Sadly, there are no transcripts of The Daily Show (if there are, please tell me where), so the following is a loose account, and quotations are only approximate (brought to you by the magic of Tivo.) Tonight’s guest was Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-TX) and member of the GOP’s “rapid response team” convened during the Democratic Convention. Bonilla started nicely enough, giving Stewart a pair of miniature cowboy boots for his new son.
Then it got interesting. This is a bit lengthy, but read the whole thing. You’ll be glad you did.
STEWART: … they say he’s a liberal … he’s the number on liberal in the …
BONILLA: He’s to the left of Ted Kennedy, and that’s fine.
STEWART: Where do they come up with those rankings…how do
BONILLA: We’re all ranked every year.
STEWART: By who?
BONILLA: [Mentions business groups, tax groups, trial lawyers, unions all tracking votes…]
[crosstalk for a minute, more of the same.]
STEWART: I turn on the TV and I hear that John Kerry is the most liberal senator and John Edwards is the forth most…How do they figure that?
BONILLA: We have votes…and they track them…
STEWART: Who’s “they”? Which one said they were the first and fourth most liberal?
BONILLA: Well you take the trial lawyers or the people that follow the union vote, or the small business votes, or the corporate votes…
BONILLA: These groups do…these groups have lists…
STEWART: Which group? Which group says they’re the most liberal. That is a point that you guys make….
BONILLA: The liberal and conservative groups. Both of them do.
[This continues for a while, as Bonilla digs himself deeper and deeper.]
STEWART: I’ll tell you who it is. It’s actually called The National Journal.
BONILLA: That’s a magazine.
STEWART: But they’re the ones who put it together.
BONILLA: They actually compile the list.
STEWART: But is that over their career? Or over just…
BONILLA: Over their career.
STEWART: But, see. No. …Edwards over his career is actually more to the right than the median Democratic [senator] and Kerry is more to the right of Kennedy. So, I just, want…what you said. You just want people to have an honest discussion and that’s all that I want.
STEWART: Like the 350 tax cut thing, is so out of context. Some of that is when he voted not to lower taxes and keep them the same.
BONILLA: …I wish both candidates would just come out and say, “I stand here” and “I stand here.”
STEWART: I think they do.
BONILLA: They don’t. And that’s why we have the rapid response team.
STEWART: No. That’s not why you have the rapid response team. [Laughter]
Is there some way to fire Judy Woodruff and give her job to Jon Stewart? For a bit more context on the National Journal and the “1st and 4th most liberal” talking point, see this and this from Somerby.