Fans of The Daily Show already know that host Jon Stewart is pretty unimpressed with the rollout of HeathCare.gov, the web portal for the health-insurance marketplace at the center of ObamaCare. He's hardly alone. But unlike most critics, Stewart was able to complain to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in person. On Monday night, Stewart returned to the theme, with gusto.
Stewart started out by wrapping up last week's news about the end of the government shutdown — The Daily Show was on hiatus last week — and the awful toll it took on the GOP's poll numbers. If only President Obama had managed "a mildly competent implementation" of the ObamaCare website, Democrats would be poised for huge electoral gains, he said.
That's certainly debatable — nobody really thinks Democrats would get an "80 percent to 20 percent advantage in this country," as Stewart suggested — but he's certainly right about the glitches marring the website. How bad are the bugs? Fewer than 10 percent of the people who tried to sign up in the first week were able to complete the process. That means more Americans — 12 percent, in one poll — "believe ObamaCare has been repealed than have been able to sign up for ObamaCare," he sighed.
Stewart moved on to Obama's slightly chastened pep rally at the White House on Monday, where the president expressed anger over the website's problems, but gave his best sales pitch for the underlying "product." Yeesh, Stewart said. "When did the president of the United States turn into Gil from The Simpsons?" He played a clip of the desperate cartoon salesman for the uninitiated.
It turns out Obama didn't say anything right for Stewart. When the president promised that a "tech surge" of "some of the best IT talent in the country" is fixing the website, Stewart pounced again: "A surge?" he cried. "Your website is so f--ked up we have to use the same strategy we used to salvage the Iraq War?"
Stewart then turned to John Oliver, who we're told was The Daily Show's guinea pig to sign up for ObamaCare. Needless to say, it didn't go well. This segment will be pleasantly nostalgic for people who grew up in the 1980s, with references to Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and, above all, TRON. (I guess fans of 2010's TRON: Legacy, if there are any, will enjoy it, too.)
Finally, Stewart took a moment to celebrate the arrival of same-sex marriage in his home state of New Jersey. While he welcomed the news that gays and lesbians can now get legally hitched in the Garden State, Stewart was less pleased with the public official presiding over the first gay marriages in New Jersey's largest city, Newark. You know who it is. Watch:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Russia is stealthily threatening America with nuclear war
- This is what happens when Republicans actually enact their radical agenda
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How I dug myself out of debt — and stayed that way
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 13 Urban Outfitters controversies
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- Puppies take the plunge
- If Scotland leaves the union, is Northern Ireland next?
Subscribe to the Week