Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, perhaps the most honest men in political news, gave a joint interview to Entertainment Weekly that’s riddled with more fantastic points than most political interviews:
STEWART: There’s this idea that people who hunt and have ”good” values are somehow this mythological American; I don’t know who ”this” person is, I’ve never met them. She is no more typical ”us” than I am, than Obama is, than McCain is, than Mr. T is. If there is something quintessentially or authentically American about her, I sort of feel like, you know what? You ”good values people” have had the country for eight years, and done an unbelievably s—-ty job. Let’s find some bad values people and give them a shot, maybe they’ll have a better take on it.
STEWART: I was convinced an Obama/McCain campaign would be measurably different on almost all standards. And to watch it become Bush/Kerry, Bush/Gore, has been one of the most dissatisfying experiences.
COLBERT: That means it’s not an Obama/McCain campaign. It’s a Guys Who Work for Bush/Guys Who Work for Kerry campaign. Both sides have people who are just smart enough to know “We need to tweak this dial right here,” so of course voters are divided 50/50 between the parties.
It’s been odd to watch this reaction to the general slide of both campaigns towards the same self-serious, jab-and-duck, low-blow campaigning that has riddled our political discourse for so long.
Both sides seem to live in the same mental bunkers, convinced “their guy” is still OK. Convinced that, at some level, “their guy” is only doing it because, jeez, they need to win. Or that its the other guy’s tactics that are forcing their hand. Or worse, that “their guy” isn’t doing it at all.
Both of “our guys” are guilty. Yes, of course, McCain’s been quite a bit worse about it, no doubt there. His actions, not his campaign’s, his, have made me lose what respect I had for him as a politician. He has proven himself less a man of principle than a man of convenient principles.
And to some extent, that’s true for Obama as well. While I will most likely cast my vote for him, it is no longer because I believe he is the agent of political change I so hoped he was, so believed him when he said he was, when other’s said he was. It is because, on policy, I agree with Obama more than I agree with McCain.
But whatever delusions I had that this election would be a substantive debate between two honest men who respected each other is gone.
It’s just another election now.