lacks comedic skill? WTF? I want to wrap you all up in tissue paper and carry you around in my purse, you're so precious!

Posted by: shortstop on May 1, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

I thought the Bush twin act was really funny, and I was surprised at the comments the twin made that were things we'd believe Bush would be think. However, I noticed the real Bush didn't have to say too much. In fact, I would bet he was was a bit inebriated.

Christy Hardin Smith says Reagan and Rich Little did the twin thing back in the 80's.

Posted by: pol on May 1, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

This is totally fascinating. The right-wing talking point is going to be that Colbert lacks comedic skill? WTF? I want to wrap you all up in tissue paper and carry you around in my purse, you're so precious!

Look, if anyone knows funny it's the right wing. After all, just consider such acclaimed conservative comedians as Dennis Miller and, uh, um....

Posted by: Stefan on May 1, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Well, if you make fun of Dear Leader, then by definition you aren't funny.

Ironic, seeming as how the standard Righty talking point is that the Left is shrill and humorless. Who are all those funny right-wing comedians again?

Posted by: craigie on May 1, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Why? Because he forgot the basic rules of roasting (just as Imus did). He wasn't clever, he wasn't funny, he wasn't gracious. He was like the cliche of the grossly innappropriate toast-maker at a wedding. And he went over just about as well.

Forgot, or purposefully ignored? I thought it was hilarious, largely due to the perceived inappropriateness of it all. Colbert treated this event with the contempt it deserved. After how the press has acted these last ten years, I have little respect for most of the people in that room. If they were insulted by his performance, that just makes it even funnier.

Posted by: PapaJijo on May 1, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

@Steve White,

Its Chimpy McHilterburton, not Chimpy McHitler.

Posted by: Crack on May 1, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Ironic, seeming as how the standard Righty talking point is that the Left is shrill and humorless.

Liberals can take a joke. They just prefer not to have one as president.

Posted by: Stefan on May 1, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Sure, go ahead and laugh it up, libs, while gas goes to five bucks a gallon and our kids are dying in Iraq.

Posted by: shortstop, trying out the next RNC meme on May 1, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan:

Rich Lowry, Christopher Buckley and P.J. O'Rourke are all quite funny. I'll concede that the conservative stand-up bench is rather thin...(though George Carlin and the South Park guys could be classified as libertarian)...

I'm quite confident that an actual examination of news media from the time (as opposed to anecdotes subject to confirmation bias) will discover that Imus was no more reported than Colbert...

Posted by: Nathan on May 1, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Can the Bush "double" run the country for the rest of his term?

Just asking.

Posted by: ckelly on May 1, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

www.thankyoustephencolbert.org

Go. Now. Unless you're some kind of bear-loving America hater.

Posted by: cazart on May 1, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

I'm quite confident that an actual examination of news media from the time (as opposed to anecdotes subject to confirmation bias) will discover that Imus was no more reported than Colbert...

(Chasing Nathan with a sheaf of tissue paper.) You're quite confident, are you? (Get in here!) Would that judgment be subject to confirmation bias? (Holding your ear and wrapping your head up tightly.) Just wondering. (Stuffing you in purse.)

Posted by: shortstop, now in tears from laughing on May 1, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Not sure about this

Posted by: duncan mcdonuts on May 1, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Rich Lowry, Christopher Buckley and P.J. O'Rourke are all quite funny. I'll concede that the conservative stand-up bench is rather thin...

Rich Lowry!?!? Rich Lowry is funny? Good god, man, what is wrong with you???

(though George Carlin and the South Park guys could be classified as libertarian)...

George Carlin's opinion of George W. Bush cannot be printed without using at least six of his seven dirty words.

Posted by: Stefan on May 1, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Colbert wasn't sitcom funny or even Comedy-Central funny. The White House Correspondents' Dinner speech was Mort-Sahl funny, Lenny-Bruce funny, Ambrose-Bierce funny; it should go down as a classic of American political humor, most of all for its sense of kairos and for the audience that he had the nerve to go up against.

Posted by: Tim Morris on May 1, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Would people please stop asserting how little the audience was laughing? You don't know. There was no mic on the audience. There was no miked laughter audible during the video gag segment, and the laughter audible during the live speech was obviously bleeding through the monitors. Absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence: given the audio sourcing, the audible laughter may have been very loud, or may have been quite scattered. You don't know and you can't tell unless you were in the room.

It's the same stupid mistake that happened with Dean's "scream", which was from an isolated condensor mic in a very loud room. No one there probably even noticed it. If I record you trying to recite the pledge of allegience while listening to loud white noise over padded headphones, you'd beg me to erase the tape the moment I played it back for you. Because you'd sound like a stammering idiot and you know people would make fun of you for it.

In general, when you watch something on T.V., you have no sense of the general mood. And claiming you know how loud sounds actually were independent of how they were miked is like claiming you could tell what kind of cologne the cameraman was wearing from the audience's facial expressions.

Posted by: brent on May 1, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

I almost feel sorry for poor little Kevin Drum. Here he is, trying to link to some other blog or web site about the great anti-Bush zingers from Colbert, but comes up empty-handed!

Bush gets the last laugh, Kevin.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on May 1, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

I think Colbert's routine was similar to Jon Stewart's at the Academy Awards. He poked fun at the press, and much like the self-importance of the Hollywood types listening to Jon Stewart and sitting on their hands, the D.C. press corpse didn't much like being made to look lame. Satire - true satire coming from outsiders - is different from the self-affirming kind that the reporters usually get. Colbert pointed out the absurdities of Bush and the coverage he gets - the entirety of the Beltway bubble - and nobody in the room thought it was funny.

But if you see the tape, it's pretty brilliant.

Posted by: Brian on May 1, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

"Forgot pthe basic rule of roasting], or purposefully ignored? I thought it was hilarious, largely due to the perceived inappropriateness of it all. Colbert treated this event with the contempt it deserved."

Of course the fact that some Bush critics find it amusing that Colbert acted inappropriately doesn't mean that what he did was actually humorous. In other words, his act wasn't funny for what he said as opposed to the fact that his saying it was so inappropriate.

At least that makes some level of sense. Certainly it is more reasonable for someone (in a moment of candor) to say they loved the fact that Colbert used the occassion to lash out at the president and the press than it is for someone to claim that his routine itself was actually funny. It wasn't.

Posted by: Hacksaw on May 1, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think either side can claim George Carlin. The man stands alone.

P.J. is pretty funny. And that's about it. I guess it's just too hard to balance creativity and bloodlust.

Posted by: craigie on May 1, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Yawn.

Posted by: Birkel on May 1, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Bush gets the last laugh, Kevin.

How so, Ken? D'ya think he'll turn this whole thing around and prevail in the end? Will he announce that we all dreamed the last five years, just like that entire season of Dallas?

Posted by: shortstop, helpless with mirth on May 1, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

It is obvious why wingnuts don't find Colbert funny.

If he wasn't marketed as a comedian, they'd be nodding their heads in agreement with his rants.

Posted by: koreyel on May 1, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

"Colbert was funny but the press wasn't laughing."


What a hoot - Dems are now blaming the audience?!?!

Posted by: MountainDan on May 1, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Hacksaw: Colbert simply wasn't funny,

Everybody thinks they know what humor is.

Maybe Colbert should start doing some Arab/immigrant jokes. Such is within his persona.

Then the right wing would find him funny.

Posted by: MonkeyBoy on May 1, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Colbert was inappropriate. I see. Would you also say that he had bad manners?

Posted by: shortstop, now typing with one finger from the floor, where she's prostrate with glee on May 1, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

There is Ramireze, a cartoonist, just can't see the punchline with his cartoons, just never funny., just like Dennis Miller.

Kudos to Colbert, he was fantastic.

Posted by: renate on May 1, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Hacksaw: "Apologies to Tacitean, but Colbert simply wasn't funny, which is why his bit hasn't been covered in greater depth. Bush critics can revel in the fact that Colbert used the venue to beat up on the president but from an entertainment perspective Colbert simply bombed."

And my apologies to you because, as guest host Steve Martin once observed on Saturday Night Live a quarter-century ago while donning a set of Groucho glasses and a fake arrow though his skull, "Comedy is not pretty."

I truly don't believe that Colbert meant to make people roll in the aisles last Saturday night. He used his opportunity on that podium to hold a mirror up to Bush's face as well as those of the feckless and self-absorbed Mainstream Media, he forced them to take a good long look at themselves and the reality of the situation they created. That clearly made them uncomfortable because, as Colbert said, "Reality has a liberal bias."

Now, one might argue the propriety of Colbert's doing so at a self-congratulatory occasion like the annual White House Correspondents Dinner. But I would simply ask when would it have been a good time to confront the Bush administration about the propriety of repeatedly lying to the American people about its ever-shifting rationale for war with Iraq, etc.?

Most good comedians aren't necessarily up on stage solely to make us laugh. They are by nature keen observers of the human condition, and their routines often have a valid point that can make us think seriously about issues even as we're being entertained by them.

Look at the routines from the 1960s and '70s of famous African-American comdians like Bill Cosby, Dick Gregory and Richard Prior. Their jibes often cut right to the bone and made white people uncomfortable, and you could literally hear their predominantly white audiences titter nervously while squirming in their seats, because they knew that it was directed at them, and the truth hurts.

Steven Colbert wasn't up there next to the Bushes to be the class clown. He simply asked people to seriously reflect on what he was saying.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on May 1, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

"...rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenberg."

How can anyone not think the content of the rant was just as hilarious as the context? The above line is pure comedic brilliance.

Posted by: drjimcooper on May 1, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Oh Al, so you wish.

What a desperate shill you've become.

Posted by: kimster on May 1, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

The real audience has been watching Colbert's performance all day all over the net. We find the film with Helen Thomas not so funny, but the live stuff was off the wall. Truly funny. That the MSM is unable to laugh at itself is not a surprise. All there is between most of those folks and an unemployment check is arrogant self-importance.

A court jester's routine is often the best and safest way to tell truth to power. Maybe the President heard something that will save us from a war in Iran.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 1, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Frequency Kenneth: "Bush gets the last laugh, Kevin."

You better run along now, F.K., or you'll miss the 4:00pm showing of Benchwarmers at the neighborhood multi-plex.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on May 1, 2006 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

I can't believe nobody said it yet:

Frequency nailed it!

Posted by: drjimcooper on May 1, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Colbert bombed. He did his typical Bush bashing and nobody laughed. Watch for him to get dixie chicked and never to be heard again as Comedy Channel drops him due to lack of viewers.

I watched the video and Scalia was busting a gut.
I guess he's just a lame left-winger...

Posted by: Stephen on May 1, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop:

read John's post near the beginning of the thread...

craigie, we agree for once.

Posted by: Nathan on May 1, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Bush hasn't looked that uncomfortable since he debated John Kerry.


I can't imagine why he did that routine. It wasn't that funny, and it was as if to say he acknowledges those things about himself, those things where he's a complete jerk. --and the line about Dick Cheney, coming from Bush himself, was just so utterly crass I still can't believe it.

I can say something like that, but I wouldn't say that about my Vice President, even if it is true.

Posted by: cld on May 1, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

The most amazing, in-person skewering of a powerful figure since Daniel spoke to Belshazzar. Bush too is "measured and found wanting".

Yes, some lines were funny, some were not,and others were downright rude. But that's the greatest thing about America - we can speak truth to power and the "bubble boy" cannot always avoid listening.

Posted by: Barry on May 1, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

"At least that makes some level of sense. Certainly it is more reasonable for someone (in a moment of candor) to say they loved the fact that Colbert used the occassion to lash out at the president and the press than it is for someone to claim that his routine itself was actually funny. It wasn't."

Thus spake The Arbiter of All That is Funny

While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, humor now resides only in the tin ear of Shecky Hacksaw. All Hail the Hack. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hack.

Posted by: athos on May 1, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone recall Jon Stewart's Crossfire appearance w/ Begala and Tucki-boy;

Tucker: "C'mon; be funny"

Jon: "I'm not your monkey"

The just set Colbert on "full stun"...

Posted by: Tim on May 1, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

drjimcooper: "I can't believe nobody said it yet: Frequency nailed it!"

And when that poor dog's owner finally catches up to him, F.K. will have to think twice the next time before attempting to "nail it."

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on May 1, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

MonkeyBoy - Colbert can be funny, often is funny. But he wasn't funny at the dinner.

Donald - as I said earlier, it's perfectly fine for Bush critics to enjoy the fact that someone (from their perspective) spoke the truth in front of Bush but that doesn't mean he was funny as opposed to biting, or brave, or serious. And while it is true that Pryor or Cosby or others used comedy to get their points across, it is also true that they were funny while doing it.

As for speaking truth to power (God what an overblown phrase), Colbert didn't say anything that hasn't been said before. You can't seriously be claiming that this was the first time someone was able to "confront the Bush administration about the propriety of repeatedly lying to the American people about its ever-shifting rationale for war with Iraq, etc.?"

Posted by: Hacksaw on May 1, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Lest we forget, Don Imus was a real hoot in a similar situation during Clinton's terms in office. Couldn't stop the media from playing that one up.

Posted by: jojo on May 1, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

Is the mainstream media in the tank because it mostly ignored Stephen Colbert's brutal and merciless skewering of the president at the White House Correspondents' Dinner on Saturday?

LOL, who watchs MSM?
Not me. Yet this sounds more like a High School Dance gone Awry!
The "Click" didn't "Click" with the "Click"

And now the Debutantes and the Pundits have their Panties in a Wad. Oh Boo Hooo!
Little Bushie Dint like the Way the Football treatyed the Cheerleaders!!
Waaa Waaa Waaa!

Posted by: Mach Tuck on May 1, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

How can you people dis right wing comedy? Need I point out the continuous hillarity of Mallard Fillmore?

Posted by: EmmaAnne on May 1, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK


KEVIN DRUM: Is the mainstream media in the tank because it mostly ignored Stephen Colbert's brutal and merciless skewering of the president at the White House Correspondents' Dinner on Saturday?
You've got it backward. Mainstream media is in the tank because it's in the tank, which is why it also was skewered by Colbert. You've got it wrong also about Colbert being "brutal and merciless," implying unfeeling disregard for Bush's humanity. Colbert held back. While he hinted at Bush's lying, he didn't accuse him of stealing or murder. He didn't point out Bush's own brutality and merciless willingness to inflict massive suffering upon millions. Though within range, Colbert didn't spit on him.
It must be a slow day.
Yeah, millions protesting in the streets asking for recognition while Bush issues a "Loyalty Day" proclamation, but poor you can't find a subject worthy of your polite skewering, never brutal or merciless.


Posted by: jayarbee on May 1, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

And I just like the guy. He's a good joe. Obviously loves his wife, calls her his better half. And polls show America agrees.

Colbert's speech was hillarious. if the audience was quiet, it's probably because they were simply shocked to see someone going after W so relentlessly while he was actually sitting in the same room.

Posted by: cleek on May 1, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

P.J. O'Rourke is considered funny only because there are so few conservative funnymen, and they have to point to someone. I might concede Buckley, but Rich Lowry? Is someone delusional?I'm not saying there isn't plenty of comedy material for conservatives out there, but there aren't many who seem to be able to do much with it. Carlin may not be a "liberal" in any classic sense, but he damned sure ain't on the other side--if you've heard him on George Bush or religion, try and imagine just how many on the right would want to claim him.

Colbert's routine may not have been laugh out loud funny at every point, but it takes sheer willpower not to believe he hit a lot of targets. The sound system may not have picked up all the laughter, but you could hear plenty during the Bush twin routine, and there was hardly any when Colbert said "you know--fiction." Either the audience didn't get it, or they did and weren't pleased. I do think the thing with Helen Thomas went on way too long, and wasn't really all that funny, but the rest of it hit the mark.

Posted by: dogofthesouth on May 1, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Poor Little Pansie President can't take a Joke, yet looking for WMD under furniture, that caused the loss of alot of lives, was Funny?

Bush has got more baggage than samsonite.

Bring it on! He dares Osama.
Stop it! He crys at Puff Piece Theater.

What a WIMP.

Posted by: Mach Tuck on May 1, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

As a humor expert, I will say that, from what I saw, Colbert simply wasn't that funny. Some of it was material; some of it was delivery. Bush and twin was funny, but some of that was just the novelty. Still, I think Bush had a better comic delivery than Colbert.

It really looks to me that the left are so stirred up because they tink Colbert really skewered Bush, but I even find them admitting they didn't laugh.

I hear Colbert is great on his show, but all I've caught is snipits from when I record South Park.

Posted by: Frank J. on May 1, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Colbert is funny, he was in character just as he is in his show. His presentation was totally befitting the one his character would make. In that respect, his job wasn't to make the press and politicians laugh, but to do what he already does well. Those who say he bombed, well, he did what he does every night on his show.

Now, I thought that his remarks about McCain being reinvented were genius, mocking his "maverick" status and then wondering when he would be speaking at Bob Jones. That's the new way of saying the Emperor has no clothes.

As for the press, that criticism/mocking was in two directions...1) at Bush would really does want the press to type and go home and 2) the press that actually does that.

It was funny, but it was satire and not all satire is funny --especially if you are the one being parodied.

Finally, I did see and hear audience laughter on the broadcast. All those who criticize him saying that nobody was laughing --they're wrong. Perhaps they weren't all laughing, I imagine John McCain wasn't laughing, but then you know why and it's not because the lines weren't funny.

Posted by: david on May 1, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

athos: "While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, humor now resides only in the tin ear of Shecky Hacksaw. All Hail the Hack. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hack."

I'm willing to believe that Hacksaw didn't find Colbert's routine all that funny.

I can relate to him. After numerous discussions with people on the subject, I think that I was the only person in America who clearly despised the so-called humor in the Ben Stiller movie There's Something About Mary -- except for that scene with the old lady lifting the end of a full-sized couch over her head with one arm while furiously vaccuuming her living room, after she accidentally took some speed that was meant for someone else.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on May 1, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Colbert bombed. He did his typical Bush bashing and nobody laughed. Watch for him to get dixie chicked and never to be heard again as Comedy Channel drops him due to lack of viewers.

Posted by: Al

alalal: your poor little brain has been twisted into so many contortions, that you don't even see the contradiction in your own statement. i'll type this very slowly for you to follow along:

Colbert bombed. He did his typical Bush bashing and nobody laughed.

if the msm are all evil bush-hating liberals who relish any opportunity to bash the prez, then there would have been the raucus piss your pants outbursts that greeted bush's infamous wmd skit. there was none of that. watch the video and see pearl-clutching, sullen expressions and listen hard for the very little laughter throughout colbert's brilliant skewering.

colbert barged into their insular world and threw open the windows for some desperately needed fresh air.

it was wonderful and almost cathartic to watch. what a sad and pathetic commentary on the state of corporate media in the land of the formerly free.

Posted by: linda on May 1, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Hack: As for speaking truth to power (God what an overblown phrase), Colbert didn't say anything that hasn't been said before. You can't seriously be claiming that this was the first time someone was able to "confront the Bush administration about the propriety of repeatedly lying to the American people about its ever-shifting rationale for war with Iraq, etc.?"

Not the "Bush administration," no. But this was the first time anyone got the manly, resolute newspaper-eschewin', townhall meetin'-fixin', finger-in-his-ears-while-hummin' Bubble Boy president to sit still for 15 minutes and hear just what a fuckup he is. The fact that Colbert was hilarious while telling him so is just a bonus.

DFH: I think that I was the only person in America who clearly despised the so-called humor in the Ben Stiller movie There's Something About Mary.

There are a few others of us roaming around out here.

Posted by: shortstop on May 1, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

The best part wasn't the comic element (although was pretty damn good). It wasn't even the political content (although that was pretty great, too). The very best part was watching Biff McFratprez having to sit still for the public skewering he so loves to visit upon everyone else. That alone should've had the press rolling in the aisles. Apparently, they don't deserve the gift Colbert gave them.

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on May 1, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

As a humor expert, I will say that, from what I saw, Colbert simply wasn't that funny. Some of it was material; some of it was delivery. Bush and twin was funny, but some of that was just the novelty. Still, I think Bush had a better comic delivery than Colbert.

It really looks to me that the left are so stirred up because they tink Colbert really skewered Bush, but I even find them admitting they didn't laugh.

I hear Colbert is great on his show, but all I've caught is snipits from when I record South Park.
Posted by: Frank J. on May 1, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK
~~~
A humor expert..
Oh Sweet Jeebus
Now I know I hath truly died and gone to clown hell. =)

Posted by: Mach Tuck on May 1, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Nobody seems to have noticed that when Colbert was introduced, it was as Stephen Colbert with a new edition of the Colbert Report. And, if you compare the tone of the speech, it comports with the tone of the Colbert Report. From my perspective, SC was basically extending his dimwit winger newsman character and doing it quite well.

Perhaps so many found it unfunny because it was so uncomfortable. I was embarassed watching it on YouTube. But the fact that something makes us uncomfortable doesn't necessarily make it unfunny.

In any case, this ain't the place to plumb the subjective nature of humor, especially political humor. Atleast we can all agree that Al, Frequency Kenneth and friends remain the biggest bunch of whinging milquetoasts we've ever come across on these here internets.

Cheers!

Posted by: Seamus on May 1, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

FrankJ: As a humor expert,....

Proof that some things defy satire.

Posted by: Stefan on May 1, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody have a link to the Colbert transcript?

I can't see video on this here box ....

Thankie,

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

You can watch it here if you didn't see it:

http://movies.crooksandliars.com/WH-Dinner-Colber.mov
http://movies.crooksandliars.com/WH-Dinner-Colbert.wmv

personally, I like Colbert more than ever.

Posted by: Keith F on May 1, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Donald,

I'm also willing to believe that Hacksaw didn't find the routine funny. But that's not what he said. He made a sweeping pronouncement (which I see was seconded by "humor expert" Frank above) that Colbert was "not funny." Period. End of story. No arguments brooked, no opinions to the contrary valid. The only response to such presumption is mockery. Not that these tools would enjoy a joke at their own expense...

Sorry you didn't enjoy the movie. And just to further your point (and mine) that humor is in the ear of the listener, I laughed almost nonstop throughout "The Exorcist."

Posted by: athos on May 1, 2006 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

athos: And just to further your point (and mine) that humor is in the ear of the listener, I laughed almost nonstop throughout "The Exorcist."

Who didn't!? That pea soup gets me every time.

Posted by: shortstop on May 1, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

Elizabeth Bumiller writes an article in the NYT on the Correspondents' Dinner and does not mention Colbert. She doesn't say anything about him. Nothing. No mention.

Even if Colbert had said absolutely nothing noteworthy, he was the star attraction. She must have really tried very hard not to mention him at all, not to even say something totally non-committal like, "Colbert closed the evening."

And Kevin thinks this is normal. Nothing weird is going on here. Let's move on...

Posted by: Aris on May 1, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Keith:

I asked for a *transcript*, bro.

Which part of "I can't see video on this here box" didn't you understand?

Thanks anyway, though ...

Anybody else?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

athos,
Colbert was funnier than The Exorcist, IMHO.

Posted by: Frank J. on May 1, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

I thought Colbert was beyond brilliant, and to be able to say it all directly at the president sitting ten feet away.

I didn't see the Bush routine. Is the transcript available anywhere?

Posted by: Jim Bartle on May 1, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

Here you go rmck1

http://dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/4/30/1441/59811

Posted by: Eric Paulsen on May 1, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

You'd think the right would have loved Colbert's presentation.

There was not one off color remark or bad word.

Posted by: david on May 1, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Colbert did what he always does, poke fun at the buffoons. The buzz is driving people to the websites to see for themselves. The inappropriateness of his turd in the punchbowl performance was too brilliant and makes it all the more funny. It was 'Some Like It Hot' funny where pissing off the mob, going on the run and getting away with it is funny.

With some things (Napoleon Dynamite), it doesn't matter if the media reports them. They take on a life of their own.

Posted by: bakho on May 1, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

But did anyone notice that George Bush's routine was every bit as pointed as Colbert's?

Are you freaking kidding? Are you actually that dim? Are you on crack?

You don't undersand comedy.

Posted by: anonymous on May 1, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Easy, rmck1. I know it's easy to think that it's all about you, but Keith F.'s timestamp was the same as yours. He wasn't talking to you.

Posted by: Emily Post on May 1, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Off topic, but for those who care the new SS Trustee report is out...

Posted by: xyz on May 1, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop - To think of just one example, wasn't Bush exposed to just that kind of experience at the Coretta Scott King funeral?

Athos - to cede the obvious, yes people can disagree as to what is funny. In any event, a brief glance at your comments indicates that you yourself are no stranger to sweeping prononouncements. For example, "Not that these tools would enjoy a joke at their own expense..." As you must know, Bush was making fun of himself at the dinner which pretty much blows that pronouncement out of the water.

Posted by: Hacksaw on May 1, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1, it's fairly obvious that Keith was posting the same time you were. Instead of lecturing him, why not try googling?

Everyone else: Here's Media Matters' take on the media silence about Colbert's routine.

Posted by: shortstop on May 1, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Hacksaw: "You can't seriously be claiming that this was the first time someone was able to 'confront the Bush administration about the propriety of repeatedly lying to the American people about its ever-shifting rationale for war with Iraq, etc.?'"

I don't think it was the first time, no, but you have to admit that such occcasions are truly rare when they occcur at all.

Think about it. Can you recall Bush ever being publicly confronted by such pointed criticism, except for that one time recently with that 87-year-old guy in that so-called "town hall meeting" a couple of weeks ago?

I think you and I can agree that this Bush crowd obviously lives in an insulated bubble, and the president has surrounded himself with sycophants and coutiers who simply filter out anything unpleasant that the president doesn't want to hear. Therefore, i believe that Colbert simply made the most of a very rare opportunity.

As I stated in an earlier post, I can relate to your considered opinion that Colbert just wasn't all that funny. His comic persona can definitely be mean-spirited, and that does turn a number of people off.

I personally happen to like that kind of humor, which I find consistent with what he did Saturday night, and contrary to some opinions expressed here I also liked that short film he did with Helen Thomas ("Buckle up, hon ..."). But I do respect the opinions of those people, like yourself, who think otherwise.

There's truly no accounting for personnal tastes, I guess. If we all liked the same thing at the ssame time, it would be a pretty boring world.

I've got to get ready for work (I start at 12:00 noon, HST). Take care, and Aloha.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on May 1, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

Huffington has the transcript

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-daou/ignoring-colbert-a-small_b_20092.html

However it is Factinista, not Fact police.

Much of it was retread from the Colbert Report. It was 10 times funnier watching him do it with Bush in the room.

Posted by: bakho on May 1, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

During the dinner portion of the evening instead of showing people chewing CSPAN ran some clips of previous dinners and among them was Bush's first speech. He addressed the crowd thusly, "I see there's a lot of major leaguers here" an obvious reference to his stage whisper to Cheney on the hustings in IL that a certain NYT reporter to his right was a major league asshole.

Posted by: Mark Garrity on May 1, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Hacksaw,

Tool = Hacksaw = (lame) joke.

As for whether or not Bush actually enjoys his little forays into self-mockery, or simply endures them because they are politically expedient is best known only to him, I suppose.

Posted by: athos on May 1, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum and the Dems are having a hissy fit over everybody ignoring Colbert.

Awwww, poor babies.

"The Washington Post ignored the story! What a rip off! Hey, when Imus ripped Clinton it was national news for days! Unfair! The press is in the tank for Bush! That stinks! Boy, that guy Colbert really got off some zingers!"

Kevin and the Dems - want some cheese with that whine?

Posted by: Frequency kenneth on May 1, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

I think Jim Henley has a good take on Colbert here

A quote:

The instant Colbert confides in the President from the podium that I have complete contempt for these people too and they realize he means it, the audience is lost to him. They were inviting him to join the club, as so many outrageous performers before have joined when given the chance, and he spat on their fingers as they prepared to show him the secret handshake.

Posted by: Ugh on May 1, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

When Imus gave the Clintons a hard time, it was VERY well publicized.

Here is a link to no fewer than FOUR articles on it in the NY Times alone (one of which cites the "flash flood of publicity" Imus created with his remarks).

Not only were his comments widely reported and widely repeated, I remember people saying he'd only done it b/c he was emboldened by a simmering resentment that the "heartland" felt toward Clinton. Which is outright hilarous when you compare Clinton's approval ratings to Bush's. And it does lead me to wonder why no reporter suggested Colbert's dramatic monologue was likewise emboldened by the people's simmering dissatisfaction?

In Washington, it appears the Democratic Presidents' coverage is shaped mostly by their detractors, and the Republicans' is shaped mostly by their supporters. For both Presidents, only occasionally does reality become too obvious to ignore and influence the reporting more than these two other forces.

It's amazing to compare, on every level, Imus's fallout to Colbert's.

Posted by: theorajones on May 1, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

yes, shortstop! yes! yes! yes!

Posted by: brkily on May 1, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Colbert's performance was easily the best piece of political satire in years. In case you hadn't noticed, numerous comparisons are being drawn to Lenny Bruce, Dick Gregory, Mort Sahl, Andy Kaufman, Bill Hicks...even Mark Twain and Jonathan Swift. Overly effusive, perhaps, but you can appreciate the spirit. The fact that the audience didn't laugh so much is entirely beside the point. In fact the uncomfortable audience reaction shots enhanced the satire quite a bit. "Bombing" was part of the act.

By contrast, the Bush v Bush skit was mild, dull and forced.

Posted by: Julie on May 1, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop - To think of just one example, wasn't Bush exposed to just that kind of experience at the Coretta Scott King funeral?

He took a few well-deserved shots re the war. I can't say that the funeral attendees boasted Colbert's range, no. Do you have any other examples, other than (IIRC) a rather pointed question at one "townhall meeting"?

The thing about isolating oneself from criticism is that it makes it that much harder to process it gracefully when they finally pin you to your chair long enough to hear it. Besides generally lacking Bush's tendency to explode into childish petulance every time he's mildly questioned, other presidents manage to read what's written about them, watch what people are saying about them and talk to some of the people who didn't vote for (or contribute to) them. I can't think of another president who wouldn't have been able to take this more in stride than Bush did.

As you must know, Bush was making fun of himself at the dinner ...

Was he?

Posted by: shortstop on May 1, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum and the Dems are having a hissy fit over everybody ignoring Colbert.

Erm, actually I think Kevin pretty much doesn't give a damn, did you read his post?

Posted by: Ugh on May 1, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

brkily: yes, shortstop! yes! yes! yes!

Thanks! thanks! thanks! What are you talking about, hon?

Posted by: shortstop on May 1, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

The people who are complaining that Colbert wasn't funny are really funny.

Hint: you're only digging yourselves in deeper, better to just shut up and wait for it to blow over.

Posted by: Bobo on May 1, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, I'm not a big fan of Colbert, but he does have his moments in which he gets a chuckle out of me.
His Colbert Report, I've watched four times and to be honest, I realized picking lint from my belly button was of far more interest to me.
However, I just found out about this...oh so delicious moment of time that I really regret not seeing it live.
Oh for TiVo, if only I had known.
So I read the Transcript, and then the video, and I'm laughing....YEAH AL, I'M LAUGHING MY ASS OFF!

That said, I think Bush knows that he and his 32% are alone in his decision making. But, I also believe, it is up to us to ensure that the tyrrany of the minority does not lord over the common sense of the majority.

November 2006, let your opinions be known. Poll's, do not a government change, but a vote can rock the foundations of a nation and set it right.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on May 1, 2006 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Julie - '"Bombing" was part of the act.'

Yes, and left is right, white is black, things-that-suck are totally excellent. Dems are from Uranus.

Posted by: callin on May 1, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Emily, shortstop:

Woah shit. My bad.

Keith:

Sorry for the snark. Arrgh, it's like that sinking 'I'm an idiot' feeling one gets from taking a parody troll seriously ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone else find it funny (what isn't funny about any of this?) that Colbert had Bush's approval at 32% and Bush called it 36%?

Posted by: shortstop on May 1, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

As a humor expert, I will say
Posted by: Frank J.

Well, your posts are a joke.

Ba-da-boom.

Posted by: ckelly on May 1, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop, i just like the way you think. that dallas season reference was the bomb and then somehow it just became like meg ryan in harry met sally when she when she does that thing she did in the diner... i don't really know... but i was crying laughing through colberts thing.

Posted by: brkily on May 1, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Last year the comedian was indeed Cedric the Entertainer. An understatement would be to say Cedric was over his head; timid. Colbert, in the face of a mostly silent audience, had the courage to press on with his attack on aWol and the press. If they are going to isolate and coddle this individual, it is important that he be called out whenever an opportunity is presented.

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on May 1, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop - there have been a number of town hall moments where the president has faced that level of criticism. Having said that, you (and Donald) are right to note that it is rare for Bush (or any president for that matter) to be forced to sit and listen to someone publically criticize him.

Where I disagree with you is that I think you have made more of the degree of Bush's isolation than is reasonable. I don't think Bush is unaware of the criticisms being made of him. I do think that he doesn't react to them and I think it's perfectly fair for his critics to accuse him of being unresponsive to their criticisms. In other words, Bush isn't ignorant of the point of view Colbert was channelling - but he is dismissive of it. As a supporter of the president I tend to sympathize with that reaction, but I can also understand why his critics find that dismissal so frustrating. The bottom line is that I don't think Bush "doesn't get it" when it comes to these criticisms but I do think he doesn't particularly care about it either.

Posted by: Hacksaw on May 1, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Was Cobert "bombing"?

I can only report my own reaction as I listened to him.

When was there a notable lack of laughter?

Answer: when the jokes were BITING. When it was clearly awkward for the audience. In other settings, those same jokes would evoke howls of laughter -- and that's what they got from me.

Conclusion: Mission Accomplished, Mr. Colbert.

Posted by: frankly0 on May 1, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

"Kevin and the Dems - want some cheese with that whine?"

That's a good joke, Frequency - FOR ME TO POOP ON!

Posted by: brewmn on May 1, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

ferengis are a lost cause. You cannot convince them that the Grand Nagus has no clothes.

Posted by: lib on May 1, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Saw it yesterday. Richly rewarding. God bless CSpan.

Posted by: Cal Gal on May 1, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

The instant Colbert confides in the President from the podium that I have complete contempt for these people too and they realize he means it, the audience is lost to him. They were inviting him to join the club, as so many outrageous performers before have joined when given the chance, and he spat on their fingers as they prepared to show him the secret handshake

That's precisely why it was sheer genius - because he didn't give a damn.

Little wonder the coverage was muted, thank god for the blogosphere. Another nail in the mainstream media's coffin.

Posted by: Bobo on May 1, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Frquently a cretin:

Kevin Drum and the Dems are having a hissy fit over everybody ignoring Colbert.
Awwww, poor babies.
"The Washington Post ignored the story! What a rip off! Hey, when Imus ripped Clinton it was national news for days! Unfair! The press is in the tank for Bush! That stinks! Boy, that guy Colbert really got off some zingers!"
Kevin and the Dems - want some cheese with that whine?

Anybody in here know how to change a nappy?
Hurry. This cretin has an itchy asshole...

Posted by: Cruel troll killer on May 1, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody on this blog remember a single thing from Clinton's Correspondent's Dinner?

Didn't think so.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on May 1, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Bob- no worries.

I was just putting that up there for people in general who didn't get to see it.

Posted by: Keith F on May 1, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

athos: "And just to further your point (and mine) that humor is in the ear of the listener, I laughed almost nonstop throughout 'The Exorcist.'"

shortstop: "Who didn't!? That pea soup gets me every time."

You know the two things I found really hilarious about The Exorcist?

(1) That Linda Blair somehow got other heads in Hollywood to turn besides her own, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress!

(2) It subsequently spawned one of the most absolutely ridiculous sequels ever put to celluloid, Exorcist II: The Heretic.

In addition to the noticeably well-endowed, post-pubescent Ms. Blair, Exorcist II starred a scenery-chewing Richard Burton, who himself was perhaps the big screen's greatest emoter of all time ("What do hope to find there?" -- "EEE-VILLL!"), and poor Louise Fletcher, who had obviously made the first of several disasterous career moves after her Oscar-winning performance as the wicked Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

This oddly watchable camp classic still plays from time to time on the cable movie network AMC.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on May 1, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Callin-

Julie - '"Bombing" was part of the act.'

Yes, and left is right, white is black, things-that-suck are totally excellent. Dems are from Uranus.

Never seen an Andy Kaufman bit, have you?

"I'm not laughing with you, I'm laughing at you."

Posted by: Julie on May 1, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum: "...It must be a slow day."

This feigned boredom reminds me of Michael Kinsley's reaction to the Downing Street Memo.

Colbert basically said "W and I are very alike -- we're both idiots." That may seem like preaching to the lefty choir, but the 32% "backwash" of America has 1000 more painful days to realize how much damage the WPE can do.

Krystol is already pretending to hope the Repubs will run against "House Leader Pelosi" in 2008. I don't think he's realizing the brand poison Bush is going to be for the party.

Posted by: Uli Kunkel on May 1, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

brkily: Well, thanks!

Hacksaw: I didn't note that it's rare for any president to sit and listen to someone publicly criticize him. I said it's exceptionally rare for Bush to do this. His isolation is legendary: No other president brags about not gathering information from anyone else but sycophants. No other president avoids virtually all contact with the public except through prescreened audiences of people who've signed loyalty pledges or Bush-supporting checks. No other president screams about the Constitution just being "a goddamned piece of paper," makes "jokes" about wishing he were a dictator, and announces, in true preschool style, that he's "the decider."

Yes, he's dismissive, but his behavior is not that of a man who's heard it all and deemed it unworthy of his attention. He's a man given to sudden rages when someone dares to question his authority. Serious alcoholic behavior, that.

You're right that in the past he hasn't cared what people think of him. It's becoming obvious that he's beginning to care very much--and that he's more interested in stopping the criticism by any means he thinks he can get away with than in considering even modest reform of the behavior that has sparked the entire world's disdain. Too bad for him that the tide has turned.

Posted by: shortstop on May 1, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Colbert was brilliantly brutal. It was first rate political satire. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I watched it twice on C-span. Both times I was blown away by the sheer audacity and the rapier wit. Those of you who didn't get what he was doing need to re-read Jonathan Swift. The audience got it. There were more than a few folks out there shifting uncomfortably on their well-padded behinds. He skewered them when he said "they [liberal media] behaved well for the first five years, but lately..." I'm paraphrasing becuase I don't have the transcript in front of me.

Anyway, read Jonathan Swift if you didn't get it. Colbert was great.

Posted by: ExBrit on May 1, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

A humor expert?

Now that was funny!

Got that old sheepskin from the University of Hard Laughs, eh? Class of '73. Whoopee cushions on all the seats at graduation. Hoo, boy, those were funny, funny times...

Posted by: craigie on May 1, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I just read it and it certainly had me chuckling for sure.

The 32% in the glass being mostly backwash ... LOL

The parody was much broader than Bush, of course. It was his usual schtick (and I don't mean that derisively) against the entire right-wing pundsphere. The first gag was just a beaut: No, you don't know that you have more nerve endings in your gut. You read it in a book.

It was a systematic reductio on the "faith-based community." The absurdism of a radical relativlst advocacy of moral clarity. Attacking Laura's patriotism for being a librarian and advocating books. "If I want to believe that WW1 started in 1941, it's my god-given right as an American." The No-Fact Zone.

Maybe this was all in the air, and not too clever for people who've been snarking at it for six years and counting -- but he really did put it togetheer wonderfully. Helen Thomas as his worst nightmare, chasing him like in a slasher movie.

C'mon ... that's pretty funny.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think he's realizing the brand poison Bush is going to be for the party.

that and Duke's Whore Hotel, and DeLay's irregularities, and Abramoff's spider-web of corruption, and all this talk about another war...

Posted by: cleek on May 1, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

pundsphere = punditsphere

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Debating Jesse Jackson is like boxing with a glacier.

Now shit, that's clever :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

Bush-hater One to Bush-hater Two: "Colbert was hysterical! I was spewing my milk out! The guy is brilliant! Then I downloaded the transcript today - and I'm STILL laughing! Wow, was that funny stuff!"

Bush-hater Two to Bush-hater One: "Me too, I laughed my a@@ off!"

Bush-hater One to Two: "What a wit that guy has!"

Bush-hater Two to Bush-hater One:" I can't figure out why most people didn't laugh, though."

Bush-hater One to Two: "Yeah. Prolly just some corporate media suckups."

Bush-hater Two to One: "Right. Screw them."

Posted by: BigRiver on May 1, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

BigRiver:

Have you ever read Mark Twain?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

" Biff McFratprez "

can I steal that ? brilliant !

I'm probably the only one around here to find South Park a distinctly "Republican" strain of humor. Sort of a "topical" Three Stooges format if you will. And don't feed me the libertarian line.

Posted by: Tim on May 1, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Look, the right is constitutionally incapable of finding it funny because, essentially, Colbert was just parroting their own opinions--when you see them all in one place, lined up one after another, you can see how ridiculous they are. (If you've watched O'Reilly for more than five minutes, even Colbert can't quite capture his sheer nuttiness, which surely exists in a dimension of its own) Sure, it's also tragic that we have a moron for a president and a fawning press that, with a few remarkable exceptions, is either scared of their own shadow or truly admiring of this moral midget, but laughing about it once in a while is necessary for the sanity of the rest of us. And it also bothers them that it takes a comic to say the things that they ought to if they had the balls.

These days, to do a routine like Colbert's, or half of the ones on the Daily Show, one has only to report the truth. Truth is always in bad taste, isn't it? Meanwhile, people like Hacksaw and Al and their ilk are just sticking their fingers in their ears, shouting "I can't hear you! I can't hear you!" and "It's not funny, it's not funny" as loud as they can.

P.S. The Bush routine wasn't all that funny. It wasn't awful, but I'd rate it average. The audience liked it merely because it wasn't all that pointed--just good fun, we're all in on it, yada yada yada. Har har.

Posted by: dogofthesouth on May 1, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop - well we simply disagree regarding the degree of Bush's isolation from contrarian points of view. Fundamentally, I suppose it doesn't much matter from a political perspective whether he is isolated from dissent or is he is aware but dismissive of it. Clearly, his delayed response to critics has hurt him politically and he has been forced finally to adjust to it. Time will tell if that works for him or doesn't.

Posted by: Hacksaw on May 1, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Someone brought up the question of why Colbert was invited in the first place - what did they expect. It reminded me of a bunch of K.Lo (I think) posts over at the Corner a while ago talking about how he's actually right wing but the liberals are too stupid to notice. I wonder if that's what someone actually thought. I don't have time to go find those posts, but I sure would enjoy taking another look at them now ...

Posted by: es on May 1, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

BigRiver et al,

They did laugh, when the joke was a simple joke that wasn't on them. "Joe Wilson, the most famous spouse since Desi Arnaz" - they ate that up, almost out of relief. And Scalia seemed to think it was pretty funny to make fun of Scalia.

I'll grant you it wasn't Bob Hope at the Oscars. Thank Christ for that.

Also, whoever said Colbert lost them when he said he had nothing but contempt for them - that came at the end, before the tape (which wasn't all that funny either, really, except in fits). But I gotta say, having someone stand there and say that, right to their faces - priceless. And much, much more important than any Bob Hope routine.

Posted by: craigie on May 1, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

es -

Good point. Maybe they just don't get that it's parody. That would hardly suprise me.

Posted by: craigie on May 1, 2006 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

BigRiver - LOL! you really DON'T get it, do you? hahahahaha!

Posted by: Bobo on May 1, 2006 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Tim:

Southpark is too nihilistic to be GOP humor. They send up pomposity of all stripes -- and let's face it, to a bunch of six-year-olds, the pomposity factor's going to come from the educational establishment -- Mmm'kayyy?

But *all* classic satire has a libertarian streak of one degree or another. Twain, HL Mencken (the "curdled progressive"), Ambrose Bierce, Celine, Jonathan Swift, George Carlin. Lenny Bruce is one of the very few I can think of in that tradition whose politics were explicitly and strongly left-wing ...

Usually the most acid satirists are idealists at heart, with a strong image of how the world should be -- and that image is conservative if it harkens back to a supposedly better past.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Of course there was not as much coverage for Colbert as the for the Clinton roast. Colberts was all unimportant stuff like nookular war, government corruption and lying us into unecessary wars. The Clinton roast was about Earth shaking events: SOMEONE SUCKED ON SOMEONES PENIS!

Posted by: James of DC on May 1, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

But I gotta say, having someone stand there and say that, right to their faces - priceless. And much, much more important than any Bob Hope routine.

And that's what's pissing off the right and the media so much, isn't it? It was important humor--not jokes about Hillary forgetting her bag lunch or Nancy's penchant for expensive clothes. It was biting humor about some very serious mistakes this president has willfully made, and the consequences of them. And more importantly, the consequences of the media not doing its job.

Posted by: shortstop on May 1, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

cragie:

I didn't see it (I read it) -- but you didn't think Helen Thomas chasing after him was a scream?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

(or, in other words, what James of DC said.)

Posted by: shortstop on May 1, 2006 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

"Mmm'kayyy?"

Ya got me Bob; "Lesbian Seagull" lol but I'll take Mike Judge every time over South Park if I want to go that "route".

I'd put Mort Sahl in w/ Lenny too.

Posted by: Tim on May 1, 2006 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Headline on CNN front page now:

"Bush impostor steals the show"

Um, no he didn't. Unless somebody can point me to a site along the lines of "thankyoustevebridges.org" with 10,000+ approving comments, I'm gonna hafta say that's just factually inaccurate.

http://thankyoustephencolbert.org/

Then again, I'm just a factinista.

Posted by: anon on May 1, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

I didn't see it (I read it) -- but you didn't think Helen Thomas chasing after him was a scream?

That part was the best part. And the press room stuff had moments - especially with Rove doodling and Colbert looking at the "Eject. Gannon. Volume" controls, stuff like that.

But frankly, Bill Maher's audition tape for the same job was funnier overall. To me.

Posted by: craigie on May 1, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Tim:

Mike Judge has a very subtle sense of humor. There was talk of the "King of the Hill Democrats" as a rejoinder to the "South Park Republicans," and I sort of see it -- but Judge's humor is very indirect. My friends who love South Park can't really sit through it -- though often I think it's a quiet scream the way he's got the red state culture of masculinity and fatherhood down cold ...

I also thought Office Space was one of the funnier movies I've seen in a while ....

South Park either has me laughing off my chair, or else it's totally predictable gross-out humor. I thought the send-up of The Passion of the Christ was priceless -- Mel Gibson as a deranged S&M freak. Couldn't've pleased too many Republicans with that --

I also tend to agree with the broader comments posted here of why Colbert's routine isn't playing well in Peoria. And strongly with craigie that the acid contempt for the WH press corp right before the film was just a little too close to home for Don Rickles-ism -- and *very* much needed to be said.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

One thing I will add, for no reason, is that reading the transcript is funnier (unless you are in the 32%) than watching the video.

But the video is must-see TV, because it's just breathtaking to watch someone tell a room full of people - and one in particular - that they are all dangerous idiots, right to their goddman faces. And to just keep at it, even though clearly they all want it to end right that minute. He looked right at Chimpy and basically said "you're a bonehead" - I can't admire that enough.

It's funny that the Right - which talks about Freedom and Manliness and Macho Cowboy Heroics - can't actually recognize and applaud real guts.

Posted by: craigie on May 1, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

Craigie,

Cops, soldiers and firemen have guts. Actors, singers and comedians have great wealth and total security.

Posted by: rdw on May 1, 2006 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

Cops, soldiers and firemen have guts. Actors, singers and comedians have great wealth and total security.

Nice try, but that's not really apples to apples, is it?

And for the record, some actors, singers and comedians have great wealth and total security. The rest, not so much.

Posted by: craigie on May 1, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Watching the perfumed pukes of Versailles-on-the-Potomac get the asskicking they all deserved was wonderful. Every four years, the "marshmallow center" of that swamp should be run out of town and forced to take real jobs. And I mean more the ones who go there voluntarily and stay forever than I do the "elected officials".

They were actually there to award themselves prizes for doing exactly what Colbert was talking about when he said:

"Over the last five years you people were so good over tax cuts, WMD intelligence, the effect of global warming. We Americans didn't want to know, and you had the courtesy not to try to find out. Those were good times, as far as we knew."

Thank you Mr. Colbert for saying what needed to be said.

Posted by: TCinLA on May 1, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

craigie:

Good points on this stuff as usual. A couple points.

The WH press corps (the actual reporters, not the pundits) aren't wingnuts. If anything, they must've felt horribly *guilty* for in effect violating the public trust for almost the entire course of an administration. "Bush proposes. I announce. You type. What could be simpler? Go home and make love to your wives." They were redeemed though -- if just a tiny smidgin -- by the clips in the film tearing McClellan a new one after it came out that Libby, Rove and Cheney knew of the leak. Their *cough* one shining moment.

Since the wingers don't believe that Bush is spinning so much as the press corps is trying to make him look bad, they naturally aren't going to see it as courage. They're going to see it as ratings-fodder for a comedy show watched by Bush-haters.

It's really arguing with the terms of the universe to expect that these guys share a common pool of assumptions with the rest of us ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

And as if on cue -- rdw shows up to exemplify what I just said :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, Big Al, you chowderheaded moron, the Dixie Chicks have been doing just fine - they made more money from live performances the year after you halfwits decided to boycott them than they did the three years previous. And go check their website to hear their new song: they're still "Not Ready To Make Nice"

You rope-a-dope-righties are the best thing that can happen to a career when you get pissed off and start your public displays of what kind of droolers you are. Just check all the companies your good buddies at the AFA boycott and see how effective you are in increasing the profit levels.

But then, since you're all lovers of capitalism, it just means you're doing your patriotic duty.

Posted by: TCinLA on May 1, 2006 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

Cops, soldiers and firemen have guts. Actors, singers and comedians have great wealth and total security.

Yes, but cops and firemen are in unions, and are therefore communists, so they don't count.

craigie: And for the record, some actors, singers and comedians have great wealth and total security. The rest, not so much.

To correct the record even more, very few actors, singers and comedians have great wealth and total security. The others will be your servers tonight, and will be right back with your drinks once you've had a chance to look at the menu.

Posted by: Stefan on May 1, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

So I want to know where I can get the "Stephen Colbert Speaks For Me" bumpersticker.

Posted by: Wendy on May 1, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

Telling the president you're smarter than he is isn't guts. Guts is driving your SUV until they pry it from your cold, dead hands. That's the American birthright. Guts is not plunking down a single dollar you earned from your own bootstrapped labor for a George Clooney movie. What does George Clooney know about real America? Guts is using your spoon on your salad, instead of your salad fork, then making Hillary eat your dust at the polls. You think you know guts. I know guts.

Posted by: shortstop rdw on May 1, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Is something going on I don't know about? I swear to god I just saw a squirrel kill a bird!

I looked out the window and there it is with a bird clamped in its jaws. The bird was struggling. Then the squirrel ran up a tree.

Posted by: cld on May 1, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

I have to disagree with you, Kevin, that "Bush's routine was every bit as pointed as Colbert's." There was a huge, huge difference in styles. Basically, Bush pulled out all the lines everyone expected of him. The straight-up humor of his 'double' took no chances, and it certainly wasn't subversive. The jokes were isolated and avoided any major issues or policies dogging the administration.

Colbert's roast was true satire and made substantial use of irony. His jokes weren't isolated but built up a consistent narrative of ineptitude and complete dislocation from reality, on the part of president and press. He undermined the entire event, which is premised on collegiality b/w the press and president, by showing how destructive this collegiality has been for our culture and for America's standing in the world. There's simply no comparison. Colbert's humor made me (and many people in the audience) squirm; Bush's didn't come close.

Posted by: Brendan Karch on May 1, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK


RMCK1: The 32% in the glass being mostly backwash ... LOL
That joke was a lot funnier in the reading than it was in the seeing, primarily because Colbert badly messed up the setup for it.

I do regret that Colbert wasn't funnier, especially at the start. Had he been, it may have drawn in, if not Bush, at least the majority of his audience. They might then have been disposed toward reporting his courageous bit positively and thereby give it wider recognition. But consider the courage aspect. He wrote that material. He knew what he was going to say to the world's most powerful man. What human being wouldn't be shaking like a leaf? You may think he didn't look nervous, but I am convinced that it caused him to falter his delivery. In addition to the half-full/half-empty screw-up mentioned above, he stumbled several other times and mispronounced a number of words. There were many timing problems as he referred to his notes to find his place. There were too many long pauses, which he may have hoped laughter would fill, as opposed to the soft tittering generally heard. And the video with Helen Thomas, though brilliant in conception, was marred by poor editing, what with its tedious length.

All that said, it stands as a masterpiece for its truth and courage. The media, by ignoring it, stand as hypocrites and most definitely "in the tank." The reason they marveled over Imus' courage and audacity in Clinton's face is not because he was standing out from them then, it's because he was echoing them. Imus had the courage to go with the pack, which is, by definition, the mark of a coward. Today, once again, those in the mainstream media, along with Kevin Drum (who, like them, thinks Colbert should be ignored; and who, like them, ridicules the blogosphere), are cowards.


Posted by: jayarbee on May 1, 2006 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

Transcript of Stephen Colbert

http://dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/4/30/1441/59811

Posted by: patrick on May 1, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Brendan Karch:

Agree strongly.

Jayarbee:

Mostly agree, but as usual I think you're being too hard on Kevin.

His analysis is right in line with craigie's, shortstop's, James of DC's and the many others here who called it the kind of skewering that transcended the purpose of the event -- to show that we're all buddies here, part of the establishment, and just regular guys 'n' gals who can laugh at ourselves.

Kevin's wrong about the Bush impersonator -- and Brendan nailed how that sort of comedy is entirely different than Colbert's broad, systematic, Swiftian satire.

But Kevin *did* immediately catch on that the dull thud after Colbert wasn't merely a consequence of a delivery that might've been marred, as you say, by nervousness.

The dull thud was mostly because it was just a little too goddamned close to home.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

Many a true word spoken in jest . . ..

George Carlin has his feet firmly in reality, an outlook that is absolutely cynical (most particularly about all politics, politicians and promises) and he uses humor as a scalpel to lay it all bare. We all should learn from that.

That's OK, you bushites, if you don't get it it's because you take it too seriously. YOU BELIEVE!

Posted by: notthere on May 1, 2006 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: it was the way he did it. The delivery, the mastery of the topics, the deadpan delivery. It was a watershed event. Colbert became Will Rogers to me. It was an awesome performance. The continuous stoking of a bad news. Rearranging deck chairs on the Hindenberg. The glass being 2/3 empty and full of backwash. It was a masterful take-down of a dangerous man. You could learn much from his courage.

Posted by: Sparko on May 1, 2006 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

Rearranging deck chairs on the Hindenberg ... ROTF !

Now if *that* line isn't a keeper, I dunno what is :):):)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

And the reason the backwash line was so killer, is that it's the perfect metaphor for the incestuousness of Bush's core-support bubble.

Playing to that crowd -- where Bush does no wrong and the entire world is engaged in a conspiracy against him -- really *is* like drinking your own goddamned saliva.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

To correct the record even more, very few actors, singers and comedians have great wealth and total security.

The one's we hear about have great wealth and security. The only courage it takes is knowing the amen corner will be rushing in to pat them on the back. George Clooney is down to his last $40 million. Springsteen only has $400M.

How pitiful are liberals they need to look for comedians, rock stars and actors for heroes? Deep thinkers all!

Wasn't this supposed to happed BEFORE we reelected him? You have a long 3 1/2 years in front of you.

Posted by: rdw on May 1, 2006 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK


RMCK1: I think you're being too hard on Kevin.
If you think that, then you must also think Colbert was being too hard on mainstream media--specifically, the Whitehouse press corps. Like Kevin, these people are the best we can hope for. Likewise, Joe Klein, Peter Beinart and Chris Matthews are the best we can hope for also, despite not being even close to "liberal." They are very likely voicing their own views, but that's not important. They are ably voicing the views of their employers, which is why they are in their positions in the first place. The same is true for the Whitehouse press corps. And for Kevin. All of these people, even those who mostly criticize the administration, have a lot more in common and identify far more closely with those they criticize than they do with those who are most hurt by the policies of the objects of their criticisms. Were it not so, we'd have black high school dropouts who live in trailers writing columns or blogs for national publications.


Posted by: jayarbee on May 1, 2006 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

jayarbee:

"If you think that, then you must also think ... "

*rolling eyes*

That's rather a shabby rhetorical trick, don't you think?

It was certainly offensive enough to prevent me from finishing reading your message. Your loss ...

rdw:

As opposed to intellectual paragons like yourself, naturally :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

Playing to that crowd -- where Bush does no wrong and the entire world is engaged in a conspiracy against him

I think you have it wrong. The right doesn't think the rest of the world is aligned against Bush. Even if they were, the right just doesn't give it that much thought. What the rest of the world thinks is largely irrelevent. Why do you think Bolton is at the UN? Why do you think Donald 'Old Europe' Rummy will be the defense secretary for 8 years?

America's job is to lead. We can't lead if we're listening to the has-beens and wanna-be's. There's a reason we are history's most dominant civilization.

Posted by: rdw on May 1, 2006 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

Just saw hard ball with the former newsman mathews discussing th.
What a daft, preening, self-absorbed, tone-deaf son of a bitch. I'll have to turn on MSNBC for Olbermann a little later. What an ass.

Posted by: Sparko on May 1, 2006 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

fuck 'em if they can't take a joke, and you can't take a joke so fuck you....
pull the wool over your own eyes

Posted by: bob dobbs on May 1, 2006 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

As opposed to intellectual paragons like yourself

It's not a question of their wisdom. The question is, how desperate are you to rely on comics hanging out in luxury hotels for examples of heroism? How many people in that room do you supposed were not millionaires?.

Posted by: rdw on May 1, 2006 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

What Colbert did was beyond merely funny and brilliant - it was downright heroic. To finally see somebody calling Bush on his shit right to his face, after all the effort of Karl Rove and the secret service to keep any member of the public who disagrees with Bush from his public events, was a jarring reminder of what real democracy, real freedom of speech, is like. And after all the oppression, it was downright scary to see - you were afraid that something bad would be done to Colbert in retaliation.

Of course the media has been trained that it is only allowed to laugh with Bush, not at him, so they were meekly quiet. They've been conditioned with the view that laughing at Bush shows anti-Bush bias, but of course laughing with him doesn't show pro-Bush bias. Gotta love that.

Posted by: DanM on May 1, 2006 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think this thread is funny (and I have a PhD in humor)

Posted by: toast on May 1, 2006 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

It was people like rdw who wanted to create a Constitutional Amendment so Arnold could run for president, as I recall.

Posted by: cld on May 1, 2006 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK


RMCK1: That's rather a shabby rhetorical trick, don't you think?
There wasn't any trick to it, rhetorical or otherwise. I simply stated that if you think I was too hard on Kevin, you must think Colbert was too hard on mainstream media; and then I spent the rest of my comment explaining why I think Kevin is indistinguishable from mainstream media.
RMCK1: *rolling eyes* It was certainly offensive enough to prevent me from finishing reading your message. Your loss ...
Not sure I'm losing anything of value. You accuse me of a trick--shabby, no less--claim offense over a clearly stated opinion, and then announce your punishment and declare my shame. You see a rhetorical trick where there was none, and I see a childish fit where it, as in your eyes, rolls in your words.


Posted by: jayarbee on May 1, 2006 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, I didn't see the "bush double" stuff except for some snippets. What I did see was crap about mispronouncing words, disliking the press, and going to sleep early. If these were the Bush's only actual problems I'd be dancing in the streets and singing the praises of Jehovah. Humor as understatement just looks like a cheap political maneuver.

Colbert was humorous in the shock sense -- not the ha ha sense. He didn't have an easy job. It's sort of like asking someone to make fun of a spastic person (in the british sense), an asshole (in the american sense), or genocidal dictator (in the Iraqi or German sense) in their presence. It's bound to look mean if what you get at is actually true.

Posted by: toast on May 1, 2006 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

"Watch for him to get dixie chicked and never to be heard again..."

Oh, yeah, Al, keep watching: their career is so over, with their new hit album and all. And his is gone too. Any day now, they'll come and take back his Peabody.

As Stephen used to ask Steve on the Daily Show, What's the weather like up your own ass?

Posted by: Kenji on May 1, 2006 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

Just a reminder that the MSM showed the Bush dope-elganger, but not Colbert. Hey, Colbert *rocks*!

Posted by: Neil' on May 1, 2006 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

The speed of light, the absolute maximum, is known to mathemeticians as "C"

We have in our lifetimes witnessed the establishment of the unsurpassable extreme for an asshole:

"W"

Posted by: trueblue on May 1, 2006 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

>>>> But despite the laughter it received, that inner voice made it crystal clear that Bush really didn't want to be there and really doesn't like having to pretend to laugh at their jokes.

If this is your idea of pointed, then I gotta tell ya: Bush's inner voice routine was nowhere near as pointed as Colbert's routine.

Posted by: Lindy on May 1, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

Did you see where Elizabeth Bumiller simply pretended it never happened. You can write to her about this high level of reporting. Here's what I wrote to the paper of record:

Dear Ms Bumiller,

It's interesting to see that you find yourself above reporting the presence of Stephen Colbert at the Correspondents' Dinner. You are certainly a paragon of good taste. Your ability to blank out the deaths of countless Iraqis, as well as thousands of Americans, in a war you helped lie into fruition is a fine example your refined aesthetic.

One question, since you continue to represent yourself as a journalist: have you ever heard of I.F. Stone?

Posted by: Kenji on May 1, 2006 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

What Colbert said was funny, brilliant and brave and also took on the subjects these journos have avoided like the plague - WMD, war rationales, Gannon, Rove's questionable leanings, the press's phony puffed-up image of themselves as speaking truth to power.

And virtually no coverage in the MSM.

What Imus said was cruel, vulgar and rude. That paragon of virtue stood up in front of a man's wife and joked about extramarital affairs.

The press lapped it up, couldn't stop talking about it and catapulted Imus to some instant pundit and wit status.

There is no liberal MSM.

Posted by: Chrissy on May 1, 2006 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

Colbert is something totally new. The genius of the man leaves me in awe. I feel like when I used to listen to the Beetles or Bob Dylan in their primes. You know you are seeing something that will go down through the ages. Talk about having a vision! He completely inhabits the corporate and governmental pomposity of these times in order to slice it and dice it and leave it on the floor in tatters.

Hey Americas kids, it is said we dont have heroes to look up to anymore. Heres one. Anybody who can stand in front of the most powerful and pumped up people in the world and obliterate them to their faces deserves that accolade.

Posted by: James of DC on May 1, 2006 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

jayarbee:

Well gee whiz, JRB, if you think *that*, then you must *also* believe that ... [the sky is green, ketchup is a mineral, Condoleeezza Rice is a genetically modified white person, the HIV virus causes halitosis, not AIDS, tbrosz is building rockets to take little children to the moon, the speed of light varies according to the charge in your flashlight batteries, the Wu-tang Clan is a lost tribe of Israel, Nina Simone knocked 'em dead at Bayreuth, the Yankee front office has a cash flow problem, black jellybeans taste like Arianna Huffington after a shower, meteorites are frozen little pieces of God's snot, AND .....

... that

... Republicans are regular people, just like you and me, except that they happen to be MISSING ...

... a

.... zzzttzzzchhhhhh]

Dammit, I lost the signal.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

Funny or not, Colbert delivered a well-earned stinging slap to Bush and the press. That alone should earn Colbert more coverage, but at least those in attendance were forced to look in the mirror if only for a little while.

So was Colbert funny? While reading the transcript I was laughing throughout, but when I watched the video it all seemed kinda flat. In my "unexpert" opinion, there was a problem in the delivery. Personally, I prefer a more subtle, yet still devious kind of humor.

Posted by: Dee on May 1, 2006 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

I also tend to agree with the broader comments posted here of why Colbert's routine isn't playing well in Peoria.

Actually, my roommate's from Peoria, and he thinks Colbert is pretty damn funny. Of course, he doesn't live in Peoria now. Maybe that explains it.

Posted by: Colbert fan on May 1, 2006 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Colbert Fan:

By "Peoria," I meant with the MSM.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

But, Bob, Condoleeza Rice IS a genetically modified white person.

Posted by: Kenji on May 1, 2006 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

(Rice was converted by Uncle Ben.)

Posted by: Kenji on May 1, 2006 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: The one's we hear about have great wealth and security. The only courage it takes is knowing the amen corner will be rushing in to pat them on the back. George Clooney is down to his last $40 million. Springsteen only has $400M.

This cracked me up, coming so soon as it did after my Clooney-obsessing rdw parody of 6:31. rdw, you have got to get some new material, shoog. We can write your posts before you do.

toast at 8:57: Exactly right.

Posted by: shortstop on May 1, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think this thread is funny (and I have a PhD in humor)

Now that's funny.

And to the idea that cops have guts, but comedians are overpaid weenies - I was going to say that those are different, because cops risk their lives, but comedians don't. But given the way the Right treats dissent now (and and another), damned if I don't think Colbert isn't in a life-threatening position.

I admire him even more.

Posted by: craigie on May 1, 2006 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

To all of those who think Colbert has a flat delivery, which ruins his jokes: dudes, that flatness is his funnyness. He couldnt roll his eyebrows like Jon Stewart and be who he pretends so perfectly to be. Obviously you are not regular viewers. Keep trying, I guarantee he will grow on you.

Posted by: James of DC on May 2, 2006 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote:

"It's not a question of their wisdom. The question is, how desperate are you to rely on comics hanging out in luxury hotels for examples of heroism? How many people in that room do you supposed were not millionaires?. "

Let me rephrase what you wrote: "How desperate is this country when we have to rely on comedians from Comedy Central to stand up to the President of the United States and call him out on his flagrant abuses of power?"

Yes, someone who has the guts to stand up to the President and doesn't have his own smear machine behind him does have guts. And yes, I am desperate for someone, anyone, to call out this motherfucker who's currently occupying our White House.

And I would think that you, if you were a true conservative, would feel exactly the same way, but your nothing but a conformist and a personality worshipper.

Posted by: ctm on May 2, 2006 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

"To all of those who think Colbert has a flat delivery, which ruins his jokes: dudes, that flatness is his funnyness. He couldnt roll his eyebrows like Jon Stewart and be who he pretends so perfectly to be."

Alrighty then, maybe it was his timing. I just know it didn't work for me.

Colbert is good, I've watched his show numerous times, so it's not a question of me not understanding his style of humor.

Posted by: Dee on May 2, 2006 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

If Colbert's apologists have to EXPLAIN his humor, then Colbert is not funny.

Posted by: Lodi Mosque on May 2, 2006 at 12:48 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with James of DC.

Really, to "get" Colbert it is best to have some amount of exposure to him to see how he generally works his magic, and how he gets the maximum bite out of a joke. You have to grasp the character he's portraying to achieve the full appreciation of the wit; that such a man would say such a thing is the funniest thing of all.

You pretty quickly realize that the man has found an original, and powerful way to do some devastating satire.

Posted by: frankly0 on May 2, 2006 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

If Colbert's apologists have to EXPLAIN his humor, then Colbert is not funny.

I have another idea.

If Colbert's critics have to have his humor EXPLAINED, then they don't know what funny is.

Posted by: frankly0 on May 2, 2006 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

If the Bush bashing dam ever bursts while he's still in office, the first sledge hammer belongs to gutsy Colbert.

Posted by: anon on May 2, 2006 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

May I make a suggestion for those who don't find Colbert funny?

Maybe you should all go back to watching reruns of Hee-Haw to get your laughs?

I'm sure that will be working for you.

Posted by: frankly0 on May 2, 2006 at 1:02 AM | PERMALINK

Personally, I think they're just mad because they thought Stephen really is the wing-nut he portrays on the teevee. They don't like being tricked, you see.

Add to a complete lack of humor on the right's side a total inability to grasp irony.

Stephen gave Bush, his cronies, his apologists and the media something they've needed for a long time - a slap in the face. The fact that every news outlet has been gushing over Bush's "double" (Wow! There's two of them! How funny!) proves how involved they are in this process of staying in the White House's good graces. It's disgusting.

Oh, to have a true journalist (not a pretend one like Colbert or Stewart) stand up to this bunch of clowns. You know - fiction.

Posted by: Harrumph on May 2, 2006 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

BigRiver demonstrates precisely why there are oh so precious few conservatives who are actually funny.

Posted by: Irony Man on May 2, 2006 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

Funniness of Colbert is not the issue. Of course the Bushlickers cannot find him to be funny. Neither can the press, for obvious reasons.

Those who do not support the fiascos of the GWB administration and its enablers in the media just take heart and rejoice in the fact that someone has finally told them the bitter truths in the full glare of the camera. That he did it quite humorously was a bonus, but there is no point in trying to convince the targets of the jokes about the humor of it all.

Posted by: lib on May 2, 2006 at 1:58 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, Colbert is brilliant and often hilarious, but since he hasn't completely divorced himself from the Zeitgeist he mocks (check the nod to Brooks Brothers at the close of his show) he walks a fine line, which on Saturday he stumbled across a few times. You can take the man out of Dartmouth but you can't take Dartmouth out of the man.

Part Dean Martin Roast, part Don Rickles in Vegas circa '88, and part Mark Twain, Colbear (his bear satire is not unrelated to Rush Limbaugh's attack on Environmental Wackos) plays it close to the vest so that it's difficult for the uninitiated to discern who the real target of the joke is. In this regard, he is more similar to the timid Washington Press than his zingers would seem to indicate. Oh, I know, you're going to say, "But that's what makes him brilliant." Really? Hedging his comedic bet makes him safe, not sorry, amusing not satiric. At heart a true libertarian, he genuinely appreciates the Bushonian certainty, but certainly not the lack of intelligence. Indeed, if Bush had the same devilish capacity to juggle his truth with his humor that Colbert has, the comedian wouldn't have as many bones to pick with the president.

His main target is the Bushonian lack of mental dexterity, which Newt Gingrich, and for that matter, Reagan had in abundance. The funniest attack on his show, signifying his main area of concentration, has been the truthiness bit. Which is a tad ironic. The truth about Colbert is that he's given the Administration an overall pass on the war unlike Stewart whose Mess-O-Patamia skits have been satiric gold. And when he had a chance to skewer Kristol - the neocon guru - on his show, he simply outshouted the man, which made him appear banal and stiff, but not conceptually bankrupt.

If Colbear has a genius, and it'd be hard to prove in court that it's very deep, it's the ability to appear banal and stiff - not like Pee Wee Herman but in true Ivy League fashion - while also being able to riff as fast as Charlie Bird ever did. Yep, he's fast, but not often profound. Look close: it's more flash than substance, and in this way he's more like his times than he is against them. The telling act on the show is the egoistic stroll over to the guest while psyching up the audience more effectively than blinking red applause signs. By contrast, Mark Twain and Dorothy Parker were able to generate the fire inside without all the faux marching band exuberance.

He's subtle, sophisticated, but, unfortunately, brash, loud and pompous, which, he'd be the first one to tell you, he's given a license for all this simply because he uses it to mock people just like him.

Posted by: brother bob on May 2, 2006 at 1:59 AM | PERMALINK

Alrighty then, maybe it was his timing. I just know it didn't work for me.

Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure I know why Colbert didn't seem as funny in the Press Corps appearance as he does on his show: he didn't get to pick the audience, and they weren't laughing. It's an unfortunate fact that laughter is partly crowd psychology. The hostility of the reporters spilled over into the general perception of the appearance, and Steve just didn't seem as funny anymore.

I thought it was a pretty great riff. Vicious and way out of bounds. Made me think about "The Aristocrats".

Posted by: brooksfoe on May 2, 2006 at 2:02 AM | PERMALINK

James of DC: Colbert is something totally new. The genius of the man leaves me in awe. I feel like when I used to listen to the Beetles or Bob Dylan in their primes.

Right. Watching his sheer speed and inventiveness, e.g. in the Kristol interview, is indeed like watching shots of Dylan in the mid-60s -- the intensity, surprisingness, almost as if he's been possessed.

Posted by: brooksfoe on May 2, 2006 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

brother bob:

That was the most overwrought and over-thought analysis of cultural froth since ... I dunno ... Theodor Adorno on sunbathing.

Dude ... it's a *parody*. And the arch "Colbear" pronounce-it-correctly is more a riff on French = elitist than environmentalism. And rather, umm, obviously so.

I've only seen a few bumper promos on The Daily Show; I don't watch much television. But it's obvious from the very few times I've seen him in action what his gig is -- a satire on the pundit who is both in-the-know, smarter-than-thou -- and (like a good Bush wingnut) totally contemptuous of knowledge.

That contradiction is what drives the humor.

You know, the whole fracas on this thread -- was he funny, no you just didn't understand him, okay his delivery could've been sharper but he told the truth, dammit! -- makes me a little nostalgic for the glory days of Howard Dean. I can't tell you how many discussions proceeded just like this on blogforamerica every time Howard made a public appearance.

Howard -- gods love him -- was never comfortable on television. He had these peculiar tics -- rapid eyeblink, a strange set to the jaw, a tendency to make weird expressions when he didn't think he was on camera. He wore shirt collars that were too tight, and his brain would routinely overrun his mouth when he answered questions, so that he's botch a sentence or mispronounce a word -- it was like a verbal train wreck -- and he'd have to start again. We, his devoted primary supporters, were always so worried for him, so solicitous and full of well-meant and truly loving advice, like a mom sending her kid off to school in a rainstorm.

But gods if nearly all of the time he didn't deliver. A verbal slap to Kerry or Lieberman for demagoguing an issue. A righteous slam at the Iraq war. Reams of this New England ... common sense ... on complex issues. And no quarter -- ever -- to the GOP establishment. Words cannot say how much love and devotion that man inspired in us for telling it like it is.

Ahh but the post-mortems. Critiques of the form which were mistaken for objections to the content. All-night passionate exchanges on the *true meaning* of some newly-controversial phrase. I must admit we excused a little too much, made ourselves a little willfully blind -- just because we knew Howard's heart. Oh how the Confederate flag comment roiled us. And what a man he was for apologizing for it while accepting SEIU's endorsement ...

Steve Colbert's a comedian, not a politician. He needn't be judged under this intense of a microsope. While some here have mocked the cliche "he spoke truth to power" -- that is nevertheless exactly what he did.

To President Bush and to his journalist enablers.

So damn the Q ratings. Damn the comedian's logic-of-the-marketplace criteria that measures success by laughter alone.

Steve did something bigger. And a Howard Dean man can cherish him for that.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 2, 2006 at 3:05 AM | PERMALINK


RMCK1: Well gee whiz, JRB, if you think *that*, then you must *also* believe that ... [&larr&mdash&mdash*infantile inanities*&mdash&mdash&rarr]
If I believe you're acting like a child, I must also believe your childish nonsense? That's just silly. And so illogical. If there's to be any hope of anyone ever appreciating your childish pedomorphisms, you must first stop acting like a child.

I do realize that your reform was made more difficult after sustaining multiple reprimands for mistakenly snarling at someone, such that your immature first instinct was to save face by snarling at someone else in justification. But your tantrum is misplaced once again, baby bob.

R M.. c ?0: Dammit, I lost the signal.
Did you ever! Have you tried lithium?

By the way, Ariana Huffington tastes like black jellybeans before a shower. After a shower, she tastes, quite surprisingly, just like Scarlet Johansson.

Oh, yeah, one more thing: I agree with your analysis of Colbert above (minus the reverence). I even like the analogy to Dean. Mostly, I just like Colbert, both for what he tried to do and for what he did do. It was great seeing Jon Stewart glowing with pride last night over Colbert's heroics. Later, on his own show, Colbert was in top form as he modestly pretended to be immodest. Anyway, if you can appreciate all that too, well, maybe you're not as juvenile as you behaved yesterday..:)


Posted by: jayarbee on May 2, 2006 at 6:26 AM | PERMALINK

jayarbee:

> RMCK1: Well gee whiz, JRB, if you think *that*, then you must
> *also* believe that ... []

> If I believe you're acting like a child, I must also believe
> your childish nonsense? That's just silly.

No sillier than saying that if I believe you
were too hard on Kevin, I therefore somehow *must
believe* that Colbert was too hard on the MSM.

That's what you call a syllogism that doesn't parse. It's
insulting and obnoxious -- not to mention plain stupid -- to
be told what I *must* think about a subject that I had been
*expressing the direct opposite about* the whole thread.

Now look, I note that you tried to be gracious at the end of your
post here, and I'm not interested in fighting with you, either.
For the most part I enjoy your posts and think you're pretty sharp.

But you *do* have this tendency to engage in "you're
either with us, or you're with the terrorists" type of
reasoning, which equates to browbeating, not debate.

It's bad form whether off the fingers of a wingnut or a progressive.

> And so illogical.

Well duh. They don't call it a reductio ad absurdum fer nuthin' :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 2, 2006 at 7:09 AM | PERMALINK

jrb: It was great seeing Jon Stewart glowing with pride last night over Colbert's heroics. Later, on his own show, Colbert was in top form as he modestly pretended to be immodest.

"Modestly pretended to be immodest"--very good. I missed these, so thanks for the reminder to catch them on the rebroadcast.

Posted by: shortstop on May 2, 2006 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK

Colbert told the truth to power, but even he didn't bring up the worst: the torture. Not a lot of ways to turn a joke on that one.

Yes, Colbert cut to the bone and that was a bit unprecedented. (Except for Imus's stint.) But Bush's junta mentality is also unprecedented. And worse. As disgusted as we are, the future is going to be pissed that we didn't tar-and-feather the bastid.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on May 2, 2006 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

Jeffrey Davis:

A big 10-4 to *that*, good buddy ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 2, 2006 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

Well we all saw it, and that is good enough. It was, typically, funny as hell. Very much a strangers with candy (im the only one I bet) moment. Which means it was great.

R2K

Posted by: Alex on May 2, 2006 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

"How desperate is this country when we have to rely on comedians from Comedy Central to stand up to the President of the United States and call him out on his flagrant abuses of power?"


Why are you electing such cowards then? There are 44 Democratic Senators. Are they just potted plants? Your problem isn't that your folk are afraid to speak up but that's ALL you do. I guess it's good to blow off steam but at some point you actually have to do something and it has to be reasonably intelligent. We've seen in 3 election cycles intelligence is in short supply.

The reason your academics and think tanks and elected politicians are so ineffective is because they lack a cose set of values and rely on polls which often put them on the wrong side of events. They are being out smarted by people who know who they are and what they stand for.

You nominated Kerry who voted for it before he voted against it. No doubt if there had been another vote and the wind changed his vote would have changed too. Dean's insane but at least he has real convictions.

Posted by: rdw on May 2, 2006 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

I finally watched the Bill Maher audition this morning and it is funny as hell. And I'm not a Maher fan.

Posted by: shortstop on May 2, 2006 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

And worse. As disgusted as we are, the future is going to be pissed that we didn't tar-and-feather the bastid

Sorry Jeffery. Comtemporary columnists are not going to write this history nor are liberal academics. If they did Wilson and Kennedy would still be among the top 8 Presidents while Truman, Reagan and Eisenhower would be in the low 20's. Except Truman, Reagan and Ike are soldily top ten while Wilson and JFK continue to get re-evalutated lower.

Trumans polls were much worse and he wasn't getting two-star has-beens questioning his leadership.

You are not going to tar and feather him because you can't. In fact, what will help Bush is the utter failure of his opponents. He won 4 major elections and in the last one increased his vote total by 22%. When evaluating his political skills he'll get high marks for outsmarting his opposition regularly. When comparing the Vietnam anti-war opposition of the Democratic party and this crowd, this crowd ain't lookin so hot. You drove his vote totals up 22%.

I'm going to enjoy reading liberal academics explain how this dumb SOB kept outsmarting them. I don't think there's ANY question liberals are by far the smartest people on the planet. Except smarter than GWB on election day or during hearings for Supreme appointments.

It's good that Colbert has given you such a lift. I got mine yesterday reading Sam Alito's opinion on another unaminous decision.


Posted by: rdw on May 2, 2006 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

He won 4 major elections and in the last one increased his vote total by 22%.

And took 80 percent of counties in the U.S., I'm told.

Posted by: shortstop on May 2, 2006 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

rdw:

You might be right, Wooten.

It never occured to me that perhaps we on the left need a cose set of values.

In fact, I'm not even sure what a cose set of values could be -- probably why it never occured to me ... but *anyway*

I'll make sure to search eBay until I find one and try it out.

Lord knows, we Democrats need to find *something* to get us back in the game ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 2, 2006 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Bush's performance at the correspondents dinner was hysterical and he succeeded at mocking himself better than any Democrat, and that really pisses them off. He not only out-smarts them on election days and on policy making, he now leads them on deprecating humor.

Try and try as they might, they just can't seem to lay a hand on him. And when they find out that the low poll numbers are a result of Bush not being conservative enough, as opposed to a swing towards liberalism as they all seem to think, why then they will really have something to be frustrated about. Pass the popcorn.

Posted by: Jay on May 2, 2006 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Jay, cheap drugs are the scourge of this country.

Posted by: shortstop on May 2, 2006 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

Jay:

They're a result in the GOP lacking any kind of cohesive discipline.

Jesus, do you think the GOP Congress could've gotten *anything* passed if they spent *less* money pandering and greasing the wheels?

Your conservative punditocracy is bitching about it -- but the Medicare prescription drug plan was supposed to be Rovian genius in action. Co-opt the seniors into the GOP.

Just like Bush's position on immigration is a Rovian ploy to co-opt the Hispanics.

Well ... the base revolted.

Why? No discipline. Leadership in disarray from an assortment of scandals.

And it's only the free candy that your conservatives object to so much (and rightly) that got those stinking turds passed *to begin with*, so don't tell me about some vast desire on the part of the electorate to swing even further right.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 2, 2006 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

Bush's routine was "every bit as pointed" as Colbert's?

Bush poked fun at his mispronunciation of the word "nuclear." Colbert poked fun at America's use of black sites in Eastern Europe.

Six of one, half-dozen of the other, right?

Posted by: Clarke on May 2, 2006 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

Jason, being more conservative would be to spend less, scale down the size of government and to be more hard line with Iraq and Iran. Peace is achieved through strength, not pandering or weak assed negotiations with tyrants. You might want to start re-thinking that comment on worst foreign policy debacle as the permanent government in Iraq is forming and taking control of the country. Complain harder though.

And Bob, it's not swinging further right. It's about adhering to core conservative values. The left seems to think that the far rights expectations are not being met when it is actually moderate conservatives that are the reason for the low poll numbers. There is not one Democrat that has a chance in defeating either Allen, Gingrich, Giulani or McCain in '08. And anyone of those candidates will be more fiscally conservative than Bush.

Posted by: Jay on May 2, 2006 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

A top Al Qaeda operative has been handed over to US officials from Pakistan. Hopefully he has been taken to one of those black sites.

Posted by: Jay on May 2, 2006 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

rdw:

Ahhh, retreating into the past and future I see. (Why - Bush did this and that and in the future they'll laud him . . . ).

I really can't blame you. The present sucks so bad for you and Bush. Too bad the present is where we all live. Too bad Bush's suckitude hurts all of us instead of just Bush himself.

Posted by: Tripp on May 2, 2006 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

I acknowledged that spending was out of control and that the gov't was too big, sorry you missed that. Taking a more hard line approach with Iraq would have been to use more force in the early stages and to prepare to use military force against Iran and any other tyrant. Negotiations fail time and time again, when will you learn that. Clinton attempted diplomacy with NK, how'd that work out? Our work in Iraq is nearly done and your side lost.

"Bankrupt America", really? Historic low unemployment, GDP at a ten month growth rate of 4%, the Dow over 11,000, home ownership at an all time high, if that's bankruptcy, I will take it!

Posted by: Jay on May 2, 2006 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Jay:

The poll numbers are less about ideology than they are that the GOP leadership is in screaming disarray.

Imagine what might've happened if Iraq started stabilizing in '04. Bush would've been able to move on Social Security like he did on the prescription benefit. And regardless of what that did or didn't do to the treasury, it would have reinforced Bush and the Republicans as the party with ideas.

That might've led something to come out on immigration that accepted the problem and tried to deal with it constructively, rather than a way that has totally offended Hispanic voters. Maybe your base wouldn't like it -- but they'd swallow it. Because Bush is Your Leader.

And -- again -- with Iraq looking like a success and the troops coming home, it would both instantly improve the budget in terms of military outlays and also led to less *need* to pander to constituent groups on budget votes. Pandering to interest groups is the price you pay when your political capital is in the toilet and you can't exert discipline.

So all this budget shortfall that the conservatives (and they don't represent a majority of voters, they just have a big podium on Fox and talk radio and such) are screaming about is a direct product of Bush's wrecked policy on Iraq, plus the various problems that your House and Senate leadership are enduring with the scandals. They're running scared, so -- every man to himself -- they throw candy at voters. That's why spending has been so much goddamned *worse* under Bush II than *ever* under Clinton.

A Democratic president wouldn't have to spend money this way with a *functional* relationship with Congress -- you know, like Clinton had with Gingrich.

Functional leadership will do more than anything else to fix the problem of runaway spending.

Getting even *closer* to a hard-right, base-driven agenda, both fiscally and socially, will only create further alienation and disarray.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 2, 2006 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Jay:

The housing bubble is definitely levelling off.

Wait until *that* froth starts settling down and all those house-flipping exurbanites start seeing their equity flattening ... it's beginning to happen around the edges already.

If this starts in earnest, the NJ suburbs are gonna be *toast*, sad to say. But hey --

There's a *great new* bankruptcy bill they can look forward to wrangling with thanks to the GOP Congress!

You'll owe taxes on whatever pathetic little below-market chump change the bank throws you when they forclose on your McMansion!

It's called TAX SLAVERY! Thanks GOP!

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 2, 2006 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

Um, what does all that fantasizing have to do with Stephen Colbert. By the way, funny is funny, regardless of the audience. The emperor didn't laugh when they kid said he was naked, but we're still chuckling about that one.

Meanwhile, James of DC: "Colbert is something totally new. The genius of the man leaves me in awe. I feel like when I used to listen to the Beetles or Bob Dylan in their primes."

Still trying to understand what small VWs have to do with Dylan.

Posted by: Kenji on May 2, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

I really can't blame you. The present sucks so bad for you and Bush. Too bad the present is where we all live. Too bad Bush's suckitude hurts all of us instead of just Bush himself.

The present is terrific. My guy is in office appointing supreme court justices. With your usual timing you've managed to drive GWBs polls down 6 months TOO LATE!!!! You know the saying about a dollar short and a day late? You're 6 months too late.

I do live in the present and because the MSM has competition I know what is going on in the real world. Iraq is not Vietnam. The antiwar freaks are not heroes here. The soldiers are the heroes. You wish to define them by Abu Grahaib. Ain't happening! Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever. We honor our bravest and take great pride in our military excellence. Nothing you can do will change that.

Could anything better define the difference between liberals and conservatives than the fact you consider some comic doing a show in a luxury hotel surrounded by secret service agents in front of $1,000 a plate dorks as "Brave" yet would prefer to trash a soldier as a torturer? We live in different worlds.

Just think about John Kerry and his case of running at the mouth after Nam and his attempt to claim heroism for himself. We had a MSM vs SBV death match and Kerry died!

Think GWBs polls are going to get you into Kyoto? Restore the ABM treaty? Bolton out of the UN? Rummy out of Defense? Any troops back into Germany and NATO? Reverse the 7 Free trade agreements he's signed or stop the 11 on deck? Reverse the nuclear deal with India? Save Schroeder, Paul Martin, Chirac?

GWB is the man. He is the most powerful man in the world and he will be so for another 3 1/2 years and there isn't anything you can do about that and I get to enjoy every day knowing that fact drives you up a wall.

Hey, don't feel bad. It could be worse. What do you think Kerry does every morning when he looks in the mirror? How will he ever reconcile the fact that simple ass beat him?

This is the perfect Charlie Brown cartoon. Lucy has the football for him to kick but Charlie is finally on to her. They've been telling you for how many years you're getting the house back? 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004 and now 2006. You're going to kick that football again aren't you? Of course. You're in heavy training. You can feel it. The 6th time is the charm. Did you by chance see the analysis on the Georgia redistricting yesterday. Seems someone is pulling a Tom Delay. Expect the GOP to pick up two more house seats.

Not to worry. You'll win the house and the Senate and will immmediately impeach Bush, Cheney, Scalia and Thomas. Dream on!

Posted by: rdw on May 2, 2006 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

No, NK only obtained the ability to enrich uranium under Clinton & Half-bright, good job on that one.

Using more force does not equal more troops, Pay attention. And "they" are doing exactly what "they" want to do, hence the 11 million voters in three elections.

Taking out Saddam was NOT the mission of the first Gulf War......

I could go on and on and on, but you're not worth the debate, you're head is firmly planted and my time is too valuable (making all of those good republican profits). Good luck in '08.

By the way, elections are won by vision and optimism, which neither any of you nor most of the current Democrat leadership possess.

Posted by: Jay on May 2, 2006 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

rdw:

Truthfully, Wooten, you had better *hope* a Democrat wins a house, just to try to spread the blame around a little for '08.

You realize, don't you, that most serious-minded GOP pundits are half-hoping that will happen -- and all will state that that would be a good thing for your party.

Otherwise, you just seem kinda, well, plumb out of ideas.

What exactly do you have to show for the second term?

Oh -- the bankruptcy bill ...

So ... how long do you think the housing bubble is going to keep bubbling before house flipping stops being every homegrown (heh) entrepreneur's favorite hobby? :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 2, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

a Democrat = the Democrats

Posted by: rmck1 on May 2, 2006 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

You might want to start re-thinking that comment on worst foreign policy debacle as the permanent government in Iraq is forming and taking control of the country.

I am interested in the way that the manufacture of alternate universes, simulacra, in American discourse enables conservatives to inhabit non-existent realities. I'm kind of interested in whether science fiction fans and gamers tend to swing Republican. I sort of feel like they do, but further research would be needed. They find it easier to be persuaded by the inventions of skilled illusionists.

Posted by: brooksfoe on May 2, 2006 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

What exactly do you have to show for the second term?

John Roberts, Sam Alito, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, John Bolton, continued transfer of US bases in Europe back to host country, expansion of trade relations with India, Asia, Condi Rice reorg of State Dept personal from Europe to Asia, extension of tax cuts, continued progress in Iraq, 4.8% GDP growth, 4.6% unemployment, etc..

We'll be down below 100K troops by year and and subtantially out by 2007 year end. Troop morale is high, reenlismtents are surging, enlistments are above expectations, reserves being deactivated (35K YTD). Iraqification is working. They have a professional army and a fledging democracy. How odd conservatives stand for building democracies in the middle east while liberals argue the people are not sufficiently advanced. Not very liberal of the liberals.

The best part is the fact Colin is gone, Rummy in charge and Roberts and Alito on board. The 2nd best part is laughing at lurch and the losers.

Posted by: rdw on May 2, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

That's an impressive ... uhh ... platform to run on.

You think it'll mean anything to the folks outside the 32% backwash?

Let me try to ask something sincerely and see if you can't actually break out of the talking points and use your mind.

If all these numbers spell such a swimmingly good structural outlook for the country -- why are the polls consistently registering America is on the wrong track in the high 50s/low 60s?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 2, 2006 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

FrankJ: As a humor expert,....

Wow, great! I've been having a dispute with my family over whether the following is funny. Can you settle the issue for me? Thanks!

Two penguins in a bathtub.

Penguin one: Can you hand me the soap please?
Penguin two: I'm not a clock!!

Posted by: Tripp on May 2, 2006 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

So ... how long do you think the housing bubble is going to keep bubbling before house flipping stops being every homegrown (heh) entrepreneur's favorite hobby?

You should stay away from economics. If you knew what you were talking about you'd be way too wealthy to be plugging away here.

There isn't a housing bubble and it's reacting quite nicely to interest rates. It's fortunate for the construction industry and the overall economy that as housing slows down other sectors are strong. We're getting a nice rotation. We still have solid population and jobs growth. There might be some regional bubble but they'll be short lived and do little to stop this booming economy.

1st Qtr unit exports were up 12%. GWB has been on a free trade binge that will pay off for decades. GWB even settled an old dispute with Canada to keep trade growing. Asia is expected to grow at 7%. America Industry started the transition from Investing in Europe to investing in Asia two decade ago. We have high and increasing exposure at the time Asia is booming. It's win/win for both regions.

Posted by: rdw on May 2, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

The other term for that is 'cutting and running.' Is the job done?

You are confused with Kerry's plan. We are handing over territory to Iraqi control and then standing down our troops as we've been talking about and planning for three years. There's no question the Iraqi army will soon control the entire country.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but they don't even have a seated government yet. Kinda early to declare victory and get out.

We're not getting out yet. They passed their biggest test in naming a PM. Next they assign the cabinet ministers. That will be completed within the month. Then they have a government. The withdrawals are based on the current political and military timetable. The training of Iraqi troops has been very well done. They are fighting and dying at much higher levels and coming closer to an independent, professional army every day.

The big question is if they'll be able to end the worst parts of the insurgency once they have the political settlement. If so this is a tremendous legacy for the US. Iraq will be a very wealthy country once security issues are settled. The Kurdish North is already booming and they haven't pumped any oil yet.

Posted by: rdw on May 2, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

the fledgling democracy you speak of has the nasty habit of doing nothing while Shia and Sunni death squads execute hundreds and run torture chambers.

It is most unfortunate they're killing each other but it's probably necessary to achieve real peace. These are the hard core nuts who must be taken ou. It's not a civil war. The Kurds are not participating and the Sunni can only take it so far. In a war of attrition they lose. If the Kurds do get involved the sunni will lose very quickly. It's rather clear they're very close to a political settlement that will satisfy 98% of the Sunni. Hopefully they don't have to kill the other 2%. But they will if it's necessary. The Baathists part of Saddams killng machine are done politically. They can guive up peacefully or die.

Posted by: rdw on May 2, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Do you guys ever get the feeling that rdw could be sitting in a smoking pile of post-nuclear rubble, surrounded by mayhem and corpses, and as the smoke clears, he's still blathering on at the top of his lungs about how this is a totally expected "rotation" and that everything's coming along real nicely?

Posted by: shortstop on May 2, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, the "two Bushes" routine didn't go after Bush ANYWHERE NEAR as hard as Colbert did.

Basically the "two Bushes" stuff made fun of Bush by playing into the "faults" that help to make up his phony-baloney real-guy image: He hates the media elite and fancy dinners, and he doesn't speak the Queen's English. BO-ring. The same old shtick.

Colbert EVISCERATED Bush--and the spineless stenographers who cover him (which also explains why, like petulant children, they ignored him in their coverage, or said he bombed).

Colbert whacked Bush on Iraq, on being too insulated to pay attention to reality, and--my favorite bit--on the craven, shameless opportunistic photo ops after disasters that took place on his watch and that he ignored all warnings about.

Apparently Bush is quite pissed about it. Good.

http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/060501/1whwatch.htm

The reason, I think, that Colbert is getting so much praise in the blogosphere is that really taking on Bush is still such a rarity--especially when he's sitting right there. If the mainstream media were doing their job, satirists wouldn't have to do it for them.

I never thought I'd be TIVOing C-Span, but when they re-run the Colbert bit, I will.

Posted by: sullijan on May 2, 2006 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Barring that, first-quarter sales will be down about 16 percent from the prior year, the biggest decline since the first quarter of 1991, when the economy was in recession.

Then you see the difference. The decline in 1991 was when the econoy was in recession and certainly due to the recession. It also made things worse.

In 2006 we might see a drop of 16% when we have an economic boom with 4.8% GDP growth. The 16% is obviously isolated to housing and almost fully offset by surging exports whcih were up 12% on a unit basis.

I'd argue the 16% is healthy as would a slowdown in appreciation. The recent pace cannot be sustained and the sooner it ends the better.

In 2006 we have significantly lower inflation (less than half) much lower unemployment and a fabulous, well-balanced global economy. We also have healthy population growth and high immigration, legal and illegal.

The luckiest part of this slowdown might be that it's happening when other segments of the construction industry are rebounding after a long recession. A 16% slowdown in housing would suggest a strong retrenchment in construction but that's not likely as industrial and commercial construction will absorb more labor.

IN addition to strong GDP growth we're seeing very strong labor force growth as well as incomes. This extra spending will sustain solid economic growth.

Posted by: rdw on May 2, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop:

Wooten with a laptop on a pile of still-steaming nuclear rubble, a shit eating grin on his face, typing away furiously before his intestines start oozing out of his mouth ...

Thanks for the dark chuckle, sweetums ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 2, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Jason:

The only reason I'm not with you in the trenches rebutting Wooten point-by-point on Iraq is that I've danced that dance before one too many times.

It's ultimately demoralizing as you confront the nihilism at this guy's core ...

You really do get the feeling that you're talking to one of the "enlightened" Nazis who sincerely believed Germany was going to make the world a better place ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 2, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Jason:

You're obviously new at this ...

Wooten's been called much worse, more extensively, by much better people than I, believe me ...

So go ahead. Don't let me distract you. Ask him to explain himself. Make all the lovely little discoveries on your own.

And remember who it was that backed you off from calling Jay a child molester last week.

Violating Godwin's Law in ad hominem terms doesn't equate to slander in a blog debate.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 2, 2006 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, the "two Bushes" routine didn't go after Bush ANYWHERE NEAR as hard as Colbert did.

Basically the "two Bushes" stuff made fun of Bush by playing into the "faults" that help to make up his phony-baloney real-guy image: He hates the media elite and fancy dinners, and he doesn't speak the Queen's English. BO-ring. The same old shtick.

I think sullijan's done the best job so far of explaining why these two routines were so diametrically opposed and far from "equally pointed." Bush's "self-deprecating humor" was designed to reinforce the lovable weaknesses that make his base think he's one of them. It was making fun of strengths, in other words. (It reminds me of annoying job candidates I've interviewed who, asked to talk about their weaknesses, play the 'turn them into strengths' game: "Oh, I just can't give less than 100 percent! I'm so hard on myself that way!" Smack!)

The "two Bushes" stayed firmly within the genre of acceptably defanged Bush humor. Colbert skipped over all the cutesy crap and went right to the heart of Bush's darkness. They no like that.

Posted by: shortstop on May 2, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

I'd argue the 16% is healthy as would a slowdown in appreciation. The recent pace cannot be sustained and the sooner it ends the better.

This is hard for you so I'll explain in more detail. A 16% drop in a single monthly report is by itself not a huge deal especially since it's off multi-yr increases in construction levels. Even with the 16% drop housing construction is still at historically healthy levels.

The price appreciation of the last many years cannot be sustained. A slow down to 4%, still above inflation, would be welcomed by the vast majority of economists. Recessions are caused by imbalances. The sooner housing comes off these surging levels the less likely we'll see a major or even a minor correction. A slowdown to 4% is not a correction. A 16% drop, if sustained, would be a correction but far from a recession in housing and would absolutely be offset by other stronger segments in construction.

This economy is amazing. No region or country is in a recession. Asia is growing by 7% Eastern Europe by 5.5% South America by 4% and North America by 3.5%. The US will have 4 years of 3.6% GDP growth after the 2003 tax cuts, low inflation and very low unemployment. Predictably, only Europe sucks.

Neither house nor oil will stop economic growth. At no point will growth in the US fall back to Western European levels.

Posted by: rdw on May 2, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Ask him to explain himself.

Well Bob I explained Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell, Roberts, Alito and Bolton as 2nd half accomlishments. Surely this beats anything Kerry could have offered.

Posted by: rdw on May 2, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Does it strike anyone else as strangely surreal how the irony of this will be viewed historically?

I mean just think in terms of Orwell 1984, and how the media is totally co-opt'd by the government...and history will record how a 'faux reporter' was the only person in the media reporting the REAL news...and telling the REAL facts....while the press actually engaged in faux news and killed our democracy by being unwilling to do their jobs?

It is somewhat eerily frightening to think of how history is going to record the significance of Colberts 'comedic skit' at the 2006 WH Press correspondent's annual dinner. The name of the gathering rings with irony. the fauz reporter being the only one with the courage to speak truth in our democracy and chase down the facts??? While democracy dies under the auspices of 'false patriotism' and 'celeb reporters'

Right down, to the one REAL journalist, Helen Thomas, being portrayed as a terrifying and frightening spectre, for doing her job while trying to seek an answer to the most relevant question of our time:.

Why did we go to war with Iraq?

It really is very very very scary, when TV news is providing the truth only under the pretext of SATIRE...how ironic is that...our laughter with Colbert will be viewed historically as the dying laughs of a democracy...How ironic is it that we can only laugh at the truth, not be told the truth via the news...how ironic that we too are part of the satire...in that we the citizens laugh at the portrayal of our very own dying democracy and freedom of the press..too stunned to do anything else...as the truth is killing us... o what rich historical irony.

Think about the enormity of that...satire is the only way we get the truth and facts about this administration and national events

We are forced to laugh at our own civil liberties being trampled, at torturing combatants, wiretapping citizens, killing our own citizens in the name of the very democracy that is being satiricized...o the irony of it all ... while we as citizens are held captive by corrupt, incompetent, commander in chief...who is our decider

All because as he would say we 'misunderestimated' him.

It is really chilling.

Posted by: elrapierwit on May 2, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

"This is the perfect Charlie Brown cartoon."

Yes, and Lucy's football is your brain. Glad things are going so superbly for you -- kind of like Berlin in 1945. The Linden trees are so lovely in May.

Posted by: Kenji on May 2, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

I never did get a call from the DA and am very disappointed. I mean, liberals do mean what they say don't they? Or do they just talk out of their ass? Jason, you might have some insights into this.

Jason, you're a loser, always have been I suppose. The only thing emanating from you, and most of the left is complaints. Iraq is, and will be an asset to the world community, this you despise, the economy is percolating very nicely, this you also despise. The only thing that will make you happy is if every one becomes the loser that you are, ie: socialism.

Complain harder, it's very amusing.

Posted by: Jay on May 2, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Wooten...before his intestines start oozing out of his mouth ...

I thought they already had. (See posts above)

Posted by: ckelly on May 2, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm going to enjoy reading liberal academics explain how this dumb SOB kept outsmarting them."

It wasn't the dumb SOB, it was the man behind the curtain.

Posted by: Dee on May 2, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

every bit as pointed?

Right, George Bush playing his usual regular guy schtick ("durn I hate crowds, don't you?") in front of a docile media is about as pointed as a fucking soccer ball.

Stephen Colbert's performance was more along the lines of an intervention than a comedy routine. I've rarely been so uncomfortable as I was watching that. It is quite difficult to see someone tell anyone, much less an entire room full of people including the President of the United States, that they have serious problems that they aren't willing to face up to, that much of their existence is built upon carefully constructed lies, and that they are a danger to themselves and those around them.

That's not just pointed, that is hot poker in the eye, spinal tap, bowie knife in the chest.

Posted by: Blud on May 2, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK


jay: Historic low unemployment


unemployment rate in dec. 2000...the month before bush was nearly 20-percent lower than it is right now...

and that was minus 3-trillion in added debt...

Posted by: thispaceavailable on May 2, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Let's hope it stays that way. The current stewardship doesn't really give people much confidence that we're going to steer clear of one.

The global economy is much stronger now than in 2001 when GWB came inot office inheriting a recession, asset bubble, accounting scandals AND 9/11.


A warning indicator, based on the high price of oil and the current US debt:

There are ALWAYS warning indicators. The price of oil is lower now than in 1979-1980 when Reagan started the greatest economic expansion in history despite double digit inflation and unemployment. US debt is also low relative to 1992 when the greatest man who ever lived became President.

Neither is a serious issue. We are in a global sweetspot. Ron Rubin was known for putting out fired he started. These boys don't start them.

Posted by: rdw on May 2, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

I'm going to enjoy reading liberal academics explain how this dumb SOB kept outsmarting them."

It wasn't the dumb SOB, it was the man behind the curtain.

Works for me Dee.

I'm going to enjoy listening the liberal academics explain how this dumb SOB was able to identify, attract and listen to better 'men behind the curtain'.

You fools tried this same story line with Reagan. He was as dumb as a post as well. Except he wasn't. The great John Kenneth Galbraith, may he rest in peace, spent the 80's babbling about the advantages of the socialist economic system. Reagan aggressively and correctly trashed the socialist system as braindead. Reagan made the Harvard professor into a putz and he's not the only one.

Posted by: rdw on May 2, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK


***There's no question the Iraqi army will soon
control the entire country.****

.


The Pentagon says that "the -only- Iraqi battalion capable of fighting without U.S. support has been downgraded." February 25, 2006

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on May 2, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

ckelley, shortstop, bob

We're almost there

The process of forming the cabinet has reached a good milestone that promises an end to the long disputes that consumed months over who-gets-what especially when it came to security-related posts that are no more a problem, actually some analysts and politicians expect the next 24 hours to witness the announcement of the final formation of a large part of the cabinet.

It has to suck to be liberal and have a vested interest in Iraq failing. What is it like to hate GWB so much that good news for the USA is bad news for you? You and the MSM are going to be very disappointed about Iraq. They're making real political progres and could have a very productive year. It's not inconceivable the Sunni's will soon cut a deal to rein in their own insurgents while handing over all foreigners. They know the day the violence ends the economic boom starts.

Posted by: rdw on May 2, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

The Pentagon says that "the -only- Iraqi battalion capable of fighting without U.S. support has been downgraded

Gee, why not copy more of the entire article?

But the number of Iraqi battalions capable of leading the battle, with U.S. troops in a support role, has grown by nearly 50%. And the number of battalions actually engaged in combat has increased by 11%.

The U.S. military says its short-term goal is to train more Iraqi units to a level where they can lead the fight, since that allows American troops to focus on other tasks besides combat and could reduce U.S. casualties

The number at level 2 jumped from 36 to 53 and they are clearly leading the fight as shown by casualty rates triple US levels.

level 1 is a very high standard requiring total independence and they need time to develop sargents and officers. The construction of the Iraqi Army is going to be a magnificient achievement. They are going to be a force for good in Iraq and in the region for a long time to come.

History is going to be very kind to both Bush and Rumsfeld in this regard. This will be the most professional force in the region aside from Israel and eventually very, very powerful. The US continues to add capabilities as well. Iraqi special forces are now trained by Iraqi's and they're increasing their force size. In due time they'll be able to crush Syria and Iran at the same time if need be.

Think about it. Iraq with a democratic govt and free market economy sitting on an ocean of oil, natural gas and water. They are unique in the middle east. Iraq's proven reserves will allow it to pump 5M barrels a day for 65 years and most of the country hasn't been explored because Saddam didn't want it done. That's only $135B a year.

This is going to be a very powerful democracy.

Posted by: rdw on May 2, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

U.S.: Ramadi battle kills 100-plus insurgents
Iraq president eyes deal for armed groups to join political process

Monday, May 1, 2006; Posted: 2:06 p.m. EDT ((CNN) -- U.S. and Iraqi troops killed more than 100 insurgents last week in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, a U.S. Army officer said Monday.

Two Iraqis also died in the fighting, said Col. John Gronski, commander of the U.S. Army's 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 28th Infantry Division. No Americans were killed.

Gronski said Iraqi forces "are doing very well" in the battle against insurgents in the volatile Anbar province city.

"The Iraqi army is conducting aggressive operations here based on human intelligence from the people of Ramadi themselves," he said.

Gronski said the Iraqi soldiers' improved capability has bolstered the morale of U.S. troops working with them.

Posted by: rdw on May 2, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm probably the only one around here to find South Park a distinctly "Republican" strain of humor."

I might be inclined to agree with you if the Republican'ts were drinking the fundy religious Kool-Aid. If there's one thing the South Park boys don't like, it's ole' time religion.

Posted by: Cal Gal on May 2, 2006 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

Obviously, I meant "if the Republican'ts weren't drinking the ... Kool Aid."

Posted by: Cal Gal on May 2, 2006 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

Jason:

That was a grotesquely dishonest and willful distortion of what went on in that thread last week.

And it's a shame, too, because otherwise you're doing a pretty good job with rdw.

Some people just seem addicted to personal squabbling and have no clue of how to be gracious.

Whatever, bro. I'll just say this:

Your interpretation of what constitutes a literal, real-life "child molester" extrapolated from blog comments by a political opponent is borderline fascistic and as bad as anything I've seen in the GOP.

It's my opinion and I'm entitled to state it, but otherwise, I suggest we drop the subject.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 2, 2006 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm going to enjoy reading liberal academics explain how this dumb SOB kept outsmarting them."

I don't think it's going to be too hard for them to explain. He did it the old fashioned way--stealing elections, lies, politics of fear, scapegoating the opposition, and money, money, money.

Oh, and BTW, HE didn't do it, Rove did it. In Ohio. With the Diebold machines.

Posted by: Cal Gal on May 2, 2006 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

Cal Gal,

Be honest, were you really afraid?

Historians will record this as a brilliant war time campaign where a rather stupid, inarticulate, disinterested fratboy still had it together enough to increase his vote totals 23% and defeat his liberal opponents a 4th consecutive time and with coattails no less.

They will also record that extending Freedom to 55M Iraqi's and Afghans a singular achievement ranking just behind Reagans defeat of socialism. GWB will easily be ranked among the top dozen Presidents with recent notables such as Truman, Reagan and Eisnehower.

Posted by: rdw on May 2, 2006 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

GWB will easily be ranked among the top dozen Presidents with recent notables such as Truman, Reagan and Eisnehower.

I thought its classification as a Schedule II narcotic prohibited the use of crack cocaine as an additive to Yuengling, Rolling Rock, or any other Pennsylvania-brewed lager.

Apparently not. Either that or you're getting it on the street.

Just Say "No."

Posted by: Windhorse on May 2, 2006 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

"GWB will easily be ranked among the top dozen Presidents with recent notables such as Truman, Reagan and Eisnehower."

Yes, and Pauly Shore will eclipse Charlie Chaplin as the greatest film comic of all time.

Posted by: Kenji on May 3, 2006 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

GWB is the man. He is the most powerful man in the world and he will be so for another 3 1/2 years and there isn't anything you can do about that and I get to enjoy every day knowing that fact drives you up a wall.

Why do I get the feeling that, each night before he goes beddie-bye, rdw smooches a picture of Bush he keeps on his bedside table?

I mean seriously. I don't like to cotton to ad hominem attacks (okay, maybe I do), but folks like you, rdw, give me the grade A heebie jeebies. Listening to the very tiny minority of remaining Bush apologists is like watching someone vacuum their living room, making very sure not to disturb the big pile of shit lying in the middle of the floor.

Posted by: Harrumph on May 3, 2006 at 1:39 AM | PERMALINK


Harrumph


Check this out. Bolton is but one reason GWB is the right man at the right time.

US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton testified before the House subcommittee on international relations today and got in a little argument with Rep. Dennis Kucinich. Rep. Kucinich asked John Bolton about Sy Hershs New Yorker article on Iran, to which Bolton said he didnt see it because he doesnt have time to read fiction:

It was better on TV. Kucinich is the typical liberal twit following the typical liberal conspiracy theorists in hersh who would only be printed in the New Yorker.

Does it bother Libs that conservatives don't even read this stuff and then laugh when they hear about it?

This is a great comment on the impact of the liberal press. The SBV story and Dan Rather are even better but this is cool because it's one of a thousand and represents the norm. The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Time, etc. and so many other liberal rags are beside themselves because they have zero influence. Worse of course is that it gets still worse every day and they know it.

Pretty cool when the ambassador to the UN tells Congress, "I don't read the crap".

Posted by: rdw on May 3, 2006 at 7:27 AM | PERMALINK

Listening to the very tiny minority of remaining Bush apologists

Except we're not tiny and we're definitely not apolosgists. We're adults. In your reality based community you celebrate polls. We celebrate only one poll. It's called an election.

GWB was not my 1st choice. That would have been his brother. In hindsight it's hard to know which would have been better. I think Jeb is more conservative, more intelligent and definitely more articulate. On the other hand GWB has a Phd in driving liberals abolutely bonkers and that has to count for a lot.

I don't think you have any idea of how comical it is for a conservative to see liberals is such a high state of agitation. I would have preferred some of you actually left the country as promised but that's only a slight preference. It's also fun to know Alec is still here and in deep agony.

Posted by: rdw on May 3, 2006 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

You Dems Are Killing Us - You're What's Funny My Friends


Alright, I'll admit upfront I'm trolling, just like you guys do. But you deserve a little insight on the joke you've become. A 2nd rate comedian working on a 3rd rate cable outlet recites a few sophomoric zingers and you'd think sliced bread was invented! The President already - Preemptively - ripped himself a new one before Colbert even got on stage. That's the "get it" you don't "get". There it was - Preemption - the idea the Dems backed from the beginning. That's the joke my friends. I don't hear you laughing.

All I see here is sour grapes and bitterness. You're talking about the fall, but all you've got is Biden's pitch to divide Iraq in 3. Ha! And of course Hillary waits in the wings. Wait'll she gets out there on the campaign stump. That'll be another good joke you won't laugh at.

Until you have something considerably better, the joke's still on you.

Posted by: roger on May 4, 2006 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

Bob RMCK1:

From the length of your response I can see you're familiar with what's overwrought firsthand. If mine reminded you of Adorno, yours was reminiscent of Lyotard's insistence on the meaninglessness of metanarratives, especially ones that ramble like yours does. You might try decaf; it could inspire the kind of equanimity so you might stumble on something profound or at least raise the ratio of nonsensical nostalgia to profundity a few degrees. For a guy who doesn't show much enthusiasm for other long-winded remarks, you sure got a bunch of your own.

Nonetheless, despite your silly admonitions - profound analysis = froth - I sensed a modicum of intelligence that I hope is still working. First, your credibility: "I don't watch much TV," yet somehow you're qualified to extoll Colbert's genius. Whadaya do, rub you hand over the TV Guide and channel the content? That's a book you might write when you're not sitting around admiring your Howard Dean memorabilia. Tell me, Are those the times you analyze issues intensely with a microscope? If you had done a better job of it you might've hitched your wagon to a different horse, 'cause he was a one-note candidate. Try crying for something more meaningful; it'll do you good.

I should, however, give you some credit; you stumbled on something profound with Adorno: non-identity thinking. Was it intentional irony or mere dumb luck? Regardless, it's probably the one concept that best describes Colbert's character, which real smart guys like you "get" - "contradiction drives the humor." Yeah, along with your facile critique of my remarks. It's so, well, Hegelian. Don't tell me, you took philosophy at one of them universities?

Simply, the non-identity thinking of Colbert's character, which allows mercurial changes from right to left whenever he sees fit, fosters contradictions between what he's attacking and whatever he stands for at any given moment for the sake of the joke. Wow! You're a genius Bob - that's it. Forget Dan Brown, you're the new decoder. You've decoded this year's flavor of the month - Stephen Colbert succinctly and memorably.

Guys like me need 2,000 words just to warm up, but a sage like you can summon brilliance with the snap of your fingers. Pray tell, let the rest of us unwashed in on your secrets.

Posted by: brother bob on May 5, 2006 at 4:39 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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