Taking Jon Stewart’s rally seriously

Jon Stewart keeps insisting that his “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” that he and Stephen Colbert are putting on next Saturday is not going to be a liberal or progressive partisan event.  It sounds designed to be more like a postmodernist-style meta-rally, a rally making fun of rallies.  And yet lots of liberals and progressives are taking it seriously.

Arianna Huffington is offering free transportation from New York to her Huffington Post minions.  Oprah Winfrey is paying for a bunch of her followers to be there.  The Democratic Club at the University of Pennsylvania is busing in college students.  People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals will be there in force. So will the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.  President Obama has been pushing the event and might show up.  More than 200,000 people have posted on Facebook that they will attend.

Never mind that the weekend before the Tuesday election is the most important time for actually campaigning for the people you want elected.  From the Washington Post:

Many conservatives have watched smugly as liberal activists have become caught up in a gathering that will probably resemble a circus more than it does a serious political event and that is taking place on a prime day for campaign volunteers to help get out the vote.

Brendan Steinhauser, spokesman for the “tea party”-affiliated Freedomworks, is a fan of Stewart’s show and recently appeared on “the Colbert Report,” but he said he will be in West Virginia on the day of the rally, knocking on doors for Senate candidate John Raese (R).

“I’d rather have as many liberals in D.C. that weekend as possible, because I don’t want them out doing the phone calls and get-out-the-vote,” Steinhauser said.

via For liberal groups, “Daily Show” rally on Mall, not just for laughs.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Tom Hering

    The Youth vote helped sweep Democrats into office in 2008. Stewart and Colbert are popular with young people. If their rally motivates the unmotivated among their fans, and gets them to the polls again on November 2, then that will matter more than any door-to-door efforts these young people would not have been involved in anyways. And the already-motivated ones who go to the rally will still go door-to-door on Sunday and Monday.

  • Tom Hering

    The Youth vote helped sweep Democrats into office in 2008. Stewart and Colbert are popular with young people. If their rally motivates the unmotivated among their fans, and gets them to the polls again on November 2, then that will matter more than any door-to-door efforts these young people would not have been involved in anyways. And the already-motivated ones who go to the rally will still go door-to-door on Sunday and Monday.

  • Kirk

    Well, the whole really is a parody of the Beck-Palin rally from back in August, and it makes sense that liberals would be more game for making a joke of the restoring honor event than conservatives would be. That being said, I know plenty of conservatives that love Stewart/Colbert and will be attending this rally. Most of them are from PHC.

  • Kirk

    Well, the whole really is a parody of the Beck-Palin rally from back in August, and it makes sense that liberals would be more game for making a joke of the restoring honor event than conservatives would be. That being said, I know plenty of conservatives that love Stewart/Colbert and will be attending this rally. Most of them are from PHC.

  • Nancy Noyes-Ward

    This Progressive won’t be in DC for the rally; although A ‘Rally to Restore Sanity’ sounds great! Oh, and our family WILL be out canvassing to get out the vote in KS and MO. We’ve been on the phones all week too.

  • Nancy Noyes-Ward

    This Progressive won’t be in DC for the rally; although A ‘Rally to Restore Sanity’ sounds great! Oh, and our family WILL be out canvassing to get out the vote in KS and MO. We’ve been on the phones all week too.

  • Carl Vehse

    And then there’s the question of whether there will be enough legally required porta-potties at the rally. The Marine Marathon, running the same weekend in DC, booked most of the available area portable toilets and will not let them be used by rally attendees (Semper Fi!). But after Larry King donated a single shiny new Porta-Potty on his show Wednesday as a gift to Jon Stewart (for private or communal use?) Stewart assures rally-goers there will be no potty problems:

    “We have been in contact with the Porta-Potty people. Right now they say they are ‘efforting’ Porta-Pottys. We will have toilets — they may not be enclosed. I guess what I’m saying is we will either have toilets, or we will have shovels.”

    Huh? Seriously? So they’re going to have people digging up the National Mall to deposit their… leftist political viewpoints?!?

  • Carl Vehse

    And then there’s the question of whether there will be enough legally required porta-potties at the rally. The Marine Marathon, running the same weekend in DC, booked most of the available area portable toilets and will not let them be used by rally attendees (Semper Fi!). But after Larry King donated a single shiny new Porta-Potty on his show Wednesday as a gift to Jon Stewart (for private or communal use?) Stewart assures rally-goers there will be no potty problems:

    “We have been in contact with the Porta-Potty people. Right now they say they are ‘efforting’ Porta-Pottys. We will have toilets — they may not be enclosed. I guess what I’m saying is we will either have toilets, or we will have shovels.”

    Huh? Seriously? So they’re going to have people digging up the National Mall to deposit their… leftist political viewpoints?!?

  • Tom Hering

    Carl, your last sentence was actually funny – for a change. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    Carl, your last sentence was actually funny – for a change. :-)

  • Porcell

    Jon Stewart and the liberals are running scared and, much like those in the capital markets when the conventional wisdom of the herd turns south, have become breast beaters for their lost positions; they are involved in staging a faux rally in a futile attempt to protect a rather weak position.

    The American people have finally caught on seriously to the bankrupt Democratic political class and its spineless Republican allies and are in the process of handing it a major defeat. The better of the Republicans, including Cantor, Ryan, McCarthy, Gingrich, and Romney have caught on to this and are allying more with the Tea Party types than the Republican establishment ones.

    Personally, I’m as delighted with the political climate now as when in 1979 Reagan blew Carter out of the water. Very likely, Obama shall prove Carter to have been comparatively a statesman. The American people despite all their faults are in the final analysis a shrewd bunch.

  • Porcell

    Jon Stewart and the liberals are running scared and, much like those in the capital markets when the conventional wisdom of the herd turns south, have become breast beaters for their lost positions; they are involved in staging a faux rally in a futile attempt to protect a rather weak position.

    The American people have finally caught on seriously to the bankrupt Democratic political class and its spineless Republican allies and are in the process of handing it a major defeat. The better of the Republicans, including Cantor, Ryan, McCarthy, Gingrich, and Romney have caught on to this and are allying more with the Tea Party types than the Republican establishment ones.

    Personally, I’m as delighted with the political climate now as when in 1979 Reagan blew Carter out of the water. Very likely, Obama shall prove Carter to have been comparatively a statesman. The American people despite all their faults are in the final analysis a shrewd bunch.

  • http://www.spaceagelutheran.blogspot.com/ SAL

    If these two entertainers can get a decent attendence it will be good for their careers. I wish them well. I certainly don’t begrudge their fans showing up in support.

    People with adult responsiblities are more likely to decide this election than the college kids though.

  • http://www.spaceagelutheran.blogspot.com/ SAL

    If these two entertainers can get a decent attendence it will be good for their careers. I wish them well. I certainly don’t begrudge their fans showing up in support.

    People with adult responsiblities are more likely to decide this election than the college kids though.

  • Dust

    Isn’t there a saying that would apply? something like “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”?

  • Dust

    Isn’t there a saying that would apply? something like “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”?

  • Bart

    Perhaps liberals take this so seriously because they don’t have a sense of humor?

  • Bart

    Perhaps liberals take this so seriously because they don’t have a sense of humor?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bart (@9), your comedic style indicates that you must be a conservative yourself.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bart (@9), your comedic style indicates that you must be a conservative yourself.

  • DonS

    This rally seems to be more about entertainment than politics. I don’t think it will have a noticeable impact on the election, either way. Hopefully, some funny material will come out of it, though it’s doubtful.

  • DonS

    This rally seems to be more about entertainment than politics. I don’t think it will have a noticeable impact on the election, either way. Hopefully, some funny material will come out of it, though it’s doubtful.

  • Dust

    Bart at 9…you are so right! Have you ever watched the Democratic National Convention? Like a bunch of church ladies from SNL, LOL!

  • Dust

    Bart at 9…you are so right! Have you ever watched the Democratic National Convention? Like a bunch of church ladies from SNL, LOL!

  • Tom Hering

    Re: Church ladies.

    Oh, I don’t know about that. What would make a conservative say such a naughty thing about Democrats? Well, let’s examine the words “Tea Party,” shall we?

    We have a “T” and an “E” and an “A.” Then we have a “P” and another “A,” and an “R” and another “T.” And last of all we have a “Y” – how convenient!

    Now, if we rearrange those letters just a teensy bit, what do we get? Yes, that’s right – A RAT TYPE. And that explains why a conservative would say such a thing.

    Isn’t that special?

  • Tom Hering

    Re: Church ladies.

    Oh, I don’t know about that. What would make a conservative say such a naughty thing about Democrats? Well, let’s examine the words “Tea Party,” shall we?

    We have a “T” and an “E” and an “A.” Then we have a “P” and another “A,” and an “R” and another “T.” And last of all we have a “Y” – how convenient!

    Now, if we rearrange those letters just a teensy bit, what do we get? Yes, that’s right – A RAT TYPE. And that explains why a conservative would say such a thing.

    Isn’t that special?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I believe it takes it certain kind of genius to accuse liberals of having no “sense of humor” in the same context as the Daily Show, but have at it. We’ll always have … P.J. O’Rourke? Victor Hanson? And all those other great right-wing comedians.

    In other news, Tom has only scratched the surface when it comes to anagrams. Everyone knows, of course, that “Tea Party Express” can be rearranged to spell “sexy Tartar peeps” (clearly referring to their infatuation with Muslims) or, in Olde Frenglish, “arrête ex-Papysts” (needs no explanation).

    But, perhaps more sinisterly, what does it mean that the more succinct “Tea Party” can be rearranged to spell “tarty ape” (presumably a reference to Mark Williams), “try a pâté” (elitism!) — or, even more darkly, “try a pate” (cannibalitism!) — or “att’y rape” (though this last one is usually euphemised as “screwing over fat-cat trial lawyers” in Tea Party literature)?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I believe it takes it certain kind of genius to accuse liberals of having no “sense of humor” in the same context as the Daily Show, but have at it. We’ll always have … P.J. O’Rourke? Victor Hanson? And all those other great right-wing comedians.

    In other news, Tom has only scratched the surface when it comes to anagrams. Everyone knows, of course, that “Tea Party Express” can be rearranged to spell “sexy Tartar peeps” (clearly referring to their infatuation with Muslims) or, in Olde Frenglish, “arrête ex-Papysts” (needs no explanation).

    But, perhaps more sinisterly, what does it mean that the more succinct “Tea Party” can be rearranged to spell “tarty ape” (presumably a reference to Mark Williams), “try a pâté” (elitism!) — or, even more darkly, “try a pate” (cannibalitism!) — or “att’y rape” (though this last one is usually euphemised as “screwing over fat-cat trial lawyers” in Tea Party literature)?

  • Kirk

    @8

    Perhaps you don’t understand satire?

  • Kirk

    @8

    Perhaps you don’t understand satire?

  • Bart

    We also shouldn’t forget that Aristophanes was one of the greatest conservative thinkers of all time.

  • Bart

    We also shouldn’t forget that Aristophanes was one of the greatest conservative thinkers of all time.

  • Tom Hering

    Historical figures are all too often understood in contemporary terms, and all too often used to support contemporary causes. This has happened to Aristophanes – in more ways than one over the years. Personally, I like the view that keeps his satires in context. They were written for the Athenian festivals, where an “anything goes” attitude reigned. And nothing was a more tempting target for satire – then, as now – than new and novel ideas and behaviors. To go from that fact to the conclusion that Aristophanes was a political conservative is quite a leap.

    Okay. That’s my one comment in a serious vein for the day. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    Historical figures are all too often understood in contemporary terms, and all too often used to support contemporary causes. This has happened to Aristophanes – in more ways than one over the years. Personally, I like the view that keeps his satires in context. They were written for the Athenian festivals, where an “anything goes” attitude reigned. And nothing was a more tempting target for satire – then, as now – than new and novel ideas and behaviors. To go from that fact to the conclusion that Aristophanes was a political conservative is quite a leap.

    Okay. That’s my one comment in a serious vein for the day. :-)

  • John C

    A ‘right-wing comedian’ is the perfect example of an oxymoron.

  • John C

    A ‘right-wing comedian’ is the perfect example of an oxymoron.

  • Bart

    I beg Russell Kirk’s “Virtue: Can it be Taught?” in response.

    http://www.mmisi.org/ma/26_3-4/kirk3.pdf

    I reject “right-wing” as a legitimate concept for true conservatism. However, conservative comedians are scattered throughout history, including but not limited to: Chaucer, Shakespeare, Luther, and Chesterton. Nearly every era of hubris and belief in progressivism of some kind has a figure who humiliates his audience with their smallness and re-orients them to their heritage and to propriety.

  • Bart

    I beg Russell Kirk’s “Virtue: Can it be Taught?” in response.

    http://www.mmisi.org/ma/26_3-4/kirk3.pdf

    I reject “right-wing” as a legitimate concept for true conservatism. However, conservative comedians are scattered throughout history, including but not limited to: Chaucer, Shakespeare, Luther, and Chesterton. Nearly every era of hubris and belief in progressivism of some kind has a figure who humiliates his audience with their smallness and re-orients them to their heritage and to propriety.


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