In what was likely a disappointment to many people excited to see Jon Stewart of ‘The Daily Show’ finally get a chance to hold a key member of the Bush administration accountable for everything he’d railed against for those eight years, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice got a very warm reception and easy treatment during her guest spot last night. It’s perhaps also a sign that he means what he says about restoring sanity to political discourse.
“I heard you speak about your life and your background, and I was very charmed, and very upset with you for charming me,” Stewart said to open the first of Rice’s two segments. She was on to promote her new book ‘Extraordinary Ordinary People,’ about her life growing up amidst the civil rights movement in Birmingham, Alabama, and that compelling story clearly impressed and moved Stewart, and it’s why he refrained from going after her for the debacles of her time in office.
“You and I, politically, pretty much agree on almost everything,” Stewart joked, knowing full well they don’t, and anticipating that a lot of his viewers were likely waiting for them to butt heads. “You may write a book about those experiences, and maybe you’ll come back then and we’ll have that conversation as well,” he noted, and Rice confirmed that she’ll be writing that book (although she didn’t actually say she’d come back on ‘TDS’ for it). So perhaps they will have that debate someday, perhaps not.
She did seem very personable and pleasant, though, and she refused to criticize what’s going on in the Obama administration. “I am not going to chirp at the people who are inside,” she explained. “I know how hard it is there. I know that it’s a lot easier out here than than it is in there and these are patriotic people who are trying to do their best every day. They don’t need me chirping at them.”
Stewart then gave a mock-sheepish look and quipped “I got nothin’ but chirp.”
Perhaps surprisingly, though, Rice got in a dig at Glenn Beck and his ilk when discussing how after 9/11, Bush came out strongly to say America wasn’t at war with the whole religion of Islam and now the political rhetoric is often very anti-Muslim. “There’s a lot of the turning up the volume of a few extreme voices on this issue,” she noted. “I don’t believe that most Americans are in any sense Islamophobic.” Later, she added “I do think that when you give a voice to very extreme people, it gives a sense that the United States is the country that it is not.”
“Like if they had their own channel,” Stewart joked, alluding to Fox News, to which Rice quickly retorted “Or maybe their own rallies.”