Not this year.
Stephen Colbert, in his guise as thoughtless conservative pundit, beat the hell out of the President with a barrage of cutting jokes, touching on everything from Katrina to Iraq, to the NSA domestic spying program, to Harriet Miers. He never flinched from his material which required he play his right-wing pundit character as he stood at the lectern praising his President, all the while keeping a straight face as he eviscerated the leader of the free world. You can watch one half of his monologue here, or both halves here and here. Here's a taste, taken from Scherer's essay on Salon.com :
Then [Colbert] turned to the president of the United States, who sat tight-lipped just a few feet away. "I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound -- with the most powerfully staged photo-ops in the world."Frickin' harsh. You gotta watch it if you haven't already.
What's most interesting about the coverage of the night by the mainstream press is that no one's actually saying anything about Colbert's monologue. They're all talking about the sketch Bush did with a look-alike (the one that's always on Leno's show). I haven't seen it, but the consensus with bloggers is that the sketch was lame, which is easy to believe considering how toothless the "satire" on SNL and the late night talk shows is these days. But the issue is this: even if the press didn't approve of Colbert, the fact that his biting monologue so clearly left the President and First Lady entirely unamused (she did not shake his hand) is news, and the fact that this bit of news didn't make it through the mainstream press's filter says something, I think, and it's not good.
Anyway, Salon's got a story about the dinner here, and Crooksandliars.com has some of the Colbert segment that was on 60 Minutes last night here. Who knew Colbert had such trauma during his childhood? Compelling stuff.
All right. More tomorrow.