“A party too patriotic for facts. A candidate too successful for taxes. A city too humid to breathe.” What? Would you expect a different tone from “The Daily Show” coverage of the Republican National Convention?
Jon Stewart opened Comedy Central’s coverage of the RNC Tuesday night, live from Tampa. But after all the jokes about the city’s humidity and the strip clubs -- clearly hosting the convention brings ridicule as well as revenue –- Stewart got to sit down with Senator Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican who’s a rising star in the party.
Rubio was on the short list to be Mitt Romney’s vice president, but instead will have to content himself with introducing the nomine on Thursday. Jon Stewart tried to make Rubio feel better about the diss.
“You, my friend, you dodged it. Because let’s say he wins. As his vice president, it would have been uncomfortable for you to run against him in 2016.”
Rubio smiled the uncomfortable smile of someone who has thought about the next election once or twice before.
Stewart turned the subject to the introduction, and the contrast between the dynamic Rubio and the, well, more mundane Romney. “Have they said to you, ‘Hey, charisma boy, take it down a notch?”
“The only thing they’ve asked me to do is introduce the governor,” Rubio said. “They gave me 15 minutes to say anything I want.”
When Rubio takes the stage Thursday night, the theme will be American Exceptionalism. As Stewart said, that doesn’t seem controversial. But Rubio noted the similarities to the Obama message of four years ago.
“Who would be against hope and change -- until they show you what the change is?” Rubio said.
"America Strikes Back"
Perhaps you’re more a fan of thinking of the campaign as “America Strikes Back,” that paints the campaign like a "Star Wars" film where the Democrats are evilly seeking re-election and the noble Republicans are all that stand in their way?
If so, "The Colbert Report" was more your style. Though Steven Colbert isn’t in Tampa, he’s covering the convention with his usual amount of truthiness from the studio.
“It is going to be a thrilling week,” Colbert said. “Warning, if you have heart condition or are pregnant, you should not watch. Not because of the excitement, but because you probably won’t like the Republican position on health care and reproductive rights.”
Colbert spent some time talking with conservative columnist/Obama supporter Andrew Sullivan, and the faux fangs were out from the beginning.
“Four years ago, you were an early conservative to come out in favor of Barack Obama and to say ‘he’s the guy,’ Colbert said. “The guy you specifically said to lead us away from the sort of Nixonian fights over the culture wars. ... You were wrong!”
Clearly Colbert has a point, as evidenced by the ads that will be on every commercial break between now and Election Day. Sullivan admitted his error, but said, “I was only wrong to think that the Republicans might just have the good grace a patriotism to actually cooperate with an incoming president,” but still supports Obama “because the other party’s gotten nutsier than it was last time.”
Colbert also brought up same-sex marriage, an issue that Sullivan has championed.
“Isn’t the gay community all-in for him because he pandered -- pandered! -- by obeying his conscience,” Colbert asked.
“A lot of gay people are in for him, because he actually is the most important president in the history of our civil rights, and I’m grateful for that,” Sullivan said.