I realize this is probably childish and nihilistic, but I consider Stephen Colbert’s routine at the at the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner to be the political highlight of the past decade. I was surprised to learn that Colbert thought about taking it even farther and that Tony Snow and Antonin Scalia were complimentary about it:
Colbert disclosed that he did substantial self-editing upon looking at the president and discerning that he wasn’t ecstatic. He had planned to play off Medal of Freedom awards Bush had given former CIA Director George (“It’s a slam dunk”) Tenet and former Iraq administrator L. Paul Bremer; joshing about how Bush was clearly giving awards to everybody in sight.
“‘But nobody gives this man an award,'” Colbert recalled as the thrust of the riff he scrapped. “‘That ends tonight. I’m going to give the highest honor I can give….a certificate of presidency.'”
It would be akin to “something you get from The Learning Annex for taking a course. ‘I, Stephen Colbert, acknowledge…'” Colbert looked at Bush and said to himself, “I’m going nowhere near this.”
When the dinner was over, “I don’t think I’m dying. I go to sit down and nobody’s meeting my eye. Only [the late journalist-turned-White House spokesman] Tony Snow comes over and says I’m doing a great job.” Then Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia came his way and told him he was brilliant.