Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Entertainers and Presidents

Comedian Jon Stewart scolded television entertainer Jim Cramer for … being entertaining. “I understand that you want to make finance entertaining, but it’s not a f—-n game,” he said.

After teaching the man who throws produce at cameras a lesson, Stewart is being celebrated as a populist hero. But a week or so ago, when President Obama said, “you know, the stock market is sort of like a tracking poll in politics. You know, it bobs up and down day to day,” where was Jon Stewart? Where was anyone? It certainly didn’t sound like Obama was treating the market with the degree of seriousness demanded by, um, Comedy Central.

Moreover, if the economic crisis isn’t a game, why was Obama so strategic in using it to push through a laundry list of liberal prizes? We were told that if we didn’t immediately get with his program, we’d find ourselves in an “irreversible” state of calamity. Now, after he’s pitched his stimulus and budget, and the market is still reeling, he’s changed his tune. Yesterday, he told us that the crisis is “not as bad as we think” and his plans will do the trick to pull us out. And today Lawrence Summers cautioned Americans against an “excess of fear.”

Stewart forced the rodeo clown of Wall Street into pledging to be more serious. While we watch that key transformation unfold, maybe someone else – Jimmy Fallon? – can elicit a similar pledge from our president.