It's "Fear!" v. "Simmer Down." Satirists Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert will hold competing and complimentary marches on Washington just days before the November elections, breaking the fourth wall and inserting themselves directly into the political debate in a way that might influence the November elections.
Appearing on each other's shows tonight, the two men portrayed the 10/30 marches as representing the true divide in American politics: Stewart's march is for people who want to "take it down a notch for America." Colbert's march is about "freaking out for fear," he said, because there are a lot of things to fear. Although Stewart's politics are left of center, his video montage of fear-mongers included Democrats who believe that President Bush was Hitler-esque and radical leftists who believe that 9/11 was an inside job.
Stewart and Colbert have disclaimed any interest in participating in politics. But the timing, and message, are undeniably political -- and not helpful to conservatives. Audiences for both shows tend to be younger and more liberal than the older, conservative independents who watch Fox News. The events were conceived as a response of sorts to Glenn Beck's recent "Restoring Honor" rally, which drew as much as 100,000 conservatives to the Washington mall on the anniversary of Marlin Luther King's historical speech. I'd imagine that these rallies will draw counter-rallies, and that smart conservative folks will try to incorporate them in a way that helps Republicans as well.