During the first segment of The Daily Show on Thursday night, Jon Stewart took Republicans and conservatives to school by highlighting their apparent crush on Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. In typical Stewart fashion, he used their own words against them to point out how they are showing cognitive dissonance by praising Putin for basically being a dictator and doing whatever he wants on the international stage, even though they’ve spent years complaining about how President Obama is acting like a dictator king and is using authoritarian rule in America.
After beginning the show by giving a nice little breakdown of the current events in Ukraine and how Putin has been dishonest about what Russia has done so far, Stewart moved onto how conservatives in the American media have swallowed Putin’s propaganda and fallen head over heels for him. He contrasted Germany’s Angela Merkel stating that Putin is delusional and living in his own reality with Republican figures like Ralph Peters and Rudy Giuliani stating that Putin is a real leader and is far more effective than Obama.
Stewart showed a clip of Giuliani saying that Putin doesn’t waste time when making a decision and he makes others react to his actions, therefore showing he is a true leader. The Daily Show host destroyed Giuliani’s argument by stating that making a quick decision and watching everybody react isn’t a leader. Instead, that is what a toddler does.
Throughout the segment, Stewart showed various clips of conservatives like Bill O’Reilly, Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, Eric Bolling and Charles Payne all ripping the President for being weak while commending Putin for being macho and a tough guy. They also seemed to use the same talking point of Obama wearing ‘mom jeans’ while Putin is someone who is muscular, wrestles bears and tigers and will kill you if he has the chance.
Stewart helpfully highlighted that the image of Putin as some Conan the Barbarian-type who rides horses with his shirt off and hunts tigers is all propaganda aimed at creating the very image that these conservative pundits are gladly propping up. Putin is an autocratic leader who will do anything to stay in power and pines for the old Soviet bloc days. He utilizes state-run media to create the narrative he wants his country’s citizens to see and hear. He has completely dismissed the UN and the Security Council months after lecturing the United States that we needed to do the same with regards to Syria.
Stewart saved the best for last during the segment. After showing all of these conservatives calling Obama weak and indecisive while fawning all over Putin and basically wishing he was their leader, Stewart showed clips of many of those same people complaining that Obama acts like a dictator and rules America with an iron fist. Apparently, in the conservative mind, Obama is ‘a weak, mom-jeans wearing DICTATOR KING!’ As Stewart hilariously highlighted, either something happened to these people as children to create this inherent cognitive dissonance, or they will just do whatever it takes to undermine this President at every turn.