Has the Time Come for Jon Stewart to Run for Office?

November 04, 2010

Multiple Pages
Has the Time Come for Jon Stewart to Run for Office?

Two large-scale rallies held the past few months in Washington, D.C., present an interesting contrast. Glenn Beck, an entertainer who poses as a political pundit, held a rally to “Restore Honor” in late August. Jon Stewart, a political pundit disguised as an entertainer, held a rally to “Restore Sanity” on October 30. Beck, who doesn’t shy away from theatrics, used his rally to restore his base’s honor and motivate them politically. Stewart, the entertainer, swung and missed at an opportunity to mobilize his followers toward a saner America—if only he hadn’t shied away from his politics.

Jon Stewart made the transition from a failed actor to a moderately successful stand-up comic to one of America’s most charismatic and influential figures. He’s a multimedia phenom who publishes best-selling books, appears on TV, has a multinational corporation hosting his interactive website, goes on speaking tours across the country, and hosted a weekend barbeque for hundreds of thousands of friends on the Capitol building’s front lawn.

According to one estimate, nearly 300,000 people showed up for Stewart’s event. It was poignant at times, had some nice sentiments, good musical guests, and yes, “The light at the end of the tunnel is just New Jersey” joke was very funny. But Stewart’s rally let down those who traveled, some across the country with money they didn’t have, to watch the progressive left’s de facto leader hosting what was essentially a variety show.

Jon—can I call you “Jon”?—here’s the thing: I was at the rally, and I want to let you in on a few important nuggets you seemed to overlook.

“Stewart, the entertainer, swung and missed at an opportunity to mobilize his followers toward a saner America—if only he hadn’t shied away from his politics.”

You are, whether you like it or not, a star of the free entertainment that is modern American politics. That army of progressives didn’t turn up for a song-and-dance number; they came to see you, this generation’s Edward R. Murrow, speak the truth about the state of our nation. Every night, they tune in to watch you make the country a saner place, and they want to know what they can do to help. They showed up because they thought you might have some answers. You didn’t. You didn’t even ask any questions. You didn’t even remind people to vote.

You see, Jon, liberals are desperate for someone with some balls to stand up and tell it like it is, what needs to be done, and how they need to do it. Democrats lost the House because no liberal politician is out there saying, “Yes, I am for this party—the one that is for progress, for keeping the globe healthy, for embracing inevitable change, and for accepting people from all walks of life because we are all immigrants in this country. We must provide people with safety nets because sometimes shit happens no matter how hard you try. We love our country, and we love capitalism. We are here to help, and we will fight for our beliefs or die trying.”

Modern American politics’ only tough, old-school Democrat is Rahm Emanuel, and he recently resigned because his party considered him too aggressive. Well, guess what, Dems? Fighting for your beliefs isn’t aggressive; it’s called having a backbone. And it’s how you win elections. And, Jon, you, sir, are the kind of man the country needs now more than ever. Because while what you say happens to be really funny, it also happens to be brawny, insightful, and true.

No one should be more cynical or fed-up with America than you, and yet no one loves it more. Every day, you pour through the mendacity and the incompetence, and every night, you’re on the air calling out the sycophants on both sides of the aisle, chiding the media to do their jobs better, and trying to get the public to see the light through all the darkness.

You’ve said you think you can do more good from a Comedy Central anchorman’s chair than a Senate seat, but that’s because you still think of yourself as Leibo, the little guy sticking it to The Man. Guess what? When you barely lift a finger and tens of thousands of people show up where and when you ask them to, you are The Man. And while Leibo might grapple with being the authority he’s always railed against, now that he has been named America’s most influential man by, maybe the time has come.

“Time for what?” you’re wondering. Well, Jon, I’ll explain it so maybe Leibo will understand. There’s a gig in 2012 for which you’d be perfect. You wouldn’t be replacing Leno or Letterman, but the job has three things going for it: It’s high-profile, anti-establishment, and rhymes with “turd farty mandidate.”

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