Last week, two guests on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart were especially illuminating. Tony Blair and Tim Kaine. Jon Stewart started out as a Stand Up comic and, from what I read, he still does Stand Up. In Stand Up, the feedback is instant. If a joke is good, he knows, instantly, if it is bad, ditto.
By doing Stand Up, Stewart knows what is happening in the world. Not so much the facts of what is happening, but people's reaction to those facts. He has a direct feel for what is going on.
I first saw that when I worked for Shapell Homes in the 1970's. When the market crashed – I guess mini-crash would be more accurate when compared to today – the Sales People knew the first weekend. The Sales Manager who was slightly out of it saw the same facts, but didn't quite believe them; but, after two or three weeks, he got the drift. I was Director of Operations and didn't believe it for another couple of weeks but I still couldn't convince Nathan Shapell who thought it was a blip – or something other than a crash.
Our banker, who only got his information from us, was blissfully happy.
Both Tony Blair and Tim Kaine – the head of the Democratic Party – are not only out of the loop, they are constantly surrounded by sycophants. Every day, they have people giving them good news. So, when they showed up on the Daily Show, they were shocked by Stewart asking them questions that they should have expected but was, really, out of their world view.
Stewart asked Blair something about Iraq that assumed what we all know – that they war was misguided at best, and, more realistically, an epic disaster – and Blair just didn't even get the question. He answered it as if the war had been a huge success.
When Stewart asked Kaine how he was doing, Kaine answered Great, I'm having a lot of fun. Stewart was surprised and said something like, Really, the Democrats are getting their asses kicked. Kaine tried to brush it off as if Stewart didn't know the real story.
But, of course, Kaine and Blair don't know the real story. And, I am afraid, Obama is even worse informed. Not to the facts, maybe, but to the tenor of what is happening in the country. People are pissed, but I don't think Obama is in a position to see it.