We're still far away from finding out who the Republicans and Democrats will choose as their respective candidates for the 2016 presidential election, but already people are ready to start talking about the debates.
124,000 (and counting) people have signed a Change.org petition that claims at least one of next year's executive showdowns should be handled by the now-former "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart. And you know what? That's not too bad of an idea for a number of reasons.
Although Stewart has expressed an interest in following his directorial debut (2014's "Rosewater") with more films, he's currently in between projects right now -- his last episode of "The Daily Show" aired this month.
Stewart's long tenure as the host of the satirical political program earned him a unique position within -- but still separate from -- the often blurred lines of politics and the media. During that time he earned the trust of millions with his consistently critical approach to current events and had the opportunity to speak directly with many on those same subjects. Based on this, many viewers feel that he can and will be their pragmatic eyes and ears (and, in this case, voices) on the ground.
He's up on his politics.
Though Stewart and his team of comedic correspondents often touched on many other issues of American life over their 16 years, a majority of the content centered on presidents, congressmen and women, the Supreme Court, local politicians and media personnel. And not only did they scour the day's news for buzzy new items; they also had an encyclopedic knowledge of things that were said and done in the sometimes distant past which helped to regularly (and often hilariously) call out inconsistencies. So, he knows his stuff.
While debates are no laughing matter -- at least, not intentionally so -- Stewart would bring a bit of levity to the situation that would probably ease candidates and audiences alike into the discussion.
The petitioners point out that "Mr. Stewart has interviewed 15 heads of state, 22 members of the United States Cabinet, 32 members of the United States Senate, 7 members of the United States House of Representatives, and scores of other political leaders from this country and around the world ... His work on 'The Daily Show' received the prestigious Peabody Award for its coverage of the 2000 and 2004 presidential races." He's also interviewed presidents, sitting and former, quite a number of times, making him uniquely familiar with the executive branch.
He's immune to the spin doctor.
Stewart knows a subject shift when he hears one. He'd be able to steer the course and keep everyone on track for sure.
He'd bring an audience.
Even people who wouldn't necessarily tune in for the presidential debate might be tempted to watch and see what he does with it.
He's loyal to neither liberals nor conservatives.
As the Change.org petitioners point out, Stewart has declared that he has no left- or right-wing allegiance. He once said, "'Liberal' and 'conservative' have lost their meaning in America. I represent the distracted center." So, Stewart's approach to all party candidates would be equally inspective.
He actually gives a sh-t.
One of Jon Stewart's biggest strengths in doing what he
does did is that whether or not he's a wealthy celebrity with massive privilege and access (he is), he still cares about what's going on and how it affects everyone -- now and for future generations. So, he'd be more than just a seasoned query-slinger. He'd be an interested party to the debate, too.
What do you think? Should Jon Stewart host one of next year's presidential debates? Why or why not?