The Colbert Report

Season 5 Episode 69

Walter Kirn

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Aired Weekdays 11:30 PM May 19, 2009 on Comedy Central
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Tonight Stephen welcomes theatlantic,com columnist and the author of Lost in the Meritocracy: The Under Education of an Overachiever, Walter Kirn.
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      • Stephen: Tonight: The Republicans may have found a way to make us love them again. Senator Susan Boyle? Then: A difference maker who's standing up to the government. He's the most courageous scofflaw since Sammy Hagar refused to drive 55. Then my guest Walter Kirn says standardized tests aren't the best way to measure students. Exactly. I measure them by their parent's income. I don't like to brag, I love it. This is the Colbert Report.

      • Stephen: The Republicans were asking the smarter question: How can we make everything else look worse, which brings up to tonight's Word: I Know You Are But What Am I? When the Republican Nation Committee meets tomorrow them plan to "approve a resolution rebranding Democrats as the 'Democrat Socialist Party.'" The outlook is not as bright for their other resolution: To shoot Michael Steele into the sun. (Which revolves around Limbaugh) Now renaming your opponent is a brilliant maneuver, no matter what business you're in. Remember how Coke won the Cola Wars with their slogan: Pepsi? More like Poopsi! The Republicans have a long and successful history of renaming things. (From "surplus" to "debt") Like when they called keeping track of peoples library records the Patriot Act, or renamed air pollution the Clear Skies Act or when George Bush changed Karl Rove's named to Turdblossom. (Removes the stigma of 'Rove') Right now, the Republicans are doing the same thing with heath care. Republicans could have presented a counter proposal, but that would have required having a counter proposal. (Besides "Walk it off") GOP pollster Frank Luntz had a better idea. He published a memo outlining ways to make government run healthcare sound less attractive. He suggested calling it "…government takeover of healthcare…" You see, no one wants the government to takeover healthcare. (Just other countries and banks) So, did Republicans take Luntz's advice?

        [Video Clips: Pundit: We don't want government takeover of healthcare…
        Rep. Mark Steven Kirk: …government takeover of healthcare…
        Pundit: …government takeover of healthcare will put bureaucrats in charge of healthcare decisions….]

        Stephen: Can you imagine!? It'll be: Hello bureaucrats! Goodbye mom and pop massive insurance conglomerate. (Getting screwed will lose that personal touch) So we know renaming works, and it will work on the Democrats. But Democrat Socialist isn't tough enough. (Couldn't fit "gay" into it?) Turns out that 33% of Americans under 30 think Socialism is better than Capitalism. (100% of them mooching off parents) So then, I thought Democrat Godless. Unfortunately according to a recent poll, Atheists were the only demographic that grew in all 50 states in the last 18 years. (Other than "former bankers") Then I thought, well maybe they should just go with "The Bad Party" but that's no good because "The Bad Party" will just attract teenage girls. No, if the GOP really wants people to turn against the Democrats they need a name that instantly turns people off. (Chrysler?) So I think the GOP just needs a name for Democrats that reminds people of something they've had a terrible experience with. (The Republican Party) That's it!!!

        Folks, we'll call the Democrats the Republicans. That has got to hurt. Those guys aren't going to win for years. (At least until 2010) I think that this strategy is foolproof, because then you've spent the last 20 years poisoning your own name, the only logical step is to destroy somebody else's. (I know you are but what am I?) And that's the Word.

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