Colbert’s foray shows up the real clowns in the US circus
When talk show host Stephen Colbert announced his quasi-bid for the US presidency, he presented American voters with an embarrassing democratic dilemma: How were they going to tell the mock candidates from the real ones?
Lovers of fine farce will be familiar with Colbert’s work. His hallucinatory satire is so formidable it can be seen from space (where a NASA astronautical treadmill was recently named COLBERT in his honour).
On the off chance you aren’t a religious tuner innerer to the Comedy Channel at 7pm on weeknights, Colbert is the anchor for The Colbert Report. He’s a maniacal, semi-fictitious character who displays breathtaking audacity when it comes to speaking truthiness to power.
“Guys like us, we don’t pay attention to the polls,” Colbert said to George W. Bush at a 2006 White House gala. “We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in ‘reality’. And reality has a well-known liberal bias.”
The then president – who was sitting only metres away – didn’t look amused by his dinner speaker. Though perhaps this was because he really did think reality was something orchestrated by nefarious elites.
Anyway, this 21st Century-style jester has all manner of deadly serious sides. Which is what made his dabbling in the Republican presidential primaries so very interesting.
Colbert’s short-lived “exploratory” bid for candidacy was well-funded by the Definitely Not Coordinating With Stephen Colbert Super PAC (Political Action Committee) whose very existence offered a withering critique of America’s sleazy new political financing laws.
For a few surreal days, polls showed Colbert with a higher favorability rating than any of the actual Republican candidates.
Unfortunately, however, he’s just announced an end to his bid after a difficult weekend in South Carolina. (He couldn’t get his name on the ballot and failed at his attempt to convince the masses to vote for him by ticking the Herman Cain box.)
Even more depressing is the fact that the supposedly serious candidates are continuing to look more clownish by the day.
Mitt Romney’s cavalier dismissal of $374,000 in speaker’s fees as paltry pin money? Surely a slapstick send-up of a slash and burn venture capitalist.
And the vast chasm between Newt Gingrich’s traditional family values policies and his alleged swingtastic practices? If only it were a gag.
When a fake candidate looks more real than the real ones and the real candidates show less integrity than the fake one, democracy is in deep trouble.
President Colbert, come back. Your nation needs you.
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…