John Yoo Wins Battle of ‘The Daily Show’

Created: January 12, 2010 11:43 | Last updated: July 31, 2020 00:00

It’s a testament to Jon Stewart’s extraordinary abilities to speak sensibly in an age of insanity that we expect him to skewer knaves like John Yoo, the former Office of Legal Counsel torture advocate, who appeared on “The Daily Show” last night. Stewart has a great command of the facts and of his medium. Still, maybe it shouldn’t disappoint us to recognize that Yoo skillfully deflected most of Stewart’s assaults.

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Yoo’s being pretty disingenuous here. The [August 1, 2002 OLC memo on torture]( isn’t about perishable circumstances shortly after 9/11. It’s about the scope of executive power — and *exclusive, inherent* executive power. Yoo tells Stewart that Congress or the courts could rein in a rogue president on his conduct of a war. Yet his consistent view, as expressed in the memo, is that there’s pretty much nothing Congress can do during wartime short of cutting off funding, a politically extreme step.

Maybe people should give Yoo credit for picking his speaking venues.