They started out chummy enough. Bonilla, not being familiar with the show, took the time to look into it before appearing, and presented Jon with a pair of tiny cowboy boots for his new baby. Jon: “They’ll go so well with his tiny gun…really, things that a Jewish baby will not likely be into.”
They got into the meat of the interview, Jon grilling Bonilla on his participation in the Rapid Response Team during the Democratic National Convention. Bonilla claimed it was necessary so as to present the Truth. “We just want people to stand up and say who they are. If they’re Liberal, they should just say so”
Stewart: “the question is, how do you define who’s liberal. There was this recent rating that showed Edwards to be the most liberal, and Edwards the fourth most liberal senators. How did they decide that?”
Bonilla: there are different ratings …
Stewart: I’m a stupid man, explain it to me
Bonilla: Bills come before the senate, and are passed into laws…
Stewart: I’m not retarded.
Bonilla: different groups rate legislators according to different categories – the gun lobby, abortion advocates, etc.
Stewart: But who decided this first-most-liberal and fourth-most-liberal?
Back and forth a few times, Bonilla hemming about different ratings groups, Stewart asking specifically who decided this. By this time I’m shouting at the screen “National Journal! National Journal!” After the 4th go-round, Jon finally says “the National Journal came up with these ratings”. He then asks again what the Rapid Response Team is supposed to do.
Bonilla: Let people know the truth
Stewart: I don’t think so. Maybe your side.
Then some awkward drifting off to the end.
He showed Bonilla to be a blowhard who didn’t even understand what he was talking about – how could he represent the Truth to the American people?
* * *
I have to think this is his response to his interchange with Ched Choppel on Pightline during the Convention week. He basically accused Koppel and the other anchors of not doing enough to test their interviewees’ opinions. See this interview on Nightline.
He did the hard-hitting news interview that he feels those with “credibility and gravitas” should give us. He may not realize it, but he does have more and more of that credibility and gravitas, as he interviews more and more politicians and media figures, and pushes them to say what they really think.