Is Stephen Colbert going to single-handedly save the American political system? Or maybe the better question is this: does it take a comedian mocking the system to show just how broken it is?
In a word, yes.
On his show Thursday night, Colbert hinted he was running for president, announcing that he was “forming an exploratory committee to lay the groundwork for [his] possible candidacy for the presidency of the United States of South Carolina.”
You can imagine what came next. A flurry of Internet activity and questions about whether or not this was the logical next step of the Super PAC Colbert had set up. And it still might be. But before we get too excited about the idea of Colbert going head-to-head with Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in a debate, there are some procedural hurdles to clear. For starters, Colbert didn’t meet the deadline to get his name on the South Carolina ballot and there are no write-in candidates in South Carolina.
But that is not really the point. The entire Colbert campaign is about one thing, really, and that is to educate Americans on Super PAC’s. For the past several months Colbert and Trevor Potter, the former FEC chairman and Colbert’s acting attorney have been giving this country a desperately needed civics lesson in the funding of political campaigns, by creating, funding and running their own Super PAC.
The lesson from the Colbert experience to date is that really, the campaign finance system is so broken, so absurd, and so ridiculous that the only way to really expose it is through satire.
Photo from David Shankbone via flickr.