Jon Stewart surveyed the aftermath of the inconclusive Pennsylvania Democratic primary on Wednesday's Daily Show. Although he noted the overheated rhetoric of the media coverage, his sharpest jabs by far were aimed at Hillary Clinton.
"When the campaign started," Stewart began, "the senator from New York was the clear front-runner." He then offered a series of clips from Clinton's speeches and interviews in which she offered an ever-shifting set of rationales for why she should still be considered the leading candidate, despite Obama's victories.
In January, Clinton told an interviewer , "Ultimately you have to be humble because it's up to the voters. Voters get to decide.
"She would soon find that trust violated, as a few early caucus states went for Senator Obama," Stewart noted. "But don't panic! Are caucuses really voting?"
By February, Clinton was asserting, "You know my sense of caucus states. They are primarily dominated by activists. They don't represent the electorate."
"Activists?" commented Stewart. Those are merely the people who care the most. ... It would be different if Obama had won a couple of actual primaries."
However, once Obama did win some primary states, the Clintons started downplaying those votes on racial grounds, with Bill Clinton pointing out, "Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice," while Hillary referred to "the case of Louisiana, a very strong and very proud African-American electorate -- which I totally respect."
"I mean, look," Stewart commented, assuming a southern drawl. "If we're going to start counting black votes, I mean, come on."
By March, Clinton's rationales had shifted further. "I've won the big states," she insisted. "I've won the states that a Democrat has to win."
"We choose this by state size, right?" asked Stewart.
"But as voters continued to get it wrong," Stewart went on, "could no one rescue us from ourselves? Look, up in the air! It's a bird, it's a plane, it's -- superdelegates!"
"We do a great disservice to those who have a record of service, who have independent experience with candidates" Clinton claimed. "Which voters don't have. They see us from afar, they come to a speech, they watch us on television, and they vote. And that is part of the process -- and an important part."
"Fucking lever-pullers," commented Stewart sourly.
"You're an important part of this complete democratic process," Stewart then explained. "You're like the pile of toast next to the orange juice in the Fruity Pebbles commercial."
"But as the hope that superdelegates could correct this error wanes," Stewart concluded, "the real issue begins to come into focus The Democratic nominating process should be conducted hypothetically."
"If we had the same system as the Republicans, I'd already be the nominee," Clinton stated, referring to the Republican winner-take-all primaries.
"So what it actually comes down is is that you would win the nomination if Democrats were Republicans," Stewart commented. "That sounds like one tremendous 'if you' to the process."
This video is from Comedy Central's Daily Show, broadcast April 23, 2008.