Thursday, August 11, 2011
Between the debt ceiling debate and the Republican primary, it's hard not to feel like the American political system has become a parody of itself. Thanks to Stephen Colbert, this may actually become true.
A Super PAC is a political action committee with the right to spend unlimited money on campaign ads and propaganda for or against any political candidates. Thanks to the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United, our electoral process is now more influenced than ever by shady, semi-anonymous corporate interests and fringe groups. If you don't think this is scary, not long ago - during the Wisconsin recall elections - the Koch Brothers' Americans for Prosperity group sent notices to Wisconsin Democrats about absentee ballots, helpfully reminding them to turn in their ballots on August 11. The only problem was, Election Day was August 9. This is just the beginning of the kind of voter suppression we can expect to see over the next few years.
As viewers of the show know, Mr. Colbert has started a Super PAC of his own. When he first announced this a while back, I thought it was funny, but I was confused when he actually went through with it. I couldn't possibly imagine the purpose of donating to this cause. I figured he would let this play out a little more and then donate the funds to charity and move on to skewer some other part of our political system. Instead, he used the funds to purchase television ad space in Iowa, where this advertisement is playing now.
Colbert has made a living, like most satirists, commenting on the political scene and twisting it through comedy. From the beginning, he took it a step further than many by creating a full time character that was the limit of moronic conservative punditry (was, until Glenn Beck came along). Now he has done something that I'm not sure any satirist has done before. He has become part of the system he is parodying, much more so than his short-lived bid for President in 2008. This isn't just satire. This is Gonzo satire (I can't help thinking that Hunter S. Thompson would love this). It is entirely possible that Rick Parry (with an A for America and IowA) could come out on top in the Ames Straw Poll, which has an inexplicable influence on primary elections. Given Colbert's influence, and ColbertPACs essentially unlimited funds, I would not be surprised if Rick Parry wins a few states in the upcoming primary. And I would love it if that happened. It may just take a joke for America to realize what a joke our democracy has become.
To become a member of Colbert Super PAC, go here: http://www.colbertsuperpac.com/