Colbert v. Stewart: It’s On! 10.30.10

“I Disagree With You but I’m Pretty Sure You’re Not Hitler.”  

This is one of the posters promised when Jon Stewart made his “big announcement” last night. Stewart and the Daily Show will host the “Rally to Restore Sanity,” 10.30.10 on the Washington Mall. In a hilarious parody of Glenn Beck, Stewart urges moderates to join him for “a Million Moderate March,” suggesting that a small minority of Americans have taken the public discussion hostage because the “rest of us have s**t to do.” And that we should just step up and “take it down a notch for America.”  

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Rally to Restore Sanity
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Not to be outdone, Stephen Colbert appeared from the wings announcing his own competing rally: “The March to Keep Fear Alive.” For his part Colbert promises to “restore truthiness” but its pretty clear his goal is to out-do his arch rival Stewart.  

The whole scene was repeated on Colbert’s show where Stewart did his own walk-on while Colbert was extolling fear. “Now is not the time to take it down a notch; now is the time to freak out for freedom!”

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March to Keep Fear Alive
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Plans for both rallies seem rather fluid at the moment: Stewart said, “there might be special guests.” But whatever they do it will be clever; and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the thing take on a life of its own and draw a big crowd.  

Since the tea party sweep in this week’s primaries, pundits have pondered whether the far right character of the Republican nominees will make them unelectable; thus rescuing Democrats from what otherwise promises to be a very bad year.  

But no one anticipated the Rally to Restore Sanity or the March to Keep Fear Alive. Could the Comedy Central Duo make a difference? While the tea party crowd is overwhelmingly middle-aged the Stewart-Colbert fans are those younger potential voters considered crucial in the 2008 Presidential election. The dueling rallies, just days before the election, will attract a lot of attention from that younger crowd; it remains to be seen if Stewart and Colbert can get them to vote once they get back home.