President Obama on Jon Stewart Daily Show: He Needs to Do That More Often

Last night President Obama appeared for a full half hour on the Daily Show where he verbally jousted with host Jon Stewart and pretty much defended the record of his administration. For many who watched the show, Obama directly engaging a significant part of his base had been a long time coming. There were remnants of the hopeful feelings that so many experienced in 2008 during his historic campaign and for many that was a good thing.

It was good to hear President Obama being cheered and not jeered. It was good to see him have a conversation with a host like Stewart who resonates with a lot of the voting public who for the most part feel they been left out of the conversation. Stewart articulated a number of concerns that his audience had ranging from the issues of healthcare to how and why Obama and his administration went from ‘Hope and Change‘ to ‘Please Baby Gimme One More Chance‘ and he did it in away that was both funny but right on point. You can peep the Jon Stewart episode HERE:

Pres Obama directly engaging many within his young,left leaning base via Jon Stewart needs to happen more often

With that being said, its hard to gauge if that will translate to votes in the 11th hour. Not sure if it’s too little too late. What needs to be underscored is the array of issues Obama’s appearance on the Daily Show brings up that go beyond the 2010 midterm elections. For starters, the hoopla around Obama coming on the Daily Show because it was the ‘first time in history‘ is not something to hang your hat on and beat your chest. It suggests that there’s been a serious neglect of the political relationship and continued courtship that was needed for the millions of young and first time voters who enthusiastically voted for him in ’08. Since he’s been president, we’ve seen Obama on all the morning network news show several times. We’ve seen him on shows like 60 Minutes. We’ve seen him go before the GOP House issues conference. We’ve even seen him on Fox NewsBret Baier where in many people’s minds he was disrespected both as a man and as president. This had not gone unnoticed by those who supported him. It made the man who came across as a smart, decisive hero to many, seem weak. Jon Stewart said it best, Obama has been ‘timid’.

President Obama more than most politicians clearly understands the importance of effective communicating. During his campaign he was everywhere. He was on the Steve Harvey radio show every week. He was on the Tom Joyner show. He sat down with MTV. He sat down with Jon Stewart. More importantly he was showing up on college campuses and large numbers of people on the campuses worked on his campaign. After the ’08 election all that seemed to disappear. Obama was a strong presence in those enclaves and quite frankly he needed to be. We needed to hear or see him those arenas articulating his position on policies, laying down challenges and marching orders and sharing his frustrations. We needed to hear him defending his policies and defending himself. We needed him to remind folks that they too needed to help with the heavy lifting and lay out some practical ways in which this could happen.

Have the millions of young voters who rode for Obama in 08 been effectively engaged? Many Democrats have been dismissive to the point of arrogance in how they should best be reached. The Obama voter in '08 is not necessarily a staunch Democratic voter in 2010

Now over the past year when I’ve had this conversation with people who are in Democratic circles it became clear there’s a huge disconnect. There’s a disconnect in many of them understanding that there were a lot of Barack Obama fans/voters who weren’t necessarily down for their local congressman, senator, mayor or whoever else was running even if they have a letter ‘D’ after their name. That’s been a hard pill for many to swallow and one that’s often met with defensive posturing that means absolutely nothing when we’ve had important races for mayoral and senate races all round the country with super low turnouts. from New York to Atlanta to Houston we’ve seen 20-26% come out and the wholesale absences of the throngs of new and first time voters who came out riding for Obama in 08. Where did they disappear to? Why did they not come out?

The excuses given are often drawn from the proverbial political consultant handbook which reads; We always have low turnout during elections where the president isn’t on the ticket. That excuse is usually accompanied by the often arrogantly stated ; “Well these young voters are lazy. They need to read the NY Times and Newsweek or watch CNN like I do if they wish to stay informed” Wrong answer folks. The response should’ve been: Lets figure out ways to better reach folks consistently through the mediums they enjoy.

In 2010 where folks tend to attach themselves to small or niche ‘information’ and ‘entertainment’ watering holes, to be dismissive of that fact and basically tell folks to ‘buck up’ as Vice President Joe Biden did the other day is why Dems are in trouble all over the country. It seems like some in leadership have forgotten that people are who they are and anyone who feels that a particular segment of the population can bring votes to the table needs to get up and meet them where they’re at. If they’re at NASCAR, church, concert  or plopped on their couch watching the Daily Show, then innovative compelling ways need to be used to reach that audience. Every other business does that so why not the Democrats?

President Obama‘s appearance with Jon Stewart was a reminder that in 2010 it’s not enough to simply show up at the 11th hour trolling for votes. It’s about having an ongoing dialogue and relationship one that’s in place before, during and after an election cycle. This is branding 101. It’s pretty basic and like it or not we now live in a society where enhancing your presence in the minds of consumers and in this case voters is paramount. As Jay-Z famously said ‘I’m a business man, I’m a BUSINESS, man. So in short, yes, I can read  about politics in the NY Times or Washington Post ? Sure I can ‘go on line and read about issues of the day at any number of sites. All the information we want is at the tip of our fingertips. However, for those who are truly in touch with their audiences the information is too much. It can be overwhelming and so direct engagement is even more important. If it was that simple and practical as surfing the web and coming away feeling empowered and connected then the topic of political engagement wouldn’t be topic. If it was that practical President Obama would not have found it necessary to go on the Jon Stewart Daily Show.

Sports writer Dave Zirin has long managed to keep folks politically engaged by connecting the dots to issues on the sports arena

Again the bottom line is everything is political including how we choose to engage folks especially on the electoral. Some like their news, views and politics in the backdrop of other things, in this case of Stewart, comedy and entertainment. Others like it served with sports as the backdrop… ala Dave Zirin and his Edge of Sports column or any number of sports stations that also carry shows like Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly.. Still others like it in gender based chat fests like the View. Lets hope folks step up their interaction game beyond the 2010 midterm elections.

Lastly, for those on the receiving end of information, its important to note that the end game for many in power is to keep you dis-empowered, uninformed, distracted and politically in the dark. This is done to keep folks from being wise to their games, susceptible to lies, doublespeak and blatant falsehoods. In other words politics is often slimy and many who do dirt don’t want an informed public to hold them accountable. The fact that corporate interests have such a strong hold in the political arena should be wake up call to all of us as we see the ways in which things play out.

It’s no accident that your local urban radio station which was calling its ‘The Obama’ station in ’08 hasn’t created a forum or show or even had a single discussion on important issues impacting your day to day lives. It’s no accident that some outlets decided to to have last minute voter registration drives only after money was spent on ads, not because they saw it as a service to the community.  It’s no accident that we are hearing more about the shenanigans of actor Charlie Sheen in 5-10 minute chunks on the evening news and not who is running for mayor, city council or District Attorney in your own backyard. Commercial media is part of the corporate wave infusing itself with politics and as a result they as business have it in their interests to keep sizeable populations dumb downed so they be that pimped and exploited.

It’s also no accident that many politicians will avoid hard hitting investigative news shows like a Democracy Now, Mike Milloy Free Speech TV or Rachel Maddow for fear of being jammed up and made to address questions they’ve skirted..So yes, on many levels its up to each of us to keep ourselves informed and at the same time we will have to push and insist that folks who want your support come to where your at and not just during election time.

something to ponder

-Davey D-

PS on a side note.. if you wish to find out about all the key elections in your state, city and neighborhood, here’s the link to an incredible voting guide. It breaks down all the races and includes all the candidates, not just Republicans and Democrats. They have the folks who are running under the Green Party, Peace and Freedom and many others. This is a great resource.. hope you find it useful

10 comments on “President Obama on Jon Stewart Daily Show: He Needs to Do That More Often

  1. Are you freakin’ serious?!?
    Timid? He needs to do that more? He’s been on TV more than the stupid Geico gecko over the past two years! The problem isn’t with Obama, the problem’s that nobody’s willing to have the kind of exchange he had last night with Stewart. Every time he sits down with Letterman, Leno, or Whoopi, he has to spend 90% of his time deflecting nonsense from the Tea Party. There’s not enough time to get to HIS message. If he were debating a single candidate from the right, he’d be in much better shape.
    The fact that many voters who showed up to support the President aren’t engaged because he’s not on the ballot this year is based on mathematics. For you to dismiss basic logic because you don’t like the resulting consequence leaves you appearing disingenuous – at best…

  2. First of all Kip if u read what I wrote then you’d get the point, but in typical fashion you’re trying to box someone in and play ‘gotcha’ and missing the mark I’ll spell it out for u real simple

    1-the people who came out in 2008 in record numbers who voted in overwhelming numbers for Obama were first time and infrequent voters many of them young
    They may or may not fit into traditional voting patterns and should not have ben treated as such.. Democrats did just that.. This is why you had low turnout in elections that took place just months after Obama was inaugurated. That understanding was backed up by the stories we covered and a study we had commissioned last year which showed in better detail whether 08 was a fluke or was it the result of certain thresholds being met..Obama being on the ticket was not the driving was the continuous engagement.

    2-Having spent a good chunk of my own loot to engage folks I have a little bit and it wasn’t traditional thinking or spending..t of insight above speculating.. I know exactly what got the most bang for my buck.. People asked to be engaged and wanted to find more ways to keep the good feeling alive that they got during 08

    3-I also monitored many of the outlets that did a lot of political convo around the country that normally didn’t until 08 that stopped after Nov 4th 2008. That was a mistake bc people didn’t magically pick up and go elsewhere to stay connected, especially if those other places were on political planes different then what they were used to and desired…

    4-The basic logic you speak of is simple, go to where your audience is at and meet them in climates comfortable for them. You don’t need to be a rocket science to understand that. The president has not done that.. If he did he wouldn’t have to do Stewart and it wouldn’t have been a big deal. In addition if the relationship was there, then his message calling for more to be politically involved would translated to the folks running for office who are in trouble.. I already noted in the article that the Obama voter wasn’t neccessarily the staunch democrat.. so what’s your beef here?

    Lastly if he actually went to places where large parts of his base go.. he wouldn’t have to fend off tea party rhetoric. he opted not even after he was told that he should. That raises a whole other set of issues which I touched upon in the article..

  3. Dukakis in the tank, John Kerry duck hunting, Obama bowling…….
    In this right wing media climate the democrat’s intentions are always going to be painted in the negative. One man’s reaching out to people is CNNs pandering and fox New’s disengenous maoist. When it’s painted like that you insult the people you’re trying to comunicate with.

    People should vote because they can. Every year pundits and bloggers talk about voting like it’s some monumental task that people need to be talked into doing. It creates the impression that it takes more than a half hour of your time once a year. If you need to be talked into excercising your right to vote then you’re too dumb to have a say and should stay home. If you’re voting for a guy because he made you laugh on the daily show or wore a sharp suit on the view, stay home.

    sorry, i’m a bit cynical today

  4. You missed the pint Tim.. and u missed u displayed the disconnect I spoke of.. I explained that that a tactic is to keep people distracted, out of the loop, discouraged etc.. Thats not by accident its designed.. Ur smart enough to know that.. political awareness and the willingness to hold accountable lawmakers seems overwhelming for many..To call someone dumb bc they don’t get it while you do is precisely why I wrote the article.. Lets try this.. people aren’t dumb, the respond to things differently.. and in a country where political acuteness is met with cynicism, dismissal, lies, ridicule and as we seen in the past few days violence, many have come to the conclusion, this activity ain’t worth it..So yes, many need to be reminded, many need to be convinced..

    Me personally I don’t want my legislative fate in the hands of people who stayed home, when I see immediate impact by some law makers.. ie. Prop 66 was designed to overturn 3 strikes Lots of non-violent felons could’ve been released.. Many were told voting didn’t matter, yet these same people were fighting to stop mass incarceration..what the hell were they expecting? Tell people their dumb for voting or not voting while trying to get them to take an easy path, vote in a law? Those folks are still locked up thanks to the inactivity of a few thousand folks who you said may have been dumb for not voting. Yes, maybe they were but I’m sure there’s a few thousand folks behind bars and a few thousand families still struggling who wished they spoke a bit more convincingly to those ‘dumb’ people..

    Bottom line meet people where they’re at. We”re a media driven society.. U used to be able to go to the local barber or basketball court and reach folks.. You still can in many places, but for most folks its what you see and hear in mediums.. So yes, a laugh on comedy central goes a long way.. Just as a stinging racial remark from an abrasive Tea Party member or the resurrection of a Black or Brown boogieman in an ad.

    I don’t know what other bloggers and pundits do.. this blogger and pundit raises political issues almost everyday and now in the 11th hour we have a step we can take.. so your damn right I’m gonna ask that step to be taken..Why would I not?.. I also gave suggestions of what she be done hence forth.. ENGAGE folks continuously.. Do Jon Stewart everyday, go on Steve Harvey everyday and keep political discourse alive and well vs having it be a one day a year activity..

  5. And once again we can see that Obama is nothing without his teleprompter.

    Look how many times he actually makes eye contact with Jon when he’s speaking to Jon vs. reading off the teleprompter on the desk. It’s a joke. This guy, like most other US presidents, is a complete puppet. That’s why it’s funny when I see Tea Party types get all worked up about Obama. It’s like old ladies getting mad at the villain on their day time soap operas. It’s just a TV show, this is all scripted and people are just reading the lines that are being fed to them.

  6. Zbigniew Brzezinski – I think that you are exactly right! Its a puppet show, and the people are expected to choose the puppet that makes them feel the most comfortable despite their reality. And for many, including the Puppets and the Puppet Masters, this is the extent of civic duty. To ask the puppet if its real is counted as disloyalty.

    The Puppets will tell you that the economy has improved, yet, you’ve lost your job and can’t find another, and your neighbors are still losing their homes.

    The Puppets will tell you that you’re safer and freer now, yet, you can’t fly to the other side of the nation without receiving a full body screening or pat-down.

    The Puppets will tell you that the 2010 Census was so that resources can be allocated to repair neighborhoods, yet, reality shows you the pothole on your street that has gotten bigger, and the changes that you expected have gotten smaller.

    The Puppets will tell you that the election of 2008 is proof that the U.S. is post-racial while the most egregious acts of racism are surfacing daily [insert Arizona here] with Oscar Grants being shot in the back on one coast, and Anthony Hill being shot and dragged by a truck on the other coast.

    The Puppets will yell “Freedom and Justic for all…..”, and then whisper “….except for Blacks, Hispanics, Minorities, Muslims, the Poor and Homosexuals.”

    The Puppets will tell you that they are working in the best interest of “everyday people” (aka Main St.) while giving 700 billion dollars to Wall St., who, in this environment of “joblessness”, are raking in millions in bonuses alone. Unemployment and Under-employment is at its highest in decades as are the incomes and bonuses of Wall St.

    The Puppets will tell you that the aftemath of the BP oil spill has been remedied as dead animal scontinue to wash up on its banks (which the puppets have made it illegal to photograph), and the people continue to sicken alongside their destroyed fishing livelihood.

    The Puppets will tell you that illegal wire-tapping is an infringement on the right of the people, and then sign the FISA bill into law.

    The Puppets will tell you that they’ve made progress in the Middle East without defining/explaining how they gauge progress.

    The Puppets will tell you that it is humanely wrong to detain and condemn someone as being a terrorist without proof and due process of law, but then, pass the Preventative Detention bill.

    The Puppets will tell you that there is different between Dems and Repubs while reality reminds you that they are 2 sides of the same coin.

    And the worst of all, the conscience of the Puppet’s puppets won’t allow them to hold the Puppets accountable for their actions, therefore, the Puppet’s puppets will defend the Puppets tooth-and-nail with a variety of excuses until………………………..reality sets in.

    And it is that reality that has resulted in the lack of participation for The Puppet Show.

    It seems that the Puppets are most effective when they are speaking to puppets.


  7. catawampus…??
    Someone help an old guy out .What does that mean? I don’t know if I should be mad or is it a compliment. I also vote in primaries so that’s 2X a year.

    Davey, I understood your point and I come to your site for the product you put on there. I was simply venting my frustration.

  8. Stewart is nothing more than a disinfo agent.

    Stewart went from brilliantly blasting Obama for his war-related lies and broken promises — — to an issue-less 20+ minute interview [with Obama] regarding dumb campaign slogans. Stewart asked soft questions pertaining to health care reform and the economy, but he asked __ZERO__ questions about Obama’s obvious lies and obvious broken promises; Obama has broken laws and committed treason in multiple ways, but Stewart didn’t bother confronting Obama about any of it.

    As for the “Rally To Restore Sanity”, here is how some of The Daily Show execs really rally for sanity: (…in other words, they _DON’T_ really rally for sanity, but they’re a bunch of loony psychotic assholes.)

  9. This is a situation I don’t think anything President Obama does people will be pleased.

    I would have expected that the African American community to support him, especially after all the Caucasians turned their back on him (didn’t take long). This is exactly what is wrong with our community, locally, statewide, nationally, and internationally. Instead of supporting one another in difficult times, or finding the true story, we start forming opinions in the public, and further making that person looking even worse.

    Realistically I don’t know what the people of America expected from President Obama, unless they were expecting a miracle from the complete f***ed up situation he inherited from George Bush.

    So, you fault him for stop giving those brilliant speeches that took to get into the office, and doing his job? 1. Changing the Credit Card system. 2. Redoing that crazy deal of bonuses with the bail our with Wall Street. 3. Finally getting a health care plan passed. 4. Making it possible for you to have a Student Loan & the banks not suck you dry from interest rates. 5. Getting blamed for the BP oil spill, having to take out time to diffuse a situation that should never have happened in the first place. 6. Pulling the troops out of Irag. 7. Making sure the Veterans get proper treatment after returning. 8. Trying to reform the education system. I can’t think of anything else.

    All we can do is think of is what he isn’t doing and complain. Why we can’t give props for what he is doing, and then say what we would like for him to do. It is just like the old saying, “you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”.

    We have fifty states, one district (everyone has major problems), a war (thanks to Bush), horrible economy (thanks to Bush), and we have people in Washington that aren’t willing to work with the President. He’s tried to be as open as possible. But I think the real problem is that he is not playing “politics”, like Jimmy Carter said it can be there. So therefore the Senators and Congress can make your life hell. It is that “good ole boy syndrome”, and President Obama is not following in line with it.

    I think it is unfair to criticize a person for trying to do their job, no matter how they got that job. His resume was using his speeches, and everyone fell for it, and now that you hired him, you want to complain because he is not moving fast enough.

    That is one underpaid job, I wouldn’t want for nothing in the world. Being on call 24 hours, inheriting this mess, and having to do with ungrateful, complaining, whining people, and your life is constantly be threaten.


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