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Stewart, Colbert: Isn't there a better way to restore sanity?

After two harrowing years watching hope diminish and the Tea Party rise, progressives, liberals and quite a few moderates are tired and feel powerless. So I get why they are latching on to Jon Stewart's and Stephen Colbert's real fake rally this weekend. But in the world of politics faking something real or taking seriously something fake or whatever is risky. I still think Stephen Colbert's testimony before a congressional hearing on immigration -- in character -- was a boneheaded idea and a distraction from the key issue. That's my fear about the upcoming rally.

StewartColbert.jpg

Anne Applebaum spoke for me in her column today when she made this lament.

I don't know about you, but my heart sank when I read about Jon Stewart's Million Moderate March, planned for the Mall next weekend. My heart sank further when I learned that liberal groups, lacking any better ideas, have decided to take this endeavor seriously. It's bad enough that the only way to drum up enthusiasm for a "Rally to Restore Sanity" is to make it into a television comedian's joke. But it's far worse that the "moderates" in attendance will have been bused in by Arianna Huffington and organized by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

According to The Post's story on Sunday, PETA and other groups are making "snarky signs in preparation" for the event. We've seen plenty of gasp-worthy signs at Tea Party events. I shudder to think what will pass for snarky on Saturday. If even one those posters goes over the line of propriety or taste Democrats shouldn't be surprised if/when Republican challengers in tight races across the country try to use it as a last-minute issue.

Perhaps I'm the one taking the Stewart-Colbert rally too seriously. Maybe I'm the one who needs to take a step back and just let whatever is going to happen on Tuesday happen. There is a train of thought out there that perhaps it wouldn't be so bad for President Obama if the GOP took over the House.

Still, in the last weekend before the pivotal midterm elections, I wish these folks would channel the energy and enthusiasm propelling them to Washington into knocking on doors and making phone calls to encourage Democrats to vote on Nov. 2. Instead of rallying on the Mall, they should be rallying the base in key states to ensure the House doesn't go to the very crowd that has frustrated them all these months. That's what Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner and his crowd will be doing.

By Jonathan Capehart  | October 26, 2010; 11:29 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

Just love the WaPo writers. Week after week after week, we get articles about small groups of tea partiers complaining about the government. Beck/Palin rally got complete coverage even though Beck is as nutty as you can get. Now another WaPo opinion piece worried about the Sanity Rally. WaPo editors must have made this a requirement for today's edition. We get it you and Applebaum are scared of everything. Get over it already. This rally is for all the people whose voices were not heard during the town halls and since the media was too busy covering tea party meetings at pizza shops. If you don't like it, don't come. The rally will go on without you.

Posted by: wmwilliams14 | October 26, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Stewart and Colbert do not work for you. The fact that you establishment democrats and progressives expect him to do your job pretty much sums up why you're blowing it.

You guys take after General McClellan, who despite massive advantages was so scared of the opposition that they ran circles around them. You are the ones who crumbled when they sent out crazy old seniors to yell at the health care town halls. And all you did was whine about Fox and the TP, instead of showing some backbone and leadership and going on the offensive yourselves. You dominate the world of progress and reform, yet you are incompetent. Now you expect satirists to do your work.

Posted by: ACD-pa | October 26, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Columns like this discourage me that the point of the rally (and Stewart/Colbert, in general) is being missed. Missed by PETA, who is definitely not "sane" in their message by throwing blood on fur and using naked models in their campaigns; missed by those who criticize Colbert's Congressional appearance (how many conversations about immigration were started around water coolers and message boards because of that appearance?); missed by this (and other) authors who think only "liberals" are going to the rally; and missed by those who think that a quarter of a million people gathering on the Mall and on basic cable television for 3 hours the weekend before an election is LESS effective than canvassing neighborhoods and phone banks.

The intent of the rally was never counter Glenn Beck, Tea-partiers, or Republicans. The point was to start a reasonable, compromising conversation on the issues and to get Americans to VOTE (regardless of agenda or affiliation) and have a reasonable and compromising conversation about issues.

Posted by: serendippy522 | October 26, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Apparently, the idea of rational people meeting to express support for a better America doesn't fit with the Tea Party driven narrative of WaPo and the other corporate MSM outlets.

Posted by: BBear1 | October 26, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

A snarky PETA sign might swing the election!! Call off the rally. Hurry, find a gun and shoot something. Brag about all of the taxes you cut. Find a soldier and praise him. Torture another prisoner. Quick, make fun of Sarah Palin and give her more clout she deserves (you're an expert on this one, Capehart).

Just another example of Democrats running scared and not developing any narrative that doesn't involve obvious pandering and moving to the so-called middle. I'm not going to say Democrats deserve to lose, but they certainly make it hard on themselves to win.

Posted by: andermark | October 26, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Is nasa shut down? Must be, all the rocket scientists are posting here.
Let me summarize. What i believe is 100% right. Anyone who does not believe as i do is 100% wrong, AND MUST BE DEMONIZED. or demoncRatized.

Vote early and often even if not registered. Get some black panthers to stop people voting. Worked before.

Where da one?

Posted by: pervleft | October 26, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

pervleft, you don't even realize what a bunch of contradictions are in your post. No one is demonizing Capeheart. We are simply telling him why we disagree with him. Then you go on to demonize the black panthers as if one story on Fox news defines this entire group.

People like you are the reason that the restore sanity rally is necessary. To show that there are Americans out there who don't hate our President, who don't hate the government and who want to find solutions to this country's problems that don't fit in sound bites. And more importantly we vote too.

Posted by: wmwilliams14 | October 26, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Knocking on doors? Community organizing?! Are you completely out of your mind?! The people attending this rally feel en mass that the Democrats owe THEM something, not the other way around. This is a huge popular event only because we feel so marginalized by fundamentalist hicks, and apologist Democrats who refuse to ridicule their silly viewpoints. We have literally no way to feel represented or get our point across, and this rally is the only thing bridging the enthusiasm gap. You have your choice between this or nothing, so don't knock it.

Posted by: sdbseth | October 26, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

For anyone who does not understand the reason Stewart organized this rally I suggest that they youtube his appearance on Crossfire. Or listen to the interview he did with Terri Gross on Fresh Air. Our media has largely abdicated its responsibility to uncover the truth; it's all a BS spin machine with pundits on the Left spouting their talking points at the pundits on the Right. And government is run by entrenched insiders who serve their corporate sponsors before worrying about the needs of their constituents.

This is a Howard Beale moment. Stewart gets it; Colbert gets it. It would be nice if those in the media could get it too.

Posted by: RosiesDad | October 26, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Applebaum's column was bad enough. Et tu, Capehart?

Don't you people get it? This rally is NOT about Stewart's or Colbert's political leanings. It is about the complete lack of civility in our political discourse. The fact that you and so many of the posters here and those who commented on Applebaum's column are simply taking the opportunity to heap yet more vitriol on the "other side" makes clear that someone needs to call for a return to civility. How can you have a serious debate with someone who call you a Nazi/Communist/Marxist/Socialist or with someone who calls you a racist/Nazi/fascist?

Perhaps PETA or some other group will use the rally to spew more vitriol -- I hope not. If they do, I hope those at the rally shout them down. It seems to me that the rally is calling for us to try to engage in a civil debate. I hope they do hand out signs, as Stewart joked on his show, that read, "I strongly disagree with you...but I am pretty certain you are not Hitler."

The problem with political discourse these days is that it has become all about "winning." The "other side" are the bad guys, and your side needs to do everything possible to "beat" them. This way of discourse is based on the false premise that the "other side" doesn't have the good of the country in mind. By and large, they are likely just as patriotic as you and want the same things you do. They may have a different view of how to get there, but that in no way makes their ideas "un-American" or socialist or communist or one step away from Nazism. For whatever reason, we have lost the ability to respect someone with an different view from ourselves.

It seems Capehart is guilty of that with this post. He seems to think that this rally should be about countering the Tea Party or somehow about helping the Democrats. Perhaps he is part of the problem here. This rally is not supposed to be about politics but about how we engage in discourse.

Frankly, there is no more important cause at this point in our history than trying to return to civility in our political debate.

Posted by: DM_Inf | October 26, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Applebaum's column was bad enough. Et tu, Capehart?

Don't you people get it? This rally is NOT about Stewart's or Colbert's political leanings. It is about the complete lack of civility in our political discourse. The fact that you and so many of the posters here and those who commented on Applebaum's column are simply taking the opportunity to heap yet more vitriol on the "other side" makes clear that someone needs to call for a return to civility. How can you have a serious debate with someone who call you a Nazi/Communist/Marxist/Socialist or with someone who calls you a racist/Nazi/fascist?

Perhaps PETA or some other group will use the rally to spew more vitriol -- I hope not. If they do, I hope those at the rally shout them down. It seems to me that the rally is calling for us to try to engage in a civil debate. I hope they do hand out signs, as Stewart joked on his show, that read, "I strongly disagree with you...but I am pretty certain you are not Hitler."

The problem with political discourse these days is that it has become all about "winning." The "other side" are the bad guys, and your side needs to do everything possible to "beat" them. This way of discourse is based on the false premise that the "other side" doesn't have the good of the country in mind. By and large, they are likely just as patriotic as you and want the same things you do. They may have a different view of how to get there, but that in no way makes their ideas "un-American" or socialist or communist or one step away from Nazism. For whatever reason, we have lost the ability to respect someone with an different view from ourselves.

It seems Capehart is guilty of that with this post. He seems to think that this rally should be about countering the Tea Party or somehow about helping the Democrats. Perhaps he is part of the problem here. This rally is not supposed to be about politics but about how we engage in discourse.

Frankly, there is no more important cause at this point in our history than trying to return to civility in our political debate.

Posted by: DM_Inf | October 26, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Capehart;

As Oscar Wilde said, seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow. And I think this country, in this election is plumbing the depths of its shallowness something fierce. Really. Did you see Glenn Beck? Did he not turn your stomach?

I can't wait to see Jon Stewart. I would suggest he run for President, but I know he's neither stupid nor morally compromised enough. Also, he's woefully deep.

Posted by: seabelly1 | October 26, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Capehart;

As Oscar Wilde said, seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow. And I think this country, in this election is plumbing the depths of its shallowness something fierce. Really. Did you see Glenn Beck? Did he not turn your stomach?

I can't wait to see Jon Stewart. I would suggest he run for President, but I know he's neither stupid nor morally compromised enough. Also, he's woefully deep.

Posted by: seabelly1 | October 26, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

As a conservative I wish you good luck in your rally. But let me just say: we are not fundamentalist nuts. We are worried about the excessive debt, loss of freedoms and lower quality of life. I don't want future generations to have a lower quality of life because we went crazy with entitlements in our generation.

I have been reading so many criticisms of us (conservatives and tea partiers) concerning our "hypocrisy” regarding Social Security, health care, etc. People say we want smaller government but are unwilling to make sacrifices, that we don’t care about others. But I wish you could see my fellow conservatives in action. They are volunteers at nursing homes, children’s shelters, pregnancy crisis hotlines; they are foster parents for abused children. Many are actually adoptive parents – and not of foreign children, but of troubled children right here at home. They also give generously of their money, and these are not only the wealthy people. In fact, most of us are just middle-class people of faith who are determined to put their faith in action.

They volunteered to go to Louisiana after Katrina to rebuild houses. They went to Haiti and helped build houses and hospitals. hey went to help in Tennessee after the flood. They took time off from their jobs to help. Those that couldn’t go sent money or supplies. As I said, these are generous people determined to live what they believe. And in our communities we surround each other when there’s a need: people who get sick, couples going through divorce, or loss of a loved one. All this is to say: we do care about people. We just do it personally, not through the government. And personally, I’ve learned by experience that I would rather be cared for by a loving friend than an impersonal bureaucrat. Anybody can write a check. But it takes real heart to put your life and time into someone else’s life. That’s real caring.

So, good luck with your rally and good luck on November 2nd. But afterwards, I pray we can come together and stop fighting and start working together to make our country work again. Let’s stop calling each other names and demonizing each other. Let’s stop attacking each other. Let’s stop destroying each other – especially people that can help others go back to work. Let’s help each other believe in ourselves again and in what makes us great. And remember: Americans have always been proactive, innovators, explorers, creators, winners. Americans want to be those things again. Let’s remember what made us a unique nation – a nation that made so many people want to come here from all over the world. We can be that nation again… if we all pull together.

Posted by: gloriagarza | October 26, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Gloria Garza;

Your post touched me. I, too, hope that whatever happens on November 2nd we can learn to work together. It encourages me so much to know that there are people like you out there who seem to be interested in more than wrestling power back and forth in an endless tug of war. I am not a conservative and I am not a tea party member, but I am an American and I am willing to work with you.

Posted by: seabelly1 | October 26, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I've already voted! And I heading to Washington DC to be a part of and support what I like to think is a message that extremist don't run this country yet.

There are a whole lot of of US who can read and make decision for ourselves who to vote for.

I hardly think these two comedians intention is to take over the world.


We will leave that for the new breed of "Reality Politician or Political Party" like Sarah Palin and the Tea Bagger express.

Posted by: Aword | October 26, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Stewart and colbert are Genious
I am for them in 2012...in any order.

www.celebrity-photos.com

Posted by: kingkongphoto | October 26, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps this could be the beginning of a national Kaizen where we could generate goals as to where "We the People" think this country should be 20, 50, and 100 years from now. It is difficult to select a good path when we don't have a destination.

Posted by: sundaug | October 26, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

On the contrary, Mr. Capehart, political satire has been known as an effective means of calling attention to issues since Aristophanes, over 2400 years ago. Since Benjamin Franklin (and probably before) in the U.S., political satire has been a wonderful way to get one's points across.

Posted by: fraidiecat | October 27, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

seabelly1; all,

after the election, we real TEA PARTIERS (rather than the INTENTIONALLY DISHONEST & PHONY stereotype of us, that is promoted by the washington COMpost, MSNBC, NPR, the NY SLIMES & the other leftist main-SLIME media types) will happily work with anyone, who wants our nation to prosper.

current members of our county's TEA PARTY group:
1. sponsored Katrina & Rita victims in their homes,
(some families stayed for 3 months or more, as they had no place else to go)
2. sent relief supplies to Haiti, Pakistan and many other places,
3. paid the expenses of & sent a young local physician to Haiti as a volunteer with Doctors Without Borders,
4. volunteered their time/money to many charities,
5. teach adult literacy & English as a Second Language to non-English speakers in our area
and
6. do hundreds of other volunteer tasks that help people.

COME & SEE us "terrible extremist tea-baggers" & you will find that you have been LIED TO & "PLAYED" by the leftist extremists & their friends in the media. ====> we CAN work together.

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | October 27, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Thank you so much Ms. Garza: Your post is exactly the sort of "sanity" that I'm going to the rally to support. (For what it's worth, I'll be carrying a sign that says, "I may question your beliefs, but I won't question your patriotism.") Sure, I'm in favor of more government support than you are, but what I think is so lacking in politics these days isn't honest disagreements about policy but the way they're discussed. Personally, I don't think individual help and government help have to be mutually exclusive. Lord knows one-on-one care is better than money from the government, but not everybody is lucky enough to get personal care from loving people like you. However, we need to find a balance if we don't want to completely wreck our country fiscally, and that's going to take sacrifices from individuals AND from all parts of the government (and I'd like to believe that many of my generation - the "Millenials" - feel the same way). But thank you for your works and your ideals.

Posted by: rj2835a | October 27, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I know this is an opinion piece, but since I'm seeing the word appear in serious news articles in the WP as well, could we please stop using the word "snarky"? While it's a fine word, it also carries with it a negative connotation, which amounts to editorializing when it is used in the news articles.

Posted by: kingpigeon | October 27, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Ya'll know these clowns work for a channel called COMEDY central, right? As in COMEDY, not um..... you know..... reality?? Although, it'd be nice if Glen Beck would move his show over there as well.

Posted by: Standardman | October 28, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

What seems to be misunderstood by Mr. Capehart is that the rally is not being held by real political operatives. Stewart and Colbert are comedians! Granted, a lot of folks, including Oprah and Arianna Huffington, are regarding the rally as professional politics. If you're Jon Stewart, are you going to turn them away? The rally is essentially a counterpoint to the absurdity of the Tea Party, and what is funnier than that crowd? Sure, the political beast in me, and the ones in Stewart and Colbert, know that the Tea Party is anything but funny, but we have to find the humor in life to help us get by. Jon Stewart practices this all the time. If we laugh at something, it becomes less menacing. And THERE is the serious subtext of this piece of street theater: "Lighten up, Francis." That so many people are attending and so many political observers are paying close attention to this rally is evidence that we are starving for a little levity.

How absurd has our culture become that a rally to "restore sanity" is comedic?

Posted by: markbeardslee | October 30, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

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