Even the Washington Post is acknowledging the liberal Jon Stewart-Stephen Colbert rally is being adopted by leftists and Democrats as their rally. The headline in Sunday's news section was “For liberal groups, it's not just for laughs.” Washington Post reporter Sandhya Somashekhar found that the “million moderates march” lingo isn't going to match what's on the ground:
But some liberal groups are doing their best to adopt the rally as their own. Democratic clubs from colleges across the country are sending buses to the event, offering a seat in exchange for a few hours of volunteer time. President Obama, who seemed to talk up the rally at an event last month, is expected to appear on Stewart's "The Daily Show" just a few days before.
And when the Huffington Post's Arianna Huffington announced on the show that she would be offering free transportation to thousands of takers from New York City, she tried to cast herself and Stewart as collaborators in the progressive movement. "You work on the message," she told him. "I'll work on the logistics."
It was, of course, inevitable that a politically tinged event on the Mall three days before the midterm elections would turn, well, political. In a year when conservatives have been more enthusiastic, liberals were quick to view the rally as a call to arms - even if it is inspired by a man who has lately been skewering the Obama administration and who bluntly says he feels no allegiance to their political agenda.
That's because they're failing, not because he thinks they're too liberal. Stewart clearly feels they haven't been leftist enough. While “groups ranging from PETA to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws are preparing props and making snarky signs in preparation for the event,” the Post found conservatives “have watched smugly” as liberals spend their last Saturday at a comedy event. Democrats are trying to adopt the rally as a “fire them up” activity for young voters:
Most large, mainstream groups affiliated with the Democratic party, such as unions and Organizing for America, say that they do not plan to have any organized presence at the rally and that they are primarily focused on their get-out-the-vote efforts.
But they view it as a companion effort that could bolster their cause, especially among the young people who are Stewart's core audience and who were integral to the party's 2008 successes.
"This is basically the anti-tea party rally. It's saying, These people are absolutely crazy and we can't have them in the government," said Emma Ellman-Golan, president of the Democratic club at the University of Pennsylvania. The group is offering bus rides from Philadelphia to the rally for $15 apiece, but is providing $5 discounts to anyone who signs up to volunteer for Democratic campaigns in the state on Sunday.
The Post reporter even ended the story by noting tea party activists expect to be the targets of most of Stewart's jokes.
"Jon Stewart always tries to make it seem like he rises above it all, and that's not the case," said Jamie Radtke, a leading tea party organizer in Virginia. "He certainly has a point of view that's fairly strident."