What do you think about Colbert’s presidential run? I will tweet the funniest retort.
Arena Asks: Comedian Stephen Colbert has taken credit for Republican candidate Jon Huntsman dropping out of the presidential race, declaring on “The Colbert Report” that his announcement last week to form an exploratory committee for president has “completely changed the complexion of this race.” Since the announcement, Colbert’s super PAC has already begun airing an anti-Mitt Romney ad, and on Monday night released another commercial urging Americans to “vote Herman Cain.”
Is Colbert’s work raising awareness about campaign finance and elections? Or is the entire thing a joke?
My Answer: Colbert is a joke with a purpose. The question is whether the purpose is realized.
Don’t get me wrong. I love political parody shows like Colbert and Stewart. It’s great that they engage so many people in thinking about the political issues of the day, calling attention to hypocrisy, skewering bloviators, and actually highlighting both the important public debates and arcane nonsense that only political junkies like those of us who write for The Arena care about.
Colbert and Stewart’s brilliant take down of Super PACS and independent expenditures this week is a case in point. After a good laugh, a viewer can feel self-righteous in opposing big, unaccountable money in politics. But then what?
Whether Colbert raises awareness or not, the danger is that people will think they’ve actually participated in the political process when in truth, they’re being passive observers, until and unless they get personally involved on the ground with candidates and issues.
Here’s the link to my original post on Politico…