Anne Applebaum has been unable to find a shred of humor in Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity—aka Million Moderate March—or the fact that Arianna Huffington and PETA are shepherding "moderates" there. The entire event spits on the word, she writes for the Washington Post, and it's a shining example of "how words, and then ideas, vanish from our political lexicon." These days, "moderate" is a synonym for "liberal" or "left-wing." Moderate Republicans have morphed into "closet lefties and potential traders."
Moderate Democrats are the new "conservative Democrats"—and "nobody pays attention to them either, unless, suddenly, one of them threatens to vote against health-care reform." And here's the problem with that: "We are condemned to cross-party compromise. Without it, our system doesn't work: That's what 'checks and balances' means." Politicians who prefer name-calling over cooperating are basically saying Hello, we have no interest in getting anything done. Applebaum concedes that the rally will likely be amusing; but for her, it's a "gloomy development." (Read more Rally to Restore Sanity stories.)