Jon Stewart became an icon telling jokes on "The Daily Show" that highlighted the absurdities of the American political system. But an online petition calling for Stewart -- who hosted his last episode on August 6 -- to moderate a major presidential debate before the election in 2016 is quite serious.
The Change.org petition was started two weeks back but began to go viral two days ago and is now rocketing toward its goal of a minimum of 200,000 signatures. It calls for one of the major debates held in the weeks leading up to the November 8, 2016, election to be hosted by Stewart, citing his experience interviewing political leaders and heads of state, his Peabody Award-winning coverage of the 2000 and 2004 elections, and a poll showing that 52 percent of respondents thought Stewart shared their "view of the world."
Of course, no amount of signatures on an online petition forces anyone to allow Jon Stewart to do anything, and has anyone asked the man if he even wants to do it?
Stewart has climbed out of his anchor's chair a few times in the past to get more directly involved in the political process. In the days before the 2010 midterm elections, he and Stephen Colbert co-hosted the "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear," attended by over 200,000 people on the National Mall in Washington, DC, with Stewart advocating for more sanity in political discourse.
Five years later, the discourse in the current presidential campaign would appear to indicate that any improved level of sanity Stewart helped generate that day has disappeared and perhaps it's about time that he brought a pot of fresh sanity over to our booth and poured us a refill.
But again, that's not up to me, or to Stewart, or to Change.org. The moderators for the three major debates put on by the Commission on Presidential Debates will be chosen by the commission, which is made up of former politicians, as well as academics, business people and a former journalist. They're the people the online petition is actually trying to reach.
Fortunately for Stewart's fans, there's still time to continue that lobbying effort, as we're still about a year out from when the commission usually announces its choice of moderators.
Heck, that might even be enough time to build a case for a certain former political reporter turned CraveCast host to moderate one of the debates...