When ‘The Daily Show’ picks up the slack

WHEN ‘THE DAILY SHOW’ PICKS UP THE SLACK…. Last week, a unanimous Senate Republican caucus blocked, and likely killed, the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. It’s the bill that intended to pay health care costs for 9/11 rescue workers, sickened after exposure to the toxic smoke and debris. For the GOP, it was a simple calculus — they’d consider bills like this, just as soon as they’d secured tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.

Even for a party that routinely dabbles in callousness, this was pretty stunning. But Republicans were willing to gamble that the country probably wouldn’t hear a word about this, and they were right — Eric Boehlert noted that ABC, CBS, and NBC blew off the story entirely.

As is often the case, “The Daily Show” was willing to pick up the slack, and aired a pretty devastating segment last night.

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It’s worth watching in full, but among the gems from the segment was Stewart showing a CNN segment on Senate Republicans blocking three bills over a couple of days: DADT repeal, the DREAM Act, and the 9/11 health bill. It led Stewart to ask, “I get the other two, but since when does the Republican Party make 9/11 first responders stand over in the corner with the gays and Mexicans?”

The segment also noted that the Senate GOP, in an act of cowardice, was willing to unanimously block consideration of the bill, but not one was willing to speak on the subject: “They won’t be so cowardly as to not vote without justifying their actions — just cowardly enough not to do it on camera.”

The host concluded: “So, guess what Republicans? Here’s the deal: the whole we’re-the-only-party-that-understands-9/11-and-its-repercussions monopoly ends now…. No more coopting 9/11 imagery to get yourselves elected. No more using 9/11 as the date when magically all your policies became right. No more using 9/11 to micro manage Manhattan’s zoning decisions. No using 9/11 as an excuse for why your Bush tax cuts never stimulated the economy in the first place. Or 9/11 as an excuse to do what you were going to be doing anyway.”

For what it’s worth, I suspect the GOP will ignore Stewart’s admonition — they’re a shameless bunch — and go on pretending that they somehow “own” the terrorist attacks. But I’m glad Stewart took them to task anyway. Someone had to.