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Colbert's Campaign -- The Climax

From the Skeptic's Eye:

Scene 12:

Camera pans across hearing room, as Stephen Colbert takes his seat at a witness table, reporters scurry as we hear a gavel.

LENHARD: Please, please everybody come to order. Mr. Colbert, you understand the allegations made about the funding of your candidacy. We here at the FEC want to know why we should turn a blind eye to the immense aggregations of wealth of Comedy Central . . . indeed of Viacom. In truthi . . .

COLBERT (shouting): Truthiness? You can't HANDLE the truthiness!

Ben P (mail):
Comics as a whole, are generally a bit better than lawyers at coming up with clever comebacks.

Colbert could probably turn even senate hearings into a joke.
10.26.2007 10:51am
Goobermunch:
Ben, I think the politicians (on both sides) have already handled that quite admirably.

--G
10.26.2007 11:01am
Ben P (mail):
point taken

But Colbert hearings would be the amusing, ha ha joke, whereas real senate hearings are the depressing "I pay for this?" kind of joke.
10.26.2007 11:27am
DavidAWW (mail):
"Strike up the klezmer and start acting like a man! You're about to have a Truth Mitzvah."

The man SHOULD be president! ;)
10.26.2007 12:05pm
taney71:
I'm a bit upset over his ongoing joke. Many people including college level students think that he is actually running. When one has to argue with college level educated adults about whether or not this idiot is running for president then at some point you have to ask yourself if democracy is really the answer. Clearly I have doubts as to the capability of people to make informed judgments in a voting both. Does anyone else? Guess that is why public choice theory is so popular.

Laws do not distinguish between jokes and a real campaign. I hope someone informs him of that fact.
10.26.2007 12:28pm
Ben P (mail):

Many people including college level students think that he is actually running.


Presuming he actually gets on the ballot (because he can't run without being on the ballot, he would be "Actually running" Albiet for the limited purpose of getting one delegate at the convention.

Can we really say that someone is not "actually running" if they're on the ballot because they don't have the intention to win? By that measure any number of 3rd tier candidates aren't "actually running" because they know they have no chance of winning and are participating in the process to get their opinions heard.

I believe Colbert is doing the same, albiet doing so to air the opinion that what this process has turned into is worth openly mocking.
10.26.2007 12:39pm
EH (mail):

When one has to argue with college level educated adults about whether or not this idiot is running for president then at some point you have to ask yourself if democracy is really the answer.

Why is "democracy" the only criteria here? It's not Colbert's fault that people take him seriously and it says alot about the current electoral environment that they would. If the current Very Serious field is having to compete with a joke, then maybe the major candidates should rethink their strategy.
10.26.2007 12:50pm
DiverDan (mail):
I KNOW that he's running as a joke, but I might very well vote for him anyway, because, unlike all the other candidates out there, he INTENDS to be humorous. Unfortunately, the state of our politics (and the very poor state of the electorate) has turned the whole process into a very dark, and very depressing, joke.

Our founding fathers knew very well that representative democracy, in order to be successful, required an educated and knowledgeable electorate. The only way to turn this mess around is to reinstitute a meaningful literacy test as a prerequisite for suffrage.
10.26.2007 1:27pm
Orielbean (mail):
@Taney - lighten up Francis. America suffers from people not being involved in the election process, or even showing up to vote that one day out of four years. Engaging citizens to take up the torch of civic duty is not a bad thing. When enough people are involved, they can help to reshape a government that represents them in a meaningful way.

When we are disaffected and ignorant, the special interest groups of all stripes move in and rob us of representation. Colbert has some great lines and flops, like any competent entertainer. His satire has the side effect of keeping peoples' attention on the political arena. Nothing wrong with that.

The better question to ask of our young minds - why do they feel disconnected from the process? We don't force people to participate in town hall meetings or voting, and instead we fill up people with ideas of how to better spend their time, money, and effort.

We shove sports and greed and sex and every other sort of distraction onto people with endless marketing and manipulation, then wonder why co-eds could give a shit about 2 parties that look the same, act the same, and don't represent their core values. Who is to blame? Public education? Parents? The Media? We are all to blame.
10.26.2007 1:29pm
taney71:
Orielbean:

I disagree that voters cancel each other out and that special interests control who wins or policy. I believe more often than not people pick bad policies because they want to. Personally rational choice is a bad way to determine voter choice.

As for why democracy on the other post ... because I picked it as the measuring stick. You can use other criteria as well but that was a personal decision by me. Add to it the fact that democracy is the driving engine for our government you get a rather reasonable way to judge Colbert and voters.
10.26.2007 1:58pm
bittern (mail):

I have doubts as to the capability of people to make informed judgments in [] voting both. Does anyone else?

Yeah, to avoid making any judgment ("judge not lest . . ."), I always try to vote for both, like you say. Ha ha hee . . . tho' I have doubts as to the capability of the voting machine to accept my fair-minded votes.

lighten up Francis. America suffers. sports and greed and sex. We are all to blame.

We're light! We're light!
10.26.2007 1:59pm
TyrantLimaBean:
Colbert to 190!
10.26.2007 2:45pm
Just a thought:
Contrary to taney, I would think that Colbert running is actually a good thing for citizenship: it makes young people and people not normally interested in elections more interested in the political process. Hopefully by being more interested, these people will also learn something about the political process and become more informed.
10.26.2007 3:01pm
Lively:

Many people including college level students think that he is actually running. When one has to argue with college level educated adults about whether or not this idiot is running for president then at some point you have to ask yourself if democracy is really the answer.


I think young adults who are leaning Dem rather than Rep would be inclined to vote Colbert. I say let him keep running.
10.26.2007 5:08pm
Tom Bosworth (mail) (www):
Pat Paulson didn't bring down the Republic, and he would likely see the inside of a federal prison if he insisted on duplicating his runs for the presidency today.

Whatever one may think of individual aspects of current campaign law, the sum is ridiculous. Lest Byzantium fall, perhaps we should do a fair bit of pruning.

And yes, I do know what happens after a successful pruning. Let's not carry this too far!
10.26.2007 8:40pm
ScottVA:

Contrary to taney, I would think that Colbert running is actually a good thing for citizenship: it makes young people and people not normally interested in elections more interested in the political process. Hopefully by being more interested, these people will also learn something about the political process and become more informed.


No doubt the same people who think the Daily Show is the only real source of news out there--I recently graduated from college and there are a LOT of people who believe this. I find them in general even more apathetic and less knowledgeable about politics than others.
10.27.2007 5:14am
Murmur:
I find them in general even more apathetic and less knowledgeable about politics than others.

And your perception isn't reality. From The Atlantic Monthly:

The most knowledgeable Americans were those who got their news from the Web sites of major papers and those who watched programs like The Colbert Report or The Daily Show; they correctly answered 54 percent of the questions about current affairs, while regular viewers of local TV news and network morning shows got only about 35 percent right.
10.27.2007 1:38pm
ScottVA:
And your perception isn't reality. From The Atlantic Monthly:


You seem to have linked incorrectly, or the link changed, so I can't examine the article you mention, but I would comment that I would definitely fall into the category of "those who got their news from the Web sites of major papers" but NOT "those who watched programs like Colbert" ... it's not clear to me that these groups are linked, nor that the survey you cite attempted to make any distinction between the two.

In addition, nothing you cited makes any mention of whether such people are any less apathetic or likely to get involved in politics (or to vote!)

I'd be interested in the article if there's a working link though.
10.27.2007 3:55pm
frankcross (mail):
taney, what makes you so sure that you're the smart one and the voters are the dumb ones?

Well, suppose you are. Paul Krugman's surely smarter than you, in terms of raw brainpower. You want to put him in charge of government?
10.27.2007 9:38pm
David W. Hess (mail):
Our founding fathers knew very well that representative democracy, in order to be successful, required an educated and knowledgeable electorate.

What they did not know is the game theory behind plurality and why it is not sufficient for a representative democracy. An educated and knowledgeable electorate is irrelevant when faced with an artificially limited number of choices.

I believe Colbert is illustrating the problems inherent in patching a system that is flawed at a fundamental level. He would have my vote if I could give it.
10.28.2007 12:23am
davod (mail):
Just wait until his supporters start a write in campaign for all states.
10.28.2007 9:21pm