Daily Show to mock religious arguments in Texas House speaker’s race
State Rep. Elliott Naishtat (D-Austin) says he was in on the joke while being interviewed by The Daily Show’s John Oliver. The late-night comedy program correspondent ventured to Austin this week to tape a segment poking fun of the religious undertones that transpired during the recent Texas House speaker race. The piece sought to highlight and mock the vociferous calls by the religious right to elect a conservative Christian speaker rather than state Rep. Joe Straus (R-San Antonio), who is Jewish.
“I am going to look like an idiot, and they are going to have fun at my expense…and that’s OK,” Naishtat said.
The back and forth between Naishtat and the political satirist lasted about 45 minutes in the representative’s office, with several intermittent retakes. While Oliver knew that Naishtat, a fan of the show, understood it was parody, he played along.
“They turn everything around on you, it’s hysterical. He would ask, ‘What was the problem with the speaker’s race? If I answered ‘they tried to inject religion into politics’ he would follow up with, ‘Why don’t you think there should be a Christian speaker?,” said Naishtat.
More seriously, Naishtat, who is Jewish, says he was excited that The Daily Show is drawing nationwide attention to the religious debate in Texas. Offended and angered at the “inappropriate” way the challenge to Speaker Straus was handled, Naishtat described Straus’ critics’ arguments as inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution.
He says the show, tentatively scheduled for next Thursday, initially planned to cover the speaker’s race for a segment in an earlier show but postponed the trip.