As the 'Rally to Restore Sanity' shows, America's liberals are increasingly turning to Jon Stewart as their most inspirational figure. Part of the reason is President Obama's declining political fortunes, but ultimately it is the left’s desire for civility that has turned a comedian into a political star.
Since Glenn Beck’s August “Rally to Restore Honor” produced an impressive turnout, the nation’s left has eagerly awaited an organized response. The unions tried to promote their “One Nation” rally in October as the answer to Mr. Beck, but the sparsely attended protest floundered in comparison.
The event that has instead entered the collective consciousness as the meaningful rejoinder to Beck is Jon Stewart’s coming “Rally to Restore Sanity.” With some 225,000 people pledging to attend on the rally’s Facebook page, it looks as though Mr. Stewart may out-mobilize both the unions, those traditional bastions of the Left, and Mr. Beck himself.
The Stewart mobilization phenomenon invites a difficult question for liberal Americans: Why is a comedian, a self-mocking joker, their most inspirational figure?
One reason is the decline of Barack Obama’s political star. The unifying personality of the 2008 election, who campaigned on hope and change in the disillusioned twilight of the Bush presidency, set expectations that were impossible to meet. Two years later, the country still faces high unemployment and relentless partisan bickering in Washington, elevating mistrust of politicians to new heights.
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