Loose Ends (79)

I firmly believe that Attorney General William Barr should get the exact same punishment for contempt of Congress that Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder got for his contempt of Congress.

Prediction: It’s going to be Tormund. Think about it. You know it makes sense. You heard it here first.

• Finally! A good parody of plastic bottled water:

Maybe the Black Rifle Coffee folks can start offering this.

Have you heard the latest excuse for why Hillary Clinton lost in 2016? It’s Jon Stewart’s fault! No, really, that’s what some liberals actually think. Kyle Smith reports:

The latest in cutting-edge political science/flat-earth theory is that after Stewart quit hosting a comedy show for liberals, the advantage swung to Trump because Democrats forgot there was an election or something.

Proving that the nation’s professoriate is even more obtuse than you would have suspected, Ethan Porter of George Washington University and Thomas J. Wood of Ohio State University note that when Stewart departed “The Daily Show,” ratings sank. “The transition at ‘The Daily Show’ spurred a 1.1% increase in Trump’s county-level vote share,” they claim in their paper, “Did Jon Stewart Elect Donald Trump? Evidence From Television Ratings Data” published in the journal Electoral Studies.

Now, the problem is that liberals can’t keep their story straight. Because before Stewart retired from The Daily Show, you could find deep-thinking liberals arguing that Stewart was bad for liberalism. Like this Salon piece from 2014:

Jon Stewart’s expiration date: Why liberalism needs to outgrow the snark

. . . According to [Barney] Frank, Stewart and Colbert go wrong by letting a general weariness of the corruption and plasticity of American politics blind them to recognizing the difference between the left and the right. . . the result of “The Daily Show’s” reliance on Jon Stewart, Media Personality, is to leave its audience with an understanding of politics that suffers from Stewart’s weakness for the superficial. . .

It’s the shallowness of Stewart’s politics that leads to his other notable weakness as a political pundit (which, “just a comedian” protestations aside, he clearly is); namely, his tendency to fall prey to the trap of blaming “both sides.” As the journalist Sasha Issenberg once snarked, there are times when Stewart’s desperation to maintain his cooler-than-thou remove from the political process ends up making him sound like “a David Broder column with punchlines.”

If liberals want to see more of the kind of direct action that’s characterized the Occupy Wall Street and #blacklivesmatter movements — if they really want to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable — they’re going to have to embrace a political vision that has grown beyond the idiosyncratic limitations of Jon Stewart.

Being a liberal must be exhausting, since you have to improvise and change your story so often.

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