Jonah, I think your diagnosis of Stewart is quite right. And if he is looking to start making fun of liberals just a bit again, he couldn’t pick a better place to start than Paul Krugman. There is probably no easier target for satire than excessive self-regard, and Krugman’s sense of himself (and his willingness to wear it on his sleeve and engage in simply unbelievable expressions of self-congratulation) just beg to be popped.
Examples abound, but among my recent favorites is this little post on his blog just last week in which he explains why, despite the clamor for him to be secretary of the Treasury, he would rather not be. If you didn’t notice the clamor, you’re not alone. But Krugman noticed it, and felt the need to tell the world that while he can certainly understand why everyone would want him to be treasury secretary his current job is actually more important anyway:
So first of all, let’s talk frankly about the job I have. The New York Times isn’t just some newspaper somewhere, it’s the nation’s paper of record. As a result, being an op-ed columnist at the Times is a pretty big deal — one I’m immensely grateful to have been granted — and those who hold the position, if they know how to use it effectively, have a lot more influence on national debate than, say, most senators. Does anyone doubt that the White House pays attention to what I write?
No one doubts it, professor. No one doubts it.