Stephen Colbert is arguably one of the funniest comedians on television today. His portrayal of a conservative, right wing political expert has kept his show relevant and has even put him in the running for the President of the United States of South Carolina. Let’s rewind a bit.
With the 2012 presidential election fast approaching, the Republican GOP race has continued to become more competitive than ever between the candidates. Super Political Action Committees, or Super PACs, are responsible for raising unlimited amounts of money from corporations, individuals and other groups. They then use that money to develop and air political advertisements attacking various candidates and portraying a respective candidate in a positive light. However, the Super PACs are restricted from coordinating with their endorsed candidates.
Naturally, these Super PACs have caused quite a stir in the Republican GOP race. An example of a Super PAC advertisement is this one, funded by Restore Our Future, the group supporting Mitt Romney’s candidacy.
Now let’s get back to the fun stuff. In June 2011, Colbert’s very own Super PAC, “Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow” was approved by the FEC. In August, his first advertisement was released, urging Iowans write in “Rick Parry” instead of voting for conservative candidate Rick Perry. On January 12, Colbert announced his candidacy for President of the United States of South Carolina, making him ineligible to run his Super PAC any longer. So, of course, he handed it over to fellow Comedy Central comedian Jon Stewart and renamed it “The Definitely Not Coordinating with Stephen Colbert Super PAC”. The following advertisements were then released in South Carolina, encouraging voters to not to vote for Mitt Romney in one and endorsing Herman Cain in another (it was too late for Colbert to add his name to the ballot, so Cain would have to do).
Although Colbert lost out to basically every other candidate in the South Carolina primary on Saturday, these Super PAC advertisements that mock candidates as well as the entire ridiculous notion of Super PACs are genius advertisements. Their dry and inadvertent humor reveal downfalls of the political system without directly pointing fingers. As I am sure the other candidates and heads of various Super PAC teams don’t appreciate Colbert’s mockery, I know I sure got a good laugh out of them.