Jon Stewart to John Dean: 'Cheney, I'll Go With Him As Evil'

The "Conservatives Without Conscience" tour continued last night on "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart last night. Like Keith Olbermann, Stewart honored Bush-hating author John Dean and his thesis, with softball questions like this: "This book though is almost a scientific approach to where, in some respects, where conservatism is going. Talk about that aspect of it." Stewart spun his thesis that conservatives are ignorant, not evil:

"Do you believe it's a conscious effort on their part? When you say without conscience, that almost suggests that they are willfully ignoring the humanity of people. I sense with this government it's not that. It's more 'we have convinced ourselves of this certainty and rightness of this position and we will not deviate from that even if everything within our five senses tells us that everything we've done is wrong.' [Whoops, applause.] My point is that it's not evil in the sense of without conscience. It's ignorant in the sense of [in sort of a hillbilly voice] 'I did that?' You know, that kind of thing."

Dean: "Absence of conscience doesn't necessarily mean evil. It means the ability to set aside what's right and wrong. When a vice president goes to the congress to lobby for torture, when the president threatens to veto.... "

Stewart: "No, Cheney, I'll go with as evil. I’ll go with him as evil." [Applause.]

Earlier in the segment, Stewart the comedian/intellectual theorized that perhaps the emerging conservative authoritarianism might be caused by external events, not internal psychology:

Stewart: "Do you believe that the conservative movement has been overtaken by -- I mean, authoritarian is another word for fascism -- or do you think that it's a weird confluence of events? An attack on American soil, a government that is unchecked by uh, an oppositional party, [applause] in some respects?"

Dean: "First of all, it's proto-fascist. We're not there yet."

Stewart, joking: "We'll get there. You've just got to believe, John. You've just got to believe. "

Dean: "I’m hoping not."

Stewart, perhaps needing a patriotic hymn as background music in the fight against incipient Bush-Cheney fascism, replied:

"I think I have faith in the resiliency of this country, that these guys are not the worst we've seen or maybe even if they are, we're a reasonable enough place that the damage that they do will be repaired."

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis