'The Daily Show' Heralds Congressional Compromise as the Best Thing Since the Civil Rights Act

Congress has miraculously arrived at a compromise budget package, and last night's Daily Show found itself torn by the question of how to greet it.

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Congress has miraculously arrived at a compromise budget package of sorts, and last night's Daily Show found itself torn by the question of how to greet it.

Host Jon Stewart expressed only cynical relief, pointing to height-varying negotiators Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray as a "life-sized bar graph of the fiscal difference between the parties." Literally:

Stewart reminded his viewers that a compromise by definition contains "no victory" and "no sense of glory," but likened this one to "being at a bar at last call, [when] the lights go on and you look at each other and go, 'Well, if either of us could do any better, we wouldn't be here.'" But Senior Political Correspondent (and soon-to-be HBO star) John Oliver took a more euphoric view.

"This deal is everything we've been waiting for!" he gushed, marveling at the fact that today's awful congress managed to agree on anything, no matter how mundane a compromise. "It's the whale jumping over the kid at the end of Free Willy and not getting a drop of water on him."

In fact, he went further: "On the scale of miraculous congressional achievements, this budget bill ranks up there with the Civil Rights Act and a 90 percent incumbency rate." And to prove to his less impressed host that he just doesn't grasp the vast difference the two parties had to travel to reach a meager compromise, he provided imaginative transcripts of the budget negotiations, which may or may not have involved Texas Chainsaw Massacre sound effects.

Oliver, though, discovered the real explanation for the sudden spark of congressional productivity. As CBS reported, "several lawmakers have told us that their wives have threatened to leave them if they allowed yet another crisis to ruin yet another family Christmas." "There's gonna be a lot of stockings being stuffed," Oliver winked, grossly gesturing to get the innuendo across.

Which is to say, Stewart and Oliver may not agree on the meaning of the compromise, but they both know how to couch it in a crasser, more sexualized context.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.