The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Sunday, April 30, 2006

Stephen Colbert makes your weekend

(UPDATE: Crooks and Liars has a lengthy Quicktime clip. 26 megs and worth it. There are definitely many members of the audience who were less than pleased, and I'm still pretty shocked that he took on so many power players.)

Just to set the stage for this late-night update, allow me to post one of the closing paragraphs from the article in question:

The president had talked to the [2,700-person White House Correspondent Dinner] crowd with a Bush impersonator alongside, with the faux-Bush speaking precisely and the real Bush deliberately mispronouncing words. At the close, Bush called the imposter "a fine talent. In fact, he did all my debates with Senator Kerry."

Just the sort of calculated, phony self-deprecation you'd expect from Fearless Leader. "Hahaha, he acknowledges his malapropisms. What a down-to-earth guy!" Painfully reminiscent of the notorious "those WMDs must be here somewhere" video produced for the same event, but without the same potential for making Bush look like a clueless dumbass-- whose quest for non-existent WMDs has killed tens of thousands.

Not so fast, right-wing "comedians." All the good-natured chuckles that undoubtedly greeted Bush's pandering, focus group-tested schtick may well have died in the throats of attendees when Stephen Colbert delivered his speech. He apparently defined scathing satire in his comments on the administration and the press.

Colbert, who spoke in the guise of his talk show character, who ostensibly supports the president strongly, urged the [sic] Bush to ignore his low approval ratings, saying they were based on reality, “and reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

Noting those low ratings, Colbert advised, "The glass isn't half empty - it's 68% empty. There's still some fluid in there, but I wouldn't drink it."

He attacked those in the press who claim that the shake-up at the White House was merely re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. “This administration is soaring, not sinking,” he said. “They are re-arranging the deck chairs--on the Hindenburg.”

Colbert told Bush he could end the problem of protests by retired generals by refusing to let them retire. He compared Bush to Rocky Balboa in the “Rocky” movies, always getting punched in the face—“and Apollo Creed is everything else in the world.”

Turning to the war, he declared, "I believe that the government that governs best is a government that governs least, and by these standards we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq."

He noted former Ambassador Joseph Wilson in the crowd, as well as " Valerie Plame." Then, pretending to be worried that he had named her, he corrected himself, as Bush aides might do, "Uh, I mean... Joseph Wilson's wife." He asserted that it might be okay, as prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was probably not there.

Colbert also made biting cracks [?] about missing WMDs, “photo ops” on aircraft carriers and at hurriance disasters, and Vice President Cheney shooting people in the face.
Observing that Bush sticks to his principles, he said, "When the president decides something on Monday, he still believes it on Wednesday - no matter what happened Tuesday."

Also lampooning the press, Colbert complained that he was “surrounded by the liberal media who are destroying this country, except for Fox News. Fox believes in presenting both sides—the president’s side and the vice president’s side." He also reflected on the good old days, when the media was still swallowing the WMD story.

Addressing the reporters, he said, "You should spend more time with your families, write that novel you've always wanted to write. You know, the one about the fearless reporter who stands up to the administration. You know-- fiction."

He closed his routine with a video fantasy where he gets to be White House Press Secretary, complete with a special “Gannon” button on his podium. By the end, he runs fleeing from Helen Thomas and her questions about why the U.S. really invaded Iraq and killed all those people.

I'll be on the lookout for a complete transcript or video, and I'm sure they'll be out there.