Jon Stewart likes to scream at video of President Bush, but when the radical left arrives on the set, it’s all hearts and flowers. Stewart interviewed MSNBC wild woman Rachel Maddow on Wednesday, and he was so gooey and positive, it sounded like he was going to ask for a date. He began: "Our pleasure to have you. Congratulations on your well-deserved success. It's a lovely program and yours is a lovely voice to have out there on the air." It’s "lovely"? Then he told Maddow she was like the pretty blond woman character on The Munsters:
STEWART: Did you ever see The Munsters?
MADDOW: Oh yeah.
STEWART: Here's what I think when I watch MSNBC. You're Marilyn.
MADDOW: Thank you. Okay.
STEWART: But everyone else over there is f—ing nuts. Now I'm not going to tell you who Herman Munster is, But I will tell you I believe Chris Matthews is the dragon who lives under the stairs.
Later, he returned to the compliments:
This is what I find interesting about your program is that the tone of it seems very different. Now, I didn't know if that was a purposeful response to other shows, but it's clearly not, you're just maybe – uh, likable.
Maddow replied that she tries to be original, that "there's a right way to do things and I don't want to know what the right way is to do things so that it will be original." This would come as a surprise to most viewers, since to many, she seems like the Mini-Keith. She may not have Olbermann’s basso-profundo pomposity, but the flame-throwing ideological approach is awfully similar. But Stewart can’t stop treating Maddow like she’s the second coming of Dick Cavett:
Your career's been eclectic and you were a Rhodes scholar. Can you ever imagine that your big break would have been -- and I remember seeing this and it striking me. You were engaging in conversations with Pat Buchanan. I would watch you, and I would think "these people clearly are opposites ideologically." But you were able to engage in a way that spoke well of both of you and, and actually issues, you were able to get to the crux of things and not get shouty and mean and all the other things.
Stewart then joked that Buchanan was Grandpa Munster. Maddow suggested he was lovable, and Stewart joked that he envisioned him "in the lab making things you wouldn’t want to drink." He continued:
STEWART: Now how is it, you pop up and in six months you're interviewing the president-elect five days before an election. How’d you find – had you met Barack Obama previously to that?
MADDOW: I had interviewed him once very early on on the campaign on the radio, and I think he was tired. It was not my best interview. I was like "come on, give me something!" It was very monotone. But then when I interviewed him for MSNBC, he seemed like he was president. It was about five days I think before the election and he was so confident, so cool, calm, collected and he was a policy dork. Really interested in talking about policy, which was very comforting to me.
MADDOW: I don't necessarily agree with him on everything on policy, but I want him to care.
STEWART: He seems not to be merely a political animal.
Stewart then suggested Clinton was the same way, "but maybe too much," that he wouldn’t shut up, even after they’d gone to commercial breaks. Maddow agreed:
MADDOW: For all of Clinton's faults, somebody being a total geek about their subject matter is nice. It's a positive thing in a president.
STEWART: You don't necessarily have to be talking about bass fishing or clearing brush. You can talk about health care....and it's a nice change of pace, as it were. (Cheers and applause)
Liberals love the idea that their politicians are "policy dorks" and the Republican leaders are inarticulate and talk about brush-clearing. But in reality, many recent Obama interviews aren’t for "policy dorks." They giddily ask him about his BlackBerry and "walking outside without your shirt on." That's Maddow's NBC colleagues.