Politics are a funny business for many reasons. But one thing’s for sure, the candidates aren’t usually career comedians.
If you don’t know what a Super PAC is, let me tell you that they are frightening. A Super PAC can accept undisclosed amounts of money from anonymous donors to spend on the political candidate of its choosing. And they only have one real rule: Don’t coordinate with candidates.
Does it seem sketchy yet? It gets worse.This primary season alone, Super PACs have spent $35 million on campaign ads, and they’re only getting started.
The fact that Colbert, a comedian, could own a Super PAC, only shows how ridiculous the system really is. And the “Colbert Super PAC” (yes, he named it after himself) has been serving as an object lesson to explain the hilarity of the system to his viewers.
Let me tell you that I am not usually a funny writer, but I don’t even have to try to make what happened next entertaining.
Another poll stated that Colbert had a higher favorability score (36 percent) than any GOP candidate.
A third estimated that Colbert would get 13 percent of the vote in a popular election against Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
Three polls said Colbert had a better chance of becoming president than some actual presidential candidates.
So Colbert did the only sane thing a comedian in his position would do – create an exploratory committee to look into running for office … as the president of South Carolina.
The next week made for the most entertaining television, and best political satire, I have ever witnessed as Stewart and Colbert made sure not to break the only real rule governing candidates and their Super PACs: non-coordination.
They changed the name of the “Colbert Super PAC” to the “Definitely Not Coordinating with Stephen Colbert Super PAC.”
Stewart re-hired Colbert’s Super PAC staff to run the Super PAC and labeled their staffs with red and blue shirts. So no one could be confused, the red team wore blue T-shirts with green letters and the blue team wore red shirts with yellow letters.
They called their lawyer Trevor Potter to make sure they were still following the rules while they had a conversation about what ads were going to run in different South Carolina cities.
And it was all legal, no matter how ridiculous it became.
Sadly, the primary in South Carolina was a closed ballot. Which meant Colbert couldn’t get his own name on the ballot.
Then again, former candidate Herman Cain couldn’t get his name off of the ticket either.
So Colbert asked his followers to vote for Herman Cain to show their support of his potential campaign.
Cain even gave Colbert a ride to his “Rock me like a Herman Cain South Cain-olina Primary Rally” on his infamous tour bus. And Cain sang the Pokemon song he quoted in his farewell speech to the 3,500 attendees.
In the end, Stephen Colbert-Cain only received 1.1 percent of the vote in the South Carolina primary, which forced him to “re-suspend Herman Cain’s suspended campaign.” (Although, that 1 percent accounted for 6,324 votes, thousands more than Cain’s 45 votes in Iowa or 160 in New Hampshire.)
Regardless, Colbert never actually thought his fake bid for the presidency would work, no matter what the polls said, or how much some people wished it might.
But he managed to make his point during his Charleston, South Carolina rally very clear:
“The pundits have asked, ‘Is this all some joke?’ We’ve all heard it haven’t we?” he said. “If they are calling being allowed to form a Super PAC and collecting unlimited and untraceable amounts of money from individuals, unions and corporations; and spend that money on political ads and for personal enrichment; then surrender that Super PAC to one of my closest friends while I explore a run for office. If that is a joke, then they are saying our entire campaign finance system is a joke.”
The sad part is, Colbert wasn’t kidding. This is actually happening, candidates are toeing the line with their Super PACs and there’s very little the government can do to stop it.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t find that funny at all.