Oh Lord! I think a lot of us guessed this was coming, and it’s been a crazy media blitz ever since, so buckle up!
Thursday night was a momentous night for Stephen Colbert. After fretting about having to give up his Super PAC, which would be illegal for him to maintain control of should he decide to run for president, and the gold-encrusted shoes it buys, Colbert did the unthinkable: he signed over control of Americans For a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow a/k/a Colbert Super PAC, to Jon Stewart and announced that he is forming an exploratory committee to “run for President of the United States of South Carolina.”
The transfer of the Super PAC to Stewart makes Colbert’s run possible, and while most of us know this is a very elaborate, very expensive joke, it is a brilliant piece of educational entertainment that exposes and lays bare the absolute corruption of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which allows for unfettered, unlimited corporate cash, with no systems in place for accountability, to pour into our election process.
The ruling, handed down by the court in 2010, has muddied the waters and made possible an unprecedented level of corruption and fraud, which is what Stewart and Colbert are trying to highlight and educate the public on with this foray into the election. Everything they’re doing is completely legal, and identical to the practices of almost every other candidate and their “uncoordinated” Super PACs, as this exchange between Stewart, Colbert and the former head of the FEC, Trevor Potter, indicates:
STEWART: Can we do this? Because you and I are also business partners […]
COLBERT: Trevor, is being business partners a problem?
POTTER: Being business partners does not count as coordination, legally.
STEWART: Now that I have the Super PAC, can I run ads supporting Stephen Colbert, who I believe in very deeply, and perhaps attacking his potential opponents, who I don’t believe in at all?
POTTER: Yes, you can, as long as you do not “coordinate.”
COLBERT: Well, that’s interesting.
STEWART: Red flag! I am busy. Can I legally hire Stephen’s current Super PAC staff to produce these ads that will be in no way coordinated with Stephen?
POTTER: Yes – as long as they have no knowledge of Stephen’s plans.
COLBERT: OK, Jon, I guess you’d better leave, for fear that we would coordinate with each other…I cannot let you know my plans…From now on, I will just have to talk about my plans on my television show and just take the risk that you might watch it.
STEWART: I don’t even know when it’s on, 11:30 Monday through Thursday.
Of course, anyone with half a brain can immediately spot the obvious conflict of interest, which should prohibit Stewart from taking over the Super PAC, and the gaping loophole of “coordination,” because we all know that coordination between these two will be a given, although Stewart made certain to deny that in the Super PAC’s press release:
“I am excited to take the reins of this completely independent organization, and begin to air ads in South Carolina,” said New President and Noncommunication Director Jon Stewart. “But I want to be clear: Stephen and I have in no way worked out a series of morse-code blinks to convey information with each other on our respective shows.”
Right, just like Mitt Romney doesn’t relay instructions to his “uncoordinated” Super PAC, Restore Our Future, which was founded by his attorney. And Newt Gingrich’s Super PAC, Winning Our Future, founded by a former staffer, I’m sure never hears from him or his operatives. Rick Perry’s Super PAC, Make Us Great Again? Well, it’s just a coincidence that his chief strategist owns an island with the PAC’s founder, Perry’s former chief of staff.
It’s all very incestuous, and it’s all very murky and, I would guess, fraught with pernicious corruption, with untold amounts of money being spent to sway the electorate and God only knows what else.
Unfortunately, it’s all perfectly legal, even for Colbert and Stewart, and as the 2012 election gets closer, the ramifications of Citizens United are going to be felt across the country.
I guess we should be grateful we have these two jokesters, and what is now known as The Definitely Not Coordinating With Stephen Colbert Super PAC, to make us laugh along the way and explain to us just how corrupt our nation’s electoral process is becoming, and perhaps their efforts to educate people on the horrific, democracy-undermining Citizens United ruling will light a fire under the asses of the majority of the electorate, because this isn’t about right and left, it’s about right and wrong.
WATCH the Transfer of Power and Stephen’s announcement (story continues below):
Since Colbert’s announcement, both he and the Super PAC have spitballed the airwaves. ABC News is reporting that the (Definitely Not Coordinating With Stephen) Colbert Super PAC is gobbling up airtime in South Carolina in advance of the January 21st primaries:
ABC News has learned that the group is already buying up television air time in South Carolina. A source tracking ad buys in early primary states told ABC that the super PAC has purchased nearly $10,000 worth of time on a broadcast station in the Charleston, S.C. area between Jan. 15 and Jan. 19.
And according to a South Carolina news web site, the Palmetto Public Record, the super PAC is also reportedly “negotiating a substantial media buy in the Columbia market.”
On Saturday night, the PAC released its first ad, taking a vicious swipe at Mitt Romney, or as he may come to be known before it’s all over, Mitt the Ripper, accompanied by this statement from President For Life For Now, Jon Stewart:
“Mitt Romney claims to be pro-corporations,” said Jon Stewart, President of The Definitely Not Coordinated With Stephen Colbert Super PAC. “But would you let him date your daughter’s corporation? Americans have been clamoring for a comprehensive study of this crucial issue, so we splurged for the full sixty-second commercial. We think South Carolinians will agree – they deserve a leader who shares their state’s values, and perhaps even their state’s initials.”
WATCH Attack in B Minor for Strings (story continues below):
And on Sunday, Colbert showed up on This Week with George Stephanopoulos for a combative interview, where Colbert chided Stephanopoulos for trying to “force him into a campaign.”
It’s an exploratory committee, jerk!
“This is an exploratory! When you’re exploring you don’t know what you’re going to find! Just because something’s difficult, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be worth doing. You know, I’m exploring right now. I’m a one man Lewis and Clark, and I’m just looking for my Sacagawea.”
In the words of Stephen himself…
God Bless Citizens United!