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Watch Jon Stewart gleefully call BS on GOP government-shutdown outrage
The Daily Show asks: Is the GOP dumb, or do they just think we are?

On Wednesday night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart started out by listing some of the insults he has hurled at House Republicans over their leading us into a government shutdown. Then he apologized — for going "way too easy on them" — and proceeded to hurl more invectives in their direction for causing "Shutstorm 2013."

The thing that prompted this new outburst of creative profanity isn't just the shutdown itself. Stewart is also outraged that just two days into the shutdown they created, Republicans have the gall to take to the House floor to complain about it — and then brazenly point fingers at Democrats.

The GOP — specifically, 80 House Republicans — not only has its fingerprints all over this shutdown but has also spent the last 40 years arguing that government is the enemy, Stewart argued. So now Americans are going to believe that the Big Government Democrats are behind this? No way, he said, and called "bullshit" on the GOP. Twice. Then he made his main point: "I can't tell if these guys are dumb, or think we are."

To answer that question, Stewart brought on senior political analyst John Oliver. Oliver went decidedly with the latter option: "They think you're stupid. And not just you, everybody." When Stewart posited that House Republicans are risking a pretty big backlash, Oliver disagreed: "They are actually risking absolutely nothing."

Congress has a 90 percent retention rate and a 10 percent approval rate, Oliver noted — a combined level of disapproval and market retention only ever achieved by Time Warner Cable. That's an impolitic point for a cable TV program to make, but a pretty funny one.

How bad are things with Congress? The sizable number of House Republicans gerrymandered into "turbo-Republican" districts can do anything they want, and they'll pay no price, Oliver said. They're electoral X-Men. They could "poison a basket of kittens, in front of another basket of kittens, Jon, just to make them watch," and they'd still be re-elected, Oliver said. They can do anything — anything — so long as Obama doesn't help them do it, he concluded.

If that leaves a bad taste in your mouth, Wednesday's wild card segment of The Daily Show was comedian Lewis Black's occasional "Back in Black" take on the news. The news he tackled this time was Barilla pasta chairman Guido Barilla's disparaging comments about same-sex couples. If you're up for a bunch of tired Italians stereotypes, idiotic conflation of Italians with New Jersey Italian-Americans, and strange pasta-sex jokes, watch below:

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian, and plays in an Austin rock band.

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