Speed Reads

History 101

Jon Stewart puts the 2014 midterms in bittersweet context

All the dramatic phrases the news media is using to describe the Democrats' big loss on Tuesday were used just two years ago to explain the Republicans' big losses to the Democrats, Jon Stewart pointed out on Thursday night's Daily Show. "Context," he said to the media. "It's the sh-t you have in your tape library that gives seemingly isolated incidences perspective."

After casting a jaundiced eye at the brief show of bipartisan comity between President Obama and Senate Majority Leader-designate Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Stewart noted that not all knowledge of history is comforting. Specifically, he pointed out McConnell's description of his new working relationship with Obama, "trust but verify" — a phrase famously used by Ronald Reagan to describe an arms treaty with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. "The high water mark of our new era of bipartisanship," he said, "is the Senate majority leader implying he is to Obama as Reagan was to the leader of our totalitarian, nuclear-armed nemesis, aka the Evil Empire." Yup, peace in our time. --Peter Weber