I don't watch much television, but I do smile to myself when I run across a clip someone has posted somewhere with Stephen Colbert in it. I enjoy his sense of humor, through the neo-Bill O'Reilly-esque character he created that has been his vehicle to fame. I even helped organize the local Rally to Keep Fear Alive (counter rally to the Rally for Sanity that John Stewart pushed for - sanity is so boring you know).
Most of all, what I like about Colbert is how he is able to focus on some of the most ridiculous aspects of our political system, and use them against themselves. His creation of a SuperPAC whose purpose is to highlight the worst aspects of SuperPACs is brilliant, and I'm not at all shocked that it has raised a small mountain of money. I hope that it raises tens of millions and is able to make fun of whatever junk the various political organizations come up with leading up to the election.
One of the major hurdles blocking the way of progress on issues like election reform is that people just plain aren't drawn to it as an issue. It's convoluted and wonky stuff, so having such a popular satirist put his ire towards it has been a great boon. Not only because his audience is exposed to the underside of how these organizations operate, but also because it gives reporters more of a reason to talk about it in a way that is much easier for less wonky types to ingest without their eyes glossing over.
Enter Colbert's latest
stunt stroke of genius. He announced that he was turning over control of his SuperPAC to fellow Comedy Central political satirist, Jon Stewart, so he would then be eligible to run for president. Talking about how our nation needed someone to restore it to its former glory, he had this to say:
“America, that someone is now. I am proud to announce that I am forming an exploratory committee to lay the groundwork for my possible candidacy for the president of the United States of South Carolina."
That's right. He's running to be the president of the United States of... South Carolina.
Sadly, and assuredly purposefully, the deadline to apply to be on the ballot in South Carolina has already passed. If he is going to run, it's going to have to be as a write-in. He made motions to do the same thing about four years ago, but also didn't make it on the ballot then.
This reminds me a bit of how I'd watch presidential election numbers come in when I was a kid with my parents, and would hear about people who would write Mickey Mouse in each year. Thousands of people, every year, saying to me that they saw the options they had back then as cartoons. Compared to Clinton vs. Bush senior, Obama and Romney certainly look seriously lacking. It's like a bad joke, to have as our two major options a president who has illustrated so clearly that he isn't up to the task of guiding our country through the times that we're in well, and someone like Mitt Romney who I can't imagine would do any better.
Is it enough of a joke that millions of people would vote for a comedian instead? I can't speak for the rest of the country, but the way things are going... I just might.