[See 5:30pm UPDATE after the jump]
1) I mentioned yesterday Jon Stewart's donning of the Will Rogers mantle in his closing speech at the "Sanity/Fear" rally. Reader J.E. reminded me of this clip, below, of Stewart's first post-9/11 Daily Show broadcast. It is very interesting to see the continuities with and differences from yesterday's performance.
Yes, yes, everyone famous looks "surprisingly" young when you go back to see past footage. We'll soon feel that way about the lithe carefreeness of 2008-vintage Obama. In Stewart's case, beyond the physical changes over this nine-year span, you can see him just beginning his evolution into the role he now occupies. Comparing footage of the start and end of any President's term, we see a person who has gotten alarmingly older -- but also one who has, by the end, fully internalized the fact that he is the most powerful person in the world, but that his power has limits and comes with tragic burdens. He carries himself, by the end, with awareness that he has to make big decisions all day long and that, whatever he does, many people will be bitterly unhappy with him. In the contrast between this old clip of Stewart's and yesterday's on the mall you see a person who was just starting to work out a role as comedian/moralist and now has matured into it.
2) Yesterday on Weekend All Things Considered, I talked with Guy Raz about an odd moment in political economics. Raz pointed out that every economist he interviewed in recent weeks had stressed the need for increased stimulus to offset the slump in world demand. Yet the U.S. political campaign was dominated by fear of increased "deficits" -- ie, the fear of public spending.