Stephen Colbert’s role in comedy is clear – dude’s a storied improviser, a former Daily Show correspondent, and host of the always wonderful Colbert Report on Comedy Central. But his role in politics is a bit murkier.
After forming the Colbert Super PAC this past summer, it hasn’t been clear how he’d position himself in the 2012 presidential race. The group’s first ad asked voters to write in “Rick Parry” rather than “Rick Perry” in the Ames Straw Poll, while the second showed corn in an uncomfortably sexual light. So it seemed at the start that the PAC was in the race to troll voters and inject a little humor into the otherwise stuffy political system. Fair enough. But, in light of a new editorial from Dr. Stephen T. Colbert himself in South Carolina’s The State, I get the feeling he’s not just in it for laughs.
The editorial describes how South Carolina’s state parties are so cash-strapped that they wouldn’t be able to fund the upcoming, very early, presidential primaries. So, being from South Carolina, Colbert was naturally concerned. He was so concerned that he called the GOP to offer $400,000 to be used to fund the primary.
Here was the catch: first, they’d have to name the primaries after him, naturally – “The Colbert Super PAC South Carolina Republican Primary.” The second condition involved putting a referendum on the ballot asking voters to weigh in on the recent, uber-controversial Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court decision that named corporations people where campaign contributions were concerned. South Carolina voters would be able to choose between “Corporations are people” and “Only people are people.” Easy call, in my opinion.
And the GOP agreed! Until the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that counties, not parties, would have to fund the primaries. That leaves counties having to front $500,000 for these primaries, which is a shit ton of money. And that leaves the corporate personhood referendum off the ballot.
Never fear, though – the South Carolina Democrats have requested reinstating the referendum on the primary ballots. And the Colbert Super PAC is still covering the $500,000 financial shortfall, in an act of supreme generosity.
Cross your fingers that the Democrats’ petition to reinstate the referendum goes through. Christmas miracle!