When Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert announced their sanity rallies, politicians on both sides of the aisle took notice.
And with the event taking place so close to a crucial midterm election, many wondered what impact it might have on voters. Would a disillusioned citizen suddenly decide they needed to have their voice heard? Would the people in the middle find a way to silence the extreme views of the far right and far left?
With the rally over, and some time to reflect, we ask - was sanity restored or did a whole lot of people just show up to see their favorite comedians and work political satire into funny Halloween costumes that swamped the Metro trains of D.C.?
CNN Contributor John Avalon said the point of the rally was simple - people don't want to be divided.
"The rally's size and enthusiasm was evidence of a growing demand for something different - an alternative to predictable talking points and the partisan spin cycle, a desire for humor and honesty, independence and integrity. It is both an opportunity and an obligation."
In a Politico.com article James Hohmann, Marin Cogan and Byron Tau answered the question about whether the rally would galvanize an unexcited Democratic youth movement in their second paragraph bluntly, with two words. "It didn't."
"The event, with the Capitol as the backdrop, was a comedic success ...," they wrote. "But Stewart’s decision to avoid explicit partisan politicking denied the left a kind of galvanizing moment that might have driven to the polls his Democratic fans who weren’t already planning to vote or motivated previously apathetic liberals to grass-roots activities ..."While Stewart may not have changed many minds, he also did nothing that might create a backlash to his brand as an entertainer or blow up on Democrats."
In a column for the Huffington Post, however, Russell Bishop argued there was plenty to learn from what Stewart and Colbert did.
"Perhaps it is time to supplant the Biblical statement that 'a child shall lead them' (Isaiah 11:6) with something more contemporary. How about 'two comedians shall lead them'? Here's a large dose of gratitude to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert for their inspiring civility lessons this weekend in Washington, D.C. Perhaps tapes of the event should be required viewing in civics classes these days?"
"My constant message is that even if you can't change the world, at least you can change yourself. If you can't change your circumstance, at least you can change how you respond," he wrote. "So, you can imagine how inspiring I found this rally to be: two comedians and some rock stars reminding us that life can be lived devoid of the nasty rhetoric that has become all too commonplace in what passes for discourse these days."
"The two comedians might be on to something, tapping into the feelings of the disaffected middle. There are moderates all over the world, yearning to express their 'moderation.' They can start with the Middle East."
"[Democrats] had reverted, actually, from the confidence leading up to Barack Obama's election to the very familiar panic they felt during George W. Bush's presidency," he wrote.
But he also echoed what many others said - regarding the event as a sea of mocking, crazy signs - with no real impact.
"If looking for 'crazy' or smug protesters was less easy at this rally than at a Tea Party, or at the August Glenn Beck rally that inspired Stewart, that's cold comfort for liberals. Those rallies had important ideological thrusts. Beck's rally spent two hours informing conservatives that if they wanted to dismantle the welfare state - and they had to - they had a network of churches and charities that they could rely on to help the aged and care for the sick. The ideology of 'Restoring Sanity' was liberalism with a killing dose of helplessness."
But then again, perhaps the media might not be the right people to ask about how the rally went. At least that's likely what Stewart would say himself. After all, the rally began with a fiery criticism of the media for creating and nurturing of extreme political views.
So we'll give you an alternative, the anti-media roundup from the always popular Auto-Tune the News.
Then tell us what you think. If you were at the rally, what did you take away from it, if anything? And what impact, if at all, do you think Stewart had on down-the-middle voters?