“You don’t have that much time to take away Americans’ guns and declare martial law… if you’re going to do that, you better get started,” Jon Stewart advised President Obama, who Tuesday was making his final visit to Stewart’s The Daily Show.
“I can’t believe that you’re leaving before me!” marveled Obama, or, as TV news navel lint gazers have recently named him, Obama Unbound, now that he’s got little more than a year left in the White House and has taken off the gloves. On Stewart’s show, for instance, he announced he’s issuing “a new executive order that Jon Stewart cannot leave the show,” though he did acknowledge, “It’s being challenged in the courts.”
As expected, Obama spent a good-ish chunk of time pitching his deal with Iran, after Stewart wondered “Whose team are we on in the Middle East?”
“They’re an adversary. They’re anti-American, anti-Israel, they sponsor terrorist organizations like Hezbollah,” Obama acknowledged, adding, “You don’t make peace with your friends.” He defended the deal, noting critics of the pact, “when asked ‘What represents a better deal; what is it that you think could happen?’ typically… are vague and they fall back on ‘Well, if you beat your chest a little bit more, or if you brought Dick Cheney to the negotiations’,” Obama riffed.
Stewart called Obama’s reasoning behind the Iran deal “excellent,” adding, “Once the Senate shoots it down, we’ll talk about it again.”
Asked about his frustration with the media, Obama said, “The media are a bunch of different medias. There are some get on my nerves more than others.”
“The thing that I’m most concerned about is not that it’s unfair, or too tough on government, because I think that’s what journalists and the media are supposed to be doing. But it gets distracted by shiny objects and doesn’t always focus on the big tough choices and decisions that have to be made. And, part of that is the changing nature of technology,” he said.
But, he added, “The one thing I know, as I enter into the last year of my presidency, is that the country is full of good and decent people. And there is a sense of common purpose at the neighborhood level… That dissipates because of all the money and all of the filters and all the polarizing that takes place in terms of how policies take shape.
“The only way to prevent that is by people getting involved,” Obama continued. “I guarantee you, if people feel strongly about making sure Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon, without going to war, and that is expressed to Congress…. eventually the political system responds, despite the money, despite the lobbyists.”
Countered Stewart, “After seven years [in office], is that the advice that you then bequeath to future President Trump?”
“Well I’m sure the Republicans are enjoying Mr. Trump’s dominance,” Obama giggled.
“Anything that makes them look less crazy,” Stewart muttered. Then he thanked Obama for paying the visit.
“It’s a pleasure. You’ve been a great gift to the country,” Obama concluded.