March 15, 2007

Hare, 17th district go before millions on "Colbert Report" tonight

A reminder that 17th District Rep. Phil Hare will appear on the political satire show "The Colbert Report" for an interrogation by Colbert's on-air character, described as a "right-wing, poorly informed, high-status idiot" ala Bill O'Reilly. The spectacle will air at 10:30 p.m. tonight on the Comedy Channel.

Ironically, Hare appears on the show the very day a piece in "The Hill" newspaper reveals that top Democratic strategist Rahm Emanuel has urged freshman representitives NOT to appear on The Colbert Show.
Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), the Democratic Caucus chairman, has told new Democratic members of Congress to steer clear of Stephen Colbert, or at least his satirical Comedy Central program, “The Colbert Report.”

“He said don’t do it … it’s a risk and it’s probably safer not to do it,” said Rep. Steve Cohen. But the freshman lawmaker from Tennessee taped a segment that last week was featured in the 32nd installment of the “Better Know a District” series. Colbert asked Cohen whether he was a black woman. He isn’t.

Eyes (but thankfully, not heads) roll in Emanuel’s office when other freshmen stumble, such as the time Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) got into a debate about the merits of throwing kittens into a wood-chipper, or when Rep. Zack Space (D-Ohio) explained that he is not his predecessor, convicted felon Bob Ney (R).
Wonder if there's any connection between Hare's decision and Emanuel's putting out the word? I guess we'll "better know" after we see the segment.

A previous post a month or so back featured a few video clips of stunningly disasterous and embarassing appearances by politicians on The Colbert Show.

Unfortunately, those YouTube clips are no longer available due to Viacom invoking copyright issues, but the clips included Colbert getting FL congressman Robert Wexler to say that doing cocaine with hookers is a fun thing to do, another congressional candidate that Colbert got to state that his opponent used drugs, and perhaps the funniest, an idiot GA rep who had sponsored a bill to require the posting of the ten commandments in courthouses and other public places.

Colbert asked him point blank to name the commandments as Colbert sat there with both fists in the air ready to count them out on his fingers. The guy couldn't name a single one.

Colbert is wickedly adept at making fools out of politicans by twisting their words and getting them to say things you can't believe you're actually hearing a politician say. He'll ask trick questions such as, "George Bush; great president, or greatest president?", and it gets worse from there.

Hare's interview tonight will be seen by an enormous audience, larger by a factor of thousands than any Hare has appeared before to date, and perhaps the last time he'll get such huge (inter)national exposure in his entire career. (The Colbert Report is Comedy Central's highest rated show and is aired in both the U.S. and Australia. I imagine it gets a few more viewers than C-Span or the local news.)

So gather up the kids, put out the dog and call the neighbors, Phil Hare and "The Fightin' 17th" are going to give the U.S. and Australia some yuks tonight at 10:30 p.m.

Leave your impressions here after the show.


Well, the segment just ended, and though Colbert didn't go too hard on him compared to others, overall I thought Hare did very well.

Colbert was only able to employ his trademark verbal gymnastics on a few traps,including suggesting Hare supports Bush and the war because the Arsenal produces munitions (true enough in it's way), suggesting that Carl Sandburg was murdered and Hare is allowing his killer to run free, that by his approval of the underground railroad in Galesburg, Hare was endorsing breaking laws we don't agree with, and spending quite a while trying to get Hare to say that, since Iraq is in a civil war, we're therefore "the Union", and Bush is the president, Bush therefore is like Lincoln.

Aside from one minor stumble, where Hare fell prey to the word play and convoluted logic and said, "It was wrong to break the law to get people out of slavery, yes.", he largly navigated the many pitfalls successfully.

At least the one about comparing Bush to Lincoln was easy. I mean, how could you even get the words comparing Bush favorably to Lincoln out of your mouth, even unconsciously? No matter what the trickery, I think the words would stick in your throat.

Colbert didn't try to suggest Hare was gay or high at the moment, as he has with other victims, and Hare was spared the usual creative editing and cutaway shots showing the interviewee with odd facial expressions that are often employed to make the subject look weird at best or deranged at worst.

Hare's appearance has to rank up there with one of the very few where the politician didn't get completely flumoxed by Colbert and ended up either saying something or doing something embarassing and coming off like a jackass. I've seen dozens of these segments, and rarely does anyone escape without damage, but Hare managed to escape largely unscathed.

Despite the fact that Colbert didn't beat on him as hard as he has others, I'd give Hare a solid B+/A-. Very well done.

And even Colbert's jokes about the district weren't that cutting. I'd say "The Fightin' 17th" escaped humiliation, and in his case, Hare proved Rahm Emanuel's warning to be unecessary.


At 3/15/2007 11:04 PM, Blogger Dissenter said...

"It was wrong to break the law to get people out of slavery." Wow. Now THAT was funny.

This is all so obviously mere harmless fun. Anyone who makes more of it than that is a bore. I was thoroughly entertained by, though not at all embarrassed by, my representative.

At 3/15/2007 11:08 PM, Blogger Dissenter said...

I just read Dope's post-show wrap up, and I respectfully suggest that you overlooked the best line: "It was wrong to break the law to get people out of slavery." That was far better than the Lincoln stumble. I agree with your assessment though. I might even give him an A.


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