Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Jon Stewart and insane voters

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. — Winston Churchill American voters have gone insane.

Jon Stewart and insane voters

Stephen Colbert (left) and Jon Stewart have revealed little about Rally to Restore Sanity.
Stephen Colbert (left) and Jon Stewart have revealed little about Rally to Restore Sanity. Getty Images

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
— Winston Churchill

American voters have gone insane.
 

At least that seemed to be the premise behind satirists Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” held Saturday on the National Mall in Washington.
 

The two Comedy Central network talk-show hosts tried to play down any seriousness of their event before it had actually occurred. But the rally’s title struck a chord with thousands who think there really is something crazy about the 2010 elections.
 

And yes, a lot of the wackiness can be traced to the ascension of the tea-party movement. But that doesn’t mean tea-partyers are the only ones acting like they need a dose of common sense.
 

On both sides of the Delaware River, Democratic candidates for Congress had to answer questions about their staffs trying to boost the campaigns of tea-party candidates in efforts to pull votes from a Republican.
 

While incumbent Rep. John Adler (D, N.J.) could at least deny knowing what his people were up to, State Rep. Bryan Lentz (D., Delaware) could not. He admitted his campaign helped tea-partyer Jim Schneller get enough petition signatures to get on the ballot.
 

It’s hard to see how anyone who is thinking clearly could aid even a spoiler’s role bid for election to Congress by Schneller, who, quite frankly, comes across as someone who has yet to meet a conspiracy theory he didn’t like.
 

Meanwhile, Adler’s people resorted to that same insane desperation move as poll after poll showed him trailing Republican Jon Runyan, a former Eagles player who has shown no ability to actually represent constituents.
 

But, as a new face in politics, Runyan represents change. And two years after the Obama election, that’s still what voters want. Polls suggest they don’t care that the change they are being offered is more of the same old stuff.
 

Rather than offering new ideas, most Republican/tea-party candidates are promising to take America back to where it was pre-Obama. Their common refrain is that the health-care reform law must be repealed. That’s crazy.
 

If anything, the law that will add more Americans to the ranks of the insured needs to be amended to do a better job of reducing health-care costs. But no repeal is required to accomplish that. Besides, any repeal would be vetoed by President Obama.
 

Republican/tea-party candidates don’t seem to care about that. They just want to be able to say they’re for repealing “Obamacare.”
 

It’s clear that they’re preparing for a continuation of the partisan rancor that has kept Congress mired in politics, to the detriment of the public good. That doesn’t make sense. But it doesn’t mean voters won’t buy it.
 

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The Inquirer Editorial Board's Say What? opinion blog showcases the work of the editors and writers who produce the newspaper's daily and Sunday opinion pages.

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