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Forum Post: It's to bad that none of our politicians are as smart as Steven Colbert

Posted 12 years ago on Jan. 20, 2012, 9:05 p.m. EST by demcapitalist (977)
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http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1119043--stephen-colbert-and-herman-cain-hold-rally-in-south-carolina By Mitch Potter Washington Bureau

CHARLESTON, S.C.—You know it’s not your day when 3,000 people are standing in front of you laughing hysterically and you’re the only one who doesn’t get the joke.

Or you should know, at least.

But not Herman Cain, bless his breathtakingly unironic soul.

There was Cain on Thursday, the former Republican front-runner who quit his bid for the presidency in December amid several too many allegations of sexual wrongdoing, not getting it to the very end.

Cain understood the blunt surface of it — he’s not running, but his name is still on the ballot for Saturday’s South Carolina primary. And TV comic Stephen Colbert wants to (tongue-in-cheek) “run,” but Colbert’s name is not on the ballot.

Therein lies the explanation for why Cain agreed to enter Colbert’s world as guest of honour at the “Rock You Like A Herman Cain” rally in Charleston. A bit of comic relief, a bit of TV face-time, show America you can “lighten up” and let the funnyman and his followers use your spot on the ballot.

So far, so good. Except nobody, apparently, sent Cain the satire memo informing him that Colbert is in the midst of what may well be the sharpest lampooning of the American political process this side of Mark Twain.

Colbert, a Charleston native, opened the outdoor rally with full gospel choir backing, belting out “This Little Light of Mine” followed by a close-harmony version of the “Star Spangled Banner.”

Then the faux-news pundit poured it on, taking the College of Charleston podium for an opening round of staccato one-liners for his adoring, college-age audience.

“Do you know that if you guess Ron Paul’s name, he has to teach you to spin hay into gold,” Colbert said. “The only difference between Mitt Romney and a statue of Mitt Romney is that the statue never changes position.”

The satire collapsed as Cain took the stage, launching into a by-rote rehash of his late-fall campaign stump speech. A nod to “We the people,” a shout-out to the Tea Party, a hat-tip to his 9-9-9 flat-tax agenda and suddenly this crowd was shifting restlessly.

The Colbert Nation, as fans are known, began to take the matter into their own hands, shouting out various suggestions as Cain flailed for a foothold. “Bring back Stephen Colbert,” one called out. “Occupy Herman Cain,” said another. “Pokémon!” shouted another still, in reference a minor sideshow from 2011, in which Cain mistakenly attributed his favourite inspirational quote to “a poet” instead of its actual source, the Pokémon movie.

Cain picked up on the last one, realizing this crowd wasn’t quite what he’d imagined, and tried to work with it — repeating the quote from the Pokémon anthem, “The Power of One.”

And then, perhaps exhausted of any other notion what to do next, Cain sang. Off-key and a cappella came a rendition of “Believe In Yourself” from The Wiz. This time it was the crowd’s turn not to get it.

Colbert mercifully returned, putting Cain out of his misery and ending with a flurry of jokes on the real target of his faux campaign: the limitless, undisclosed special-interest money that now drives U.S. election campaigns through so-called “super PACs,” or political action committees.

Colbert heaped fake praise on the U.S. Supreme Court for addressing the “tragic lack of influence by corporations” in its landmark 2010 Citizens United ruling, which paved the way for super PACs by deeming corporations to be people and therefore entitled to free speech in the form of unlimited political contributions.

“If corporations are people, then I’m a people person.” said Colbert. “I’m the Martin Luther King of corporate civil rights. I’m the Lockheed Martin Luther Burger King, you might say.”

And if corporations are truly people, said Colbert, then it follows that “government of those people, by those people and paid for by those people shall not perish from this Earth.”

Colbert’s crowd, who have long been in on the joke — having witnessed Colbert and his Comedy Central colleague Jon Stewart mock the process by creating their own campaign committees — left the rally laughing hard and shaking their heads at Cain’s utter lack of self-awareness.

“Colbert’s satire was spot-on. It was the perfect send-up of the mess our campaign system has become,” said Cookie Washington, a Charleston clothing designer.

“And it was just as amusing that Herman Cain didn’t get it at all. I just hope everyone else did,” Washington told the Star.

“It scares me to even say it, but sometimes we’re just a really stupid country. And it requires a certain level of awareness to understand just how funny — and how tragic — Colbert’s message really is.”



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[-] 1 points by alterorabolish1 (569) 12 years ago

"the sharpest lampooning of the American political process" describes how I feel about this issue. This info should be common knowledge to all Americans, but few are aware of it.

Jack Abramoff is revealing the process, but the outrage is minimal because so many get their only info, (news), from media that don't tell this story.

[-] 1 points by demcapitalist (977) 12 years ago

have you read his book? I haven't but I think it's great that someone who got caught up in the middle of a very immoral situation has written a tell all.

[-] 1 points by alterorabolish1 (569) 12 years ago

No, I haven't read his book. I am working 80 hrs a week trying to prevent my small business from failing but I've seen interviews with him. His description of the process was not attacked as untrue by anyone. Yet, outrage is minimal.

The Colbert superpac tries to put humor into the process, but so many people remain unaware that this is reality in America. When the masses learn how the process works, they will help us make changes.

[-] 1 points by demcapitalist (977) 12 years ago

I'm sure more people watch Colbert that the political stations. Outrage was minimal when LTCM blew up ----------it took the banks crashing for most of us to find out what was going on. GL with your business, tough time to make $ right now.

[-] 1 points by MonetizingDiscontent (1257) 12 years ago

~ G r e a t S t u f f ~ =)~

[-] 1 points by TimMcGraw (50) 12 years ago

go Romney!

[-] 1 points by Skippy2 (485) 12 years ago

"I approve this message", Timothy Leary

[-] 1 points by demcapitalist (977) 12 years ago


[-] 0 points by WooHoo (15) 12 years ago

If only we could somehow tap the hip, cool, we-get-it-dumb-people-don't power of this writer and the crowd who was there to ridicule Cain and adore Colbert.

[-] 1 points by demcapitalist (977) 12 years ago

It seems like everyone I know fits that category, and yet there's a whole group out there that knows very little about the real world, watches FOX and thinks what they are told to think.

[-] 1 points by AFarewellToKings (1486) 12 years ago

Quite easily done: Occupy the NYCGA. Maybe Colbert could lead on this.

[-] 0 points by cJessgo (729) from Port Jervis, PA 12 years ago

It's also bad none of them are funny anymore.