Jon Stewart’s guest on tonight’s Daily Show was the Fox Business Channel’s own Lou Dobbs. They talked about capitalism, democracy, Occupy Wall Street, and Republican primaries. Embedded video and a complete transcript of the extended interview follow, after the fold.
Jon Stewart: He is the host of the Fox Business Channel’s Lou Dobbs Tonight — please welcome back to the show Lou Dobbs!
What’s up, man? How are you, sir? Nice to see you! Come and sit.
Lou Dobbs: [inaudible]
Stewart: How’s things goin’, business-wise? What’s the word?
Dobbs: Going great! Goin’ absolutely great at Fox Business.
Stewart: Oh, okay. But not the economy, you’re talking about Fox Business.
Dobbs: Well, no — well, I start there and then I work my way out.
Stewart: All right, fair enough.
Dobbs: The rest of the country, I think, is starting to do better.
Stewart: It is starting to do better.
Dobbs: I absolutely believe we reached a turning point last October, and I think we’re seeing things improve — slowly, gradually, not as much as we’d like, but —
Stewart: How will Fox Business News [sic] blame that on Obama? [audience cheers] Will it be difficult?
Dobbs: Now wait a minute! Jon, let me help just a little bit here in this.
Stewart: All right, fair enough.
Dobbs: The fact is that President Obama has all of his causal relationships already established; we just report the facts.
Stewart: Oh! Now, when did that start??
Dobbs: All I can speak for is what I do.
Stewart: No, I understand; it’s excellent work. How are you enjoying the Republican primary? It seems to have taken a terribly nasty turn over these past couple of debates.
Dobbs: Horrible turn, nasty. [pause, chuckles to himself] We love it.
Stewart: And you’re — you guys!! That’s terrible!
Dobbs: Come on, are you kidding me? A year ago, you tell me anybody who would’ve predicted that the Republican primary would be interesting, galvanizing, compelling, entertaining. Come on — I mean, this is really good stuff.
Stewart: But in the way that Fear Factor is. It’s not — there’s nobody emerging that feels statesmanlike. It’s more like, “Oh my god! He just ate a bull testicle!!” Like, it’s just not — it doesn’t feel —
Dobbs: I know that you would like — I know that you’d like to repair to something more PBS-like —
Dobbs: — in our politics, but it’s not going to happen. And what I love, and I think most Americans really do, Jon — and I think in a candid moment here, you might —
Stewart: You’re about to call me an American!!
Dobbs: I absolutely call you an American.
Stewart: Thank you!
Dobbs: I think that the great — [turns to audience] a great American! [audience cheers]
Stewart: [waves to the cheering crowd]
Dobbs: I truly believe those who don’t enjoy the rough-and-tumble — and it isn’t always pretty, and sometimes it is nasty — but our democracy works in the public arena, in which we can test ideas, principles, and values, and we come to a decision every 4 years for President. I think that’s a great thing.
Stewart: Here’s what I’m liking about the debates: they seem to be the only manner in which we can offset some of the big money that pours into these campaigns now —
Dobbs: I agree with you.
Stewart: — because the debates are somewhat democratizing, you know. Clearly, Romney has an enormous edge in spending, in Florida and everywhere else, whether it’s his money or friends of his money that they got —
Dobbs: — over whom he has no influence —
Stewart: — over whom he has no control. But the debates are in some way a democratizing element to that money, it would seem.
Dobbs: I agree with you 100%, and the fact — the facts kind of mitigate that a little, like when we look at President Obama, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Romney, and Gingrich, sometimes it eludes us that they’re all millionaires, so it gets to be a little, you know —
Stewart: Hasn’t it been interesting, though, to watch the millionaires going after the multi-multi-millionaires?
Dobbs: Yes. It’s a little like the way Obama goes after “billionaires and millionaires” when he wants to tax them, not understanding the order of magnitude difference between a millionaire and a billionaire.
Stewart: Right. Wait — what??
Stewart: — that they used very much on the 99% movement — the Occupy Wall Street movement —
Dobbs: Oh, yes.
Stewart: — when they —
Dobbs: Has that become a movement now?
Stewart: Oh, I think it’s a movement.
Dobbs: Because I haven’t been able to get a very good count, because the best I’ve seen is arrests running into about 3 to 4,000, but I haven’t been able to hear a real good count of what the movement is —
Stewart: I think it’s about, there’s probably around 320 million of ‘em.
Stewart: Yeah, in the 99%. [audience cheers] Here’s the thing: here’s what I believe it is. It’s funny: when you criticize multi-millionaires — and I’m one of ‘em, and God bless me — but when you criticize that, they say that that is somehow “anti-capitalist,” and I think what you’re [...] criticizing is [not] capitalism, what you’re criticizing is the idea that there’s almost like a wealth incumbency in this country. Let’s look at it in the way that incumbents get to Washington and then change the rules around to make it so that they get to stay in Washington as Congresspeople and Senators. I think the idea in the country is, very wealthy people have gerrymandered certain districts to create a wealth incumbency. Is that attacking capitalism, or is that attacking a perversion of capitalism?
Dobbs: No, actually, I think what you’re doing, you’re attacking federal judges in San Antonio, Texas, who went along with a redistricting plan for the entire state of Texas that the U.S. Supreme Court just had to overturn [PDF] because they were trying to create —
Stewart: You know I was creating a metaphor?
Dobbs: I know you were.
Stewart: But listen closely —
Dobbs: — and I was resorting to facts.
Stewart: No, no, no, no, no. But all they did was they said that a federal judge shouldn’t draw the districts himself.
Dobbs: Yeah, they really should. And they shouldn’t —
Stewart: They did say what the Republicans had done was unfair.
Dobbs: No, what the — no, no, no. What they said was that Democratic — that federal judges —
Stewart: Do you — in your heart, you believe that political parties change districts in a fair and measured way to help democracy and in no way do it to give one side an advantage?
Dobbs: No, not at all. What I do believe is, elections — as our President continues to remind us — have consequences, and that state legislatures, which are either Republican or Democrat, have that power and ability to redistrict and have done so.
Stewart: But don’t we have a responsibility when we see those consequences being used perversely to say, “Hey, man, that seems illegal”?
Dobbs: I think that’s what the Supreme Court just did with those judges who tried to apportion all of those districts in the state of Texas, not the 4 that were in question.
Stewart: Are they letting ’em keep, then, that districting map?
Dobbs: No, they’re not.
Stewart: Ahh! Because why? Why aren’t they letting them keep it?
Dobbs: Because the federal judges became activists and —
Stewart: No, no, no, why isn’t the Supreme Court letting ’em keep it? The Supreme Court is saying, “You’re right, but they have to redo the map, not you.”
Dobbs: No, what they said was, “You can only redraw 4 of the districts, and you have to use the legislature’s work product, and you can’t go to a full —
Stewart: How can you condescend to me when they said —
Dobbs: I’m not condesce—
Stewart: — there’s 4 districts they’re redoing?!?
Dobbs: Because they —
Stewart: There’s 4 they’re redoing!!!
Dobbs: Because they redistricted all of Texas!
Stewart: I know, and they redistricted all of it, and then they said, “Oh, and four of them are cheating”!
Dobbs: Well, four — well —
Stewart: “Well, it’s just four. It’s just four!”
Dobbs: What I think —
Stewart: That’s like saying, “I don’t mind capitalism, but I don’t like the idea that you get to take ‘carried interest’ at capital gains rates instead of 35%,” and you go, “Well, no, but most of the rules of capitalism are fair,” and going, “Yeah, but that one’s NOT!!”
Dobbs: No, but I’ve got a question. [audience cheers, Jon Stewart does a victory dance] Jon, forgive me for not being clear.
Stewart: [pointing to audience] This is not fair.
Dobbs: No, it is not fair, and I’m going to blunder ahead, no matter what.
Stewart: A judge should step in.
Dobbs: That’s right. And let me be the referee. The point being that those judges attempted to redraw all of the districts of the state of Texas —
Stewart: Right, when they should’ve only done four.
Dobbs: Four. Four. That was my point.
Stewart: Good case!
Dobbs: How do I end up defending 4 poorly drawn districts when my point was that they had no right to go beyond those 4?
Stewart: Oh, because your original point seemed to be that the federal judges were being “activist” in even getting involved —
Dobbs: They were! You may not —
Stewart: — I mean, in even getting involved.
Dobbs: You may not consider —
Stewart: In even getting involved.
Dobbs: No, not in getting involved —
Stewart: Well, there you go.
Dobbs: — but —
Stewart: So we agree?
Dobbs: — abusing their power.
Stewart: But it’s checks and balances, and then the Supreme Court went, “Actually, that’s too far” —
Dobbs: It’s checks and balances if they restrain themselves to the four districts in question; it’s abuse of power if they go beyond it.
Stewart: No, it’s checks and balances when another group steps in and goes, “Yeah, that was —”
Dobbs: The Supreme Court. Is that what you’re looking for?
Stewart: But that’s like saying, “Uh, yeah, this vaccine caused a problem,” then the FDA stepped in and said it’s a problem, and you’re, like, “See?” You’re like, “Yeah! That’s kinda how it’s supposed to go.” Isn’t it??
Dobbs: It’s —
Stewart: “They found a rat in a Subway and the health inspector shut it down,” and you’re, like, “Yeah, that’s his job.” Isn’t that —
Dobbs: As you said to begin this —
Dobbs: — it must be a metaphor, that alludes me.
Stewart: I don’t know what the hell just happened here, Dobbs, but let me tell you something. [gestures with his index finger]
Dobbs: Are you doing a [Arizona Governor Jan] Brewer?
Stewart: Say again? I am doing a Brewer.
Dobbs: You were, you were.
Stewart: Here’s the thing: don’t we have fun together?
Dobbs: We do, absolutely.
Stewart: Can I tell you what would be a hilarious movie?
Dobbs: I’m ready.
Stewart: You and me road trip to Mexico.
Dobbs: Yee-ha! You’re on.
Stewart: Lou Dobbs Tonight airs at Fox Business weeknights at 7:00; Lou Dobbs!