(Fair warning: I usually keep the language clean in this blog, but I didn't manage it this time. Below the fold may be NSFW.)
OK, I admit it. I've still got last night's Jon Stewart CNBC Massacre (with full orchestration and five part harmony) stuck in my mind. I think that's going to be the case for at least a little longer, because I'm still trying to wrap my mind around some of the things I've learned over the course of the whole mess.
One of the (several) things I keep coming back to is just what some of the criticism of last nights production demonstrates. Some critics follow the example set by this schmeckle who decided to try the proven "if I lie hard enough and long enough, I can make something else have happened" strategy. Other criticism reprised the whole "how dare the comedian get serious" stratagem that Tucker Carlson used to such devastating effect back in 2004. That garbage is predictable. Stewart is a comedian, calls himself a comedian, says that his own show isn't fair, and suggests that - just maybe - it would be nice if the real journalists did a better job at covering the news than he does. Given all that, it's not a surprise that people are going to get outraged that Jon Stewart is a comedian and has a show that's not entirely fair.
It's not the predictable nonsense that's got me thinking. Actually, the thing that's got me thinking the most came from a Tweet that Joe DoucheScarborough sent last night:
Cramer just sat there and took his medicine. He's clearly shaken that his fellow Democrats have turned on him.
He went on to clarify that a little later:
I am quoting Cramer. He is a loyal Democrat and it depresses him to be reviled by his political allies.
What I can't figure out is why Scarborough - or Cramer - would expect anything else.
To be honest, the fact that Scarborough apparently doesn't think that "party loyalty" is a stupid reason to lay off criticism says a hell of a lot about Scarborough and the Republicans. None of it's good.
The most widely quoted part of last night's Cramer/Stewart interview came when Stewart got very serious with Cramer:
I understand you want to make finance entertaining, but it's not a fucking game. And I ... when I watch that... I can't tell you how angry that makes me.
Trade a word or two, and that sums up just how I feel about the "loyal Democrat" argument. This isn't a fucking game. The Democrats and Republicans aren't running up and down a field in uniforms, they're not throwing a ball through a hoop, and everyone doesn't get to go down to the locker room and take a shower at the end of the day. This isn't supposed to be about beating the other guys. It's supposed to be about what's best for the country.
We aren't supposed to support everyone who claims to be on our "team". That's sports section bullshit. We're supposed to support politicians - and commentators - when we think they're right. When we think they're wrong, we need to make our opposition known. Period.
I'm happy - sincerely happy - that Cramer is on the right side of the argument when it comes to things like taxes. I really do mean that. But that's no reason to give him a pass on areas where he's wrong. Unfortunately, he went out this week and made himself the shining example of everything that's been wrong with financial reporting - and then Stewart took a video of Cramer from a couple of years ago and - legitimately - turned him into a shining example of everything that's wrong about short-term speculation.
Supporting Obama doesn't buy him a pass on that.
Look, like a number of others, I give Cramer a lot of credit for going on Stewart's show. Cramer's a smart enough guy that he had to know that his appearance was unlikely to end well, and even when things turned out to be a lot harsher than he may have anticipated, he still managed to conduct himself with a hell of a lot more class than Tucker "please won't everyone just forget about my bowties" Carlson did. He's also not the worst example of the problems that are out there. But the notion that he should be spared because he's "on the right team" is the kind of pernicious bullshit that makes everyone losers.