The House Democratic leader tried to persuade "The Daily Show" audience that their cynicism is misguided. Instead, she justified it.
In the midst of a segment poking fun at Herman Cain, who has blamed "the Democrat machine" for stoking sexual harassment allegations against him, The Daily Show's Jon Stewart said this: "The Democrat machine. It costs billions of dollars, it runs on solar energy, and it turns hope into disappointment."
"It sounds like that joke physically hurt them," Stewart said after gauging the audience's reaction. So began an episode that ended with former Speaker of the House and Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi submitting to an interview. And if the program started on a cynical note, her remarks would only justify the supposition that politicians tend to smile wide as they obscure. Sometimes Pelosi refused to acknowledge let alone explain pathologies in the system that in fact exist, as when Stewart tried to get her to expound on why it is that sound reforms are needlessly complicated or weakened when put into legislative language.
Other times she fell back on banal partisan talking points:
JON STEWART: You lead the party that thinks government can take effective, forceful action to change people's lives. At what point do the Democrats have to prove that -- to prove that government can be agile and effective?
NANCY PELOSI: Well, we don't want any more government than we need. But we also have to recognize that we have two different paths here. One path, bless their hearts, the Republicans, they do what they believe. And they do not believe in Social Security, Medicare, clean Air, clean Water, food safety, public safety, public education...
Really? That's how Democrats can prove a core aspect of their world view? By pretending not only that Republicans don't believe in public safety and education, but going so far as to assert that they've somehow "done what they believe" by getting rid of those (still existing) things? Pelosi evaded the question with a partisan dig; and despite being pitted against a party as glaringly dysfunctional as the GOP, she couldn't even offer an accurate or penetrating dig.