Returning from a week-long break Monday, Jon Stewart and company attempted to figure out which side was more responsible for “fanning” violence over health care reform. The Daily Show correspondents offered up talking points with violent undertones from both sides of the aisle.
As health care reform was on its way to becoming law, “the rhetoric of health care reform opponents did become somewhat intemperate,” observed Stewart. Republicans like House Minority Leader John Boehner, Rep. Steve King, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin all seemed to go over the top.
“We are about 24 hours from Armageddon,” announced Boehner hours before reform passed the last hurdle in the House.
“We need to defeat these bastards,” said Limbaugh. “We need to wipe them out.”
After the bill passed, Rep. Steve King offered up some strong language of his own. “Let’s beat that other side to a pulp. Let’s chase them down. There’s going to be a reckoning,” he said.
“And pitchfork and torch and rope, end scene,” joked Stewart.
Reports of violence and threats against politicians followed the angry talking points. Democrats faced racial and homophobic slurs, glass was shattered in several offices, and an envelope containing white powder was sent to one congressman’s office. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, a Republican, claimed his life was threatened and a bullet fired through the window of one of his offices.
The Daily Show correspondent John Oliver joined Stewart to explain the conservative point of view. “Whoa. Whoa. Jon, are you sure you want to talk about this?” asked Oliver. “You do know that just bringing health care up is an incitement to violence? You do realize that?”
Stewart tried to continue with rational dialogue. “You see, we can have this discussion,” he pointed out.
“Okay. Your funeral, dead man. You are dead. You are dead,” said Oliver.
“You see my point. These threats of physical violence,” Stewart began but was quickly interrupted.
Oliver doubled down on his rhetoric. “Physical violence? I only said ‘your funeral’ in a metaphorical sense. You are deliberately misunderstanding me. You are so f**king literally dead,” he said.
“Since health care reform became law, we have seen these death threats, incitements to violence. A congressman was spat on,” observed Stewart.
Oliver tried to rationalize Republicans angry talking points. “Conservatives can no longer tolerate living under this oppressive occupation which is why patriots are obliged to castrate and skull f**k every baby killer who voted for this bill,” he said.
When Stewart objected to violent language, Oliver parroted a Sarah Palin line. “You are so the lamestream media,” he explained. “It’s a metaphor, Jon. It’s a clear metaphor for grassroots voter registration in vulnerable districts. Skullf**king. It’s a common term. Don’t make me the bad guy here.”
A cool-headed Wyatt Cenac joined the discussion on the side of the Democrats. “As I listen to health care opponents rising up and talking about revolution, I guess my one thought is bring it on. Let’s fucking do this. I’m kind of sick of this shit. We have guns too.”
This video is from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, broadcast March 29, 2010.