It's no secret that conservatives hate the Affordable Care Act. So when former Senator and current Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint went on The Daily Show last night, you can be sure he and Jon Stewart discussed Obamacare. Only "discussed" is a misnomer – rather DeMint and Stewart talked at each other, with nothing either said making any sort of headway with the other.
As president of conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, it's essentially DeMint's job to oppose any proposal put forward by President Obama, and Obamacare is enemy number one. Back in October, he wrote an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, arguing that "[The ACA] is economically unstable, financially irresponsible and harmful to hardworking Americans," and promising "we will continue to fight" against the law.
Stewart, of course, believes the opposite, and often uses segments on his show to defend the law. So with DeMint on his show, Stewart took a bit of a break from rapid-fire jokes to attempt a debate on the role of government, particularly in the healthcare sector. Unfortunately, it was a lot of talking past each other instead of a real debate.
"People want different plans," DeMint said, arguing that the "one size fits all" style of Obamacare stifles choice.
Naturally, Stewart disagreed. "To suggest that Obamacare is one size fits all is also not true," he said, plainly, and then the two moved on to some other point about the ACA.
Exchanges like that ran throughout the conversation. Some parts were indeed comical, like when DeMint posited that the United States has the best healthcare system in the world and the audience broke into laughter.
It's always interesting when Stewart has conservatives on his show, because they break up the monotonous liberal oasis that The Daily Show can sometimes be. Though neither Stewart nor DeMint came away from their conversation convinced of anything (did you really expect them to?), Stewart clearly appreciated the chance to challenge an in-person opponent, rather than merely clips of Fox News.
And in the end, Stewart figured out what DeMint's true problem has been this whole time:
"I think going to Congress might've been [the real mistake]," Stewart said. DeMint didn't disagree.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.