Monday, May 01, 2006

The Bravest Man in America

You don't have to be politically liberal. You don't have to be conservative. Why, you don't even have to be politically MODERATE to know the truth. And the truth, folks, is utterly unassailable.

On Saturday evening, April 29th, Stephen Colbert proved that he is the bravest man in America.

Colbert (pronounced col-BEAR) hosts an "O'Reilly Factor" send-up on Comedy Central called "The Colbert Report" (pronounced re-PORE). Full disclosure: I don't have cable TV, since I rarely watch TV, because it's just too depressing. But Colbert (who used to be a writer and performer on "The Daily Show") has been getting rave reviews for his program.

Last Saturday evening, at the White House Correspondents' dinner, Colbert was the featured speaker. It appears the organizers were anticipating some light political satire a la Mark Russell or Molly Ivins. What they got far exceeded their expectations.

Colbert stood at a podium less than ten feet from El Presidente and, frequency glancing over to make eye contact with the most powerful man in the world, proceeded to verbally disembowel him ... TO HIS FACE.

(Transcript courtesy of Daily Kos:)

I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound -- with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world.

Now, there may be an energy crisis. This president has a very forward-thinking energy policy. Why do you think he's down on the ranch cutting that brush all the time? He's trying to create an alternative energy source. By 2008 we will have a mesquite-powered car!
One might expect the assembled audience of reporters and celebrities to be thinking: "Wow, that takes guts. But it's high time somebody said it to Dubya's face. Good on ya, Mr. Colbert."

But then Colbert began skewering the reporters:

As excited as I am to be here with the president, I am appalled to be surrounded by the liberal media that is destroying America, with the exception of Fox News. Fox News gives you both sides of every story: the president's side, and the vice president's side.

But the rest of you, what are you thinking, reporting on NSA wiretapping or secret prisons in eastern Europe? Those things are secret for a very important reason: they're super-depressing. And if that's your goal, well, misery accomplished. Over the last five years you people were so good -- over tax cuts, WMD intelligence, the effect of global warming. We Americans didn't want to know, and you had the courtesy not to try to find out. Those were good times, as far as we knew.

But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works: the president makes decisions. He's the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know - fiction!
And then he took on everybody else:

Mayor Nagin! Mayor Nagin is here from New Orleans, the chocolate city! Yeah, give it up. Mayor Nagin, I'd like to welcome you to Washington, D.C., the chocolate city with a marshmallow center. And a graham cracker crust of corruption. It's a Mallomar, I guess is what I'm describing, a seasonal cookie.

Joe Wilson is here, Joe Wilson right down here in front, the most famous husband since Desi Arnaz. And of course he brought along his lovely wife Valerie Plame. Oh, my god! Oh, what have I said? (looks horrified) I am sorry, Mr. President, I meant to say he brought along his lovely wife, Joe Wilson's wife. Patrick Fitzgerald is not here tonight? OK. Dodged a bullet.

And, of course, we can't forget the man of the hour, new press secretary, Tony Snow. Secret Service name, "Snow Job." Toughest job. What a hero! Took the second toughest job in government, next to, of course, the ambassador to Iraq.

Got some big shoes to fill, Tony. Big shoes to fill. Scott McClellan could say nothing like nobody else. McClellan, of course, eager to retire. Really felt like he needed to spend more time with Andrew Card's children.
You may not think Colbert's remarks were particularly funny; certainly, at various times during the half-hour monologue (complete with video clip of "Press Secretary" Colbert being stalked by columnist Helen Thomas), a substantial number of the people in attendance were extremely uncomfortable, including the Big Guy on the dais.

But what nobody can question is that while making fun of the president and the press is easy, doing it to their face is NOT. And roasting everybody in the room, so that NOBODY is left unskewered to defend you, takes balls the size of the Liberty Bell.

Well done, Mr. Colbert. You'll be getting a certified letter from the IRS any day now.

(Video of the C-SPAN broadcast, including the Colbert/Thomas video, can be found here.)

* * * * *

On the subject of politics, I have to share this with you, because it's rare that anything politically-oriented makes me laugh out loud. But I howled when I stumbled across this blog comment (scroll to the bottom) ...

But! But! You commie libbos don't understand nothing, not at all! We ace news reporter like myself and Tony Snow have strong , compassionate feelings for Rush Limpbag who is a silent sufferer of the very painful giant anal cyst condition that kept him from going to Nam and fighting Commies!
Thank you, Wayne. You had me at "anal cyst" ...

posted by Gary @ 2:38 PM


At 8:19 PM, Blogger Aurelius said...

Awesome, I can't believe Steven Cobert had the brass to pull something like that off.

At 12:02 AM, Blogger Esther said...

I love Steven Colbert.
Thanks for posting the transcript. I didn't have time to watch it on C-Span because I was too busy doing something more avoiding watching C-Span.

At 6:01 PM, Blogger michele said...

Steve is a force to be reckon
with,Stop by for a visit.

At 6:48 PM, Anonymous ender said...

yup ... no doubt. i felt both shock and awe as i watched this.

well, to be honest, for me, there was a HUGE amount of glee as well :D

At 12:43 AM, Blogger Floyd said...

I agree with you, he was awesome and he has brass. He said it to his face.

At 2:39 PM, Blogger HannoverFist said...

Colbert's speech was priceless - absolutely deadly. He has my utmost respect for having the biggest balls on the planet.

At 10:38 PM, Blogger Riss said...

I'm not really impressed. Who isn't insulting the president these days. It's a very crowded bandwagon.

At 11:08 AM, Blogger Violence Worker said...

Brave, hardly. He had no fear of official retribution. He had no fear of jail. People can argue whether his comments were appropriate or not and that,s fine, but it hardly makes him "brave". There are a lot of people in this country that are a lot braver and demonstrate their personal courage every day in situations that would make guys like Colbert (and maybe even guys like you and me) turn to mush.

It might take a little chutzpa to do what Colbert did, but he did not do it in the face of any personal danger.


At 11:07 AM, Blogger CiCi said...

So good to hear someone else who doesn't have cable TV. We choose not to watch TV and do not have cable TV at our house. We get what is closer to the actual news on the internet and spend time together playing darts, walking, and actually talking together.

At 5:05 PM, Anonymous marie b. said...

I didn't find it funny at all, apart from one or two brief moments.

Like Riss said, it's a very crowded bandwagon that he's on. He would've been brave to voice his dissent intelligently or with originality, instead of the same hackneyed potshots.

At 10:43 PM, Blogger Racemom said...

I have spent the last hour reading over much of your blog. This is GREAT stuff! I love The Cobert Report! Only Steven could pull this off. He's got balls...that's for sure!

And about this blog...I just have to had me at the Eric Idle song in your very first post.

At 7:50 PM, Blogger Brian said...

Well done!


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