I catch The Colbert Report every once in a while, but after reading this article about Colbert's (real) Super PAC and the way he's using it as a kind of grand performance art experiment/exploration of our current political environment, I think I need to add him to the old DVR list. This is just brilliant:
In June, after petitioning the Federal Election Commission, he started his own super PAC — a real one, with real money. He has run TV ads, endorsed (sort of) the presidential candidacy of Buddy Roemer, the former governor of Louisiana, and almost succeeded in hijacking and renaming the Republican primary in South Carolina. “Basically, the F.E.C. gave me the license to create a killer robot,” Colbert said to me in October, and there are times now when the robot seems to be running the television show instead of the other way around.
“It’s bizarre,” remarked an admiring Jon Stewart, whose own program, “The Daily Show,” immediately precedes “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central and is where the Colbert character got his start. “Here is this fictional character who is now suddenly interacting in the real world. It’s so far up its own rear end,” he said, or words to that effect, “that you don’t know what to do except get high and sit in a room with a black light and a poster.”
In August, during the run-up to the Ames straw poll, some Iowans were baffled to turn on their TVs and see a commercial that featured shots of ruddy-cheeked farm families, an astronaut on the moon and an ear of hot buttered corn. It urged viewers to cast write-in votes for Rick Perry by spelling his name with an “a” — “for America.” A voice-over at the end announced that the commercial had been paid for by an organization called Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, which is the name of Colbert’s super PAC, an entity that, like any other super PAC, is entitled to raise and spend unlimited amounts of soft money in support of candidates as long as it doesn’t “coordinate” with them, whatever that means. Of such super-PAC efforts, Colbert said, “This is 100 percent legal and at least 10 percent ethical.”
I thought it was hilarious that all of Rick Perry’s votes in the Iowa Straw poll were write-ins with his name spelled with an “a” because of Colbert’s Super PAC. It makes you realize how much of an influence money has on the American political process.
This whole thing is probably the best way to expose how screwed up our political process right now. Of course someone could argue it’s not screwed up at all, but I’d argue that any time a group or person can have this kind of influence simply because they can marshal the resources to air almost unlimited ads it’s a bad thing.