Jon Stewart started out Tuesday night's Daily Show with a look at the "true victims" of the 16-day government shutdown that ended last week: The Republican Party. After taking America to the brink of financial catastrophe for, essentially, nothing, the GOP's poll numbers are in the tank: It has just a 28 percent favorability rating, according to a new Gallup poll.
The Republican elite is blaming the Tea Party for this political debacle. Stewart's message was simple: Stop whining.
He singled out three establishment Republicans now complaining about the Tea Party — columnist Charles Krauthammer, strategist Karl Rove, and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) — and explained why each of them have no standing to grouse.
The video collage of Krauthammer welcoming in, then lamenting the Tea Partiers was a little rote, and it seemed a bit unfair to blame McCain for unleashing his "wacko bird... hatchling" Sarah Palin on America's body politic. In 2008, when McCain tapped her as his running mate, Palin was known as a fairly pragmatic, reform-minded governor of Alaska, not the far-right media star she is today. Stewart's critique of Rove was spot-on, though:
Rove launched a Conservative Victory Project to help elect conservatives who aren't really part of the rabble-rousing conservative base — in other words, Republicans who are "actually controllable," Stewart said. "Because Rove knows the crazy talk is not supposed to be said out loud."
But here's the thing, Stewart added: As the architect of a decade-old plan to stoke the anger of and otherwise rile up conservative voters, "Rove has no right to complain about all these radicals ruining his nice Republican Party — because he's the one who invited them." For proof, he turned to a book on the 2004 election by Thomas Edsall, Building Red America. The Tea Party is merely the logical end-point of Rove's once-successful strategy.
In the wild card segment of The Daily Show, senior women's issues correspondent Kristen Schaal talked about the inexorable spread of overtly sexy Halloween costumes. How great is it, she asked, that on one night of the year, women get to be viewed as sex objects? Heh. Because it's Schaal, things got delightfully awkward. Watch: