Jon Stewart hails progressive Bill de Blasio — ignoring AIPAC fest

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On The Daily Show Monday, Jon Stewart hosted NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to celebrate his “non-stop…. ultimate 24-7-job” and “progressive” goals, but sadly ignored the scandal over how the new mayor privately described “my job”: defending Israel.

Stewart puffed up the mayor’s liberal rep, supporting de Blasio as he “hails the end of NYPD stop-and-frisk tactics and outlines his plan for universal pre-K access” and his plans to tax the wealthy, all to audience applause.

Stewart: “You’re coming in and turning everything upside down.”

de Blasio: “I don’t wear the Che Guevara t-shirt at work….I’m blessed to have a strong mandate from the people to make real progressive change….The great threat to our society is inequality.”

Stewart elides the reason de Blasio’s toil is “24-7”: slurping up to AIPAC on January 23, he said a big part of “my job description” was standing up for Israel, but after hours, off the public calendar.

Stewart doesn’t ask the Che Guevara mayor why he pledged fealty to AIPAC’s brand of neoconservativism, proclaiming, “We take inspiration from Israel for how it has stared down terrorism and kept moving forward.”  Stewart doesn’t query why the mayor ditched all liberal lines that night. As reporter Sally Goldenberg revealed,  “Two attendees [to the AIPAC meeting] even joked that he never once used the word ‘progressive,’ a mainstay in most of his public speeches.” Stewart doesn’t even inquire about de Blasio’s response to the 58 principled Jewish New Yorkers who reproved de Blasio, declaring that AIPAC “does not speak for us,” but “for Israel’s hard-line government and its right-wing supporters.”

Stewart, rather than request that de Blasio explain his hypocrisy, zings lame shots at the mayor that actually defend him from others’ gripes.  Satirizing charges that slow snow removal was part of a vendetta against the rich, Stewart razzes de Blasio: “What else could we do to the Upper East Side?”  Trite banter ensues: “locusts,” laughs de Blasio. “Gonna go Biblical?” retorts Stewart.

The comic lobs his standard meant-to-be-disarming ethnic in-joke, jabbing “my people–I call them ‘MishYorkers–it’s older Jews,” quipping with mock-solemnity, “I find them [sic] to never complain about…anything.”  [1:38].  I wondered whether Stewart’s self-deprecating knock at wealthy Jews was an unconscious charade, shielding AIPAC donors by offering up an expose of another foible of the tribe–even as Stewart hints at peril in the racist stereotype.   

But then why was that bit yanked from Part 1 of the visit on the website yesterday?–Especially after much discussion of the chuckles about locusts here and here? Hm, curiouser and curiouser: the “locust” clip’s now restored here:  [1:40].

In any event, Stewart moved on, poking fun at de Blasio: “This is unacceptable, sir.”  And “This” is not de Blasio sucking up to AIPAC after shooing a reporter away.  No, it’s: “Bill de Blasio was caught on camera eating pizza with a knife and fork” [1:06]. So the comedian’s swiping at the kerfuffle over the mayor’s table manners.  But when Stewart follows up with excruciatingly-predictable byplay about why a pol must never grab pizza with a pie server, he only proves Karl Rove, Lee Atwater, and every other corny con-artist right: chump-voters fall for anyone who eats like a “real” man.

However Stewart praises de Blasio with fake damns, he doesn’t answer the urgent question.  How can the mayor be progressive if he vows that “elemental to being an American” is devout support for an ethnocracy?  I bet Jon Stewart’s audience would cheer independence from any right-wing foreign regime.

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