If you truly wish to understand the dysfunctional climate of Washington that exists these days, you only had to have been watching Jon Stewart Thursday night (Jan. 31). During the segment "Skeet Fighter," where Stewart humorously revealed how, no matter what President Obama seems to do, conservatives and those on the political Right still find a way to attack him. Karl Rove pointed out last week that simply opposing Barack Obama was not the way to move forward for the GOP, but that probably fell on deaf ears after Rove joined his "stupid party" colleagues with a few ill-advised comments. And yet, blindly opposing Obama is all the Republican Party has done since Election Day 2008.
On "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," the comedian highlighted the current skepticism the media, especially conservative media, have with Obama's recent statement that he had held a gun "many times," including when guests came out and shot skeet with him at Camp David. Even Stewart seemed to be a bit hesitant to give the president a pass on that one, but his reluctance was met by an overcompensatory wave of demands from conservative pundits, Fox News contributors, and politically Right commentators that wanted photographic proof that the president had ever held a gun.
Stewart then asked facetiously, "Why won't the black man half the country lives in fear of release a picture of himself holding a gun?" Perhaps, as Stewart went on to point out, the president might not want to justify or give ammunition to those all too willing to paint him as a jackboot Nazi or Stalin-esque communist hellbent on turning the U.S. into a totalitarian regime. Bad enough many of those accusing him of subverting the Constitution and secretly plotting to round up and melt down all 300 million guns in America think he is a non-native-born usurper Muslim that has conspired with Big Business and the U.N. to gain the presidency.
But Stewart then asks why Obama is even still willing to try. "The point is, Mr. President," he said. "What are you doing? Why try? As far as most of your opponents go, no measure of detente, true or disingenuous, will ingratiate you to your opponents. It's a fool's errand."
Stewart then reached under his desk, noting that such circumstances were outlined in the "Dr. Seuss" book, "Oh, The People Who Hate You!"
In just a few lines of the faux Seuss poem, read to the cadence of the classic "Green Eggs And Ham," Stewart underscored why it matters not how President Obama strives to find some form of middle ground upon which to deal with the political Right. They are not going to meet him there. Ever.
"... You cannot reach across the aisle, 'cause everything you do is vile. They complained when you killed Osama. So on a train, a plain, or a llama, bowling a 44 at Bowl-a-Rama, despite your nice white Kansas momma, comma, they do not like you, Barack Obama."
Sometimes it takes satire to drive a point home. And in the most simplistic way possible, Jon Stewart revealed the childishness of the obstructionist Right that will do anything to devalue all that is Obama (even to the detriment of the nation itself) -- and the countering force of child-like naiveté of a president and his inability to grasp the idea that all his entreaties to find common ground are destined to be futile.
Still, he has four more years to try…
But, as Stewart reinforced with faux Dr. Seuss, why even bother?