In a special live program Tuesday night, Jon Stewart put on his best game face to guide his audience through a crushing night of electoral defeat. It was a welcome distraction to the ongoing "bloodbath" at the polls, which Stewart covered under the banner of "Democalypse 2014," and while there was a lot of consolation laughs, there was also a lot of insightful analysis.
"I don't know if you watch Game of Thrones, but it is a Red Wedding out there," he began. "It is a bloodbath beyond anything you can imagine." It's maybe an exaggeration — the president's party usually loses seats during midterm elections — but with at least 246 seats in the House and 52 senators, the Republican Party has one of its strongest congressional majorities in decades.
Joking about CNN's Election Day gimmick of lighting the Empire State Building either red or blue depending on the electoral victors, Stewart said the Daily Show would respond to the GOP's victory by replacing the Statue of Liberty's torch and tablet "with an AK-47 and a Bible."
The show also took hits at what contributor Jason Jones called an "incredible night ... for money in politics."
"Such a turnaround from just a few years ago, when many denominations faced discrimination," Jones said, pretending to cry. "I still remember the days when people spoke openly about banning money from the political process. Well, tonight, $6.5 billion later, those people aren't talking. Money is."
He's right. Money is indeed having a banner decade, reports the Center for Responsive Politics:
"Ideas are in rough shape," correspondent Samantha Bee added. "They certainly didn't show up to any debates."
Later in the program, Stewart interviewed Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and asked him if Republicans were ready to stop acting as though President Barack Obama was "Stalin."
"For six years, they have been in an oppositional position, trying to stop anything," he told Priebus. "Is it going to be hard to stop that? Is it going to be hard to ... do things?" The wily RNC chair did his best to point at Obama: "It starts with the president, so now I think we can box him in and get this done."
Of course, that depends on who's doing the boxing in. If GOP leadership has its way, there may be (very) occasional opportunities for Republicans and Obama to play nice. But the far-right wing of the GOP is already preparing to raise hell, which could ultimately prove as much of a headache for party leadership as it will Obama.