Can't even describe how stoked I am to be able to write about Presidential Candidate Stephen Colbert. Colbert announced his candidacy on October 16th's episode of The Colbert Report; he already has corporate campaign sponsorship from Doritos -- very, very savvy, Doritos -- and the Donorschoose.org Straw Poll has Colbert as the top choice for President, with Obama second and Mike Gravel third. In other words, the man is not screwing around.
Colbert's bid for War Chief was covered intrepidly here by the Chicago Tribune. Obviously, the good people at the Tribune are not taking this seriously, and I think they damn well should be. The video clip compares Colbert to other joke candidates in the past -- at least I hope to every God conceived by humanity that the "Supreme Vermin" campaign was a joke -- and was apparently trying to demonstrate with their beat-on-the-street interviews that nobody really cares about Colbert.
Not so, says I.
For starters, maybe the clip would have been a little less biased if the reporter had not, presumably, staked herself out in front of the local AARP offices, and perhaps tried to interview a few people who weren't old enough to remember Lincoln's campaign; I have the utmost respect for the elderly, but I think it might have been a bit difficult to get an accurate read on society's pulse from the people featured in the clip -- considering they barely seemed to have pulses themselves.
Next: I'm not sure if it's willful denial or simple ignorance, but the Tribune seems to know as much about Colbert as did the poor schmuck who infamously set him loose at the 2006 White House Correspondents' Dinner--which is not much.
There are two lessons that everybody -- everybody -- in the media business should have learned from that massacre. First, Stephen Colbert is not some brainless jester with nothing to do but crack jokes: the man has an agenda. Second, he has the logistical means to carry out that agenda: unless the Correspondents' Dinner was a massive, epic, once-in-a-century fluke, Colbert obviously knows people who know people, and in politics, that's most of what you need. Third -- and I hate to sound sexist, but I know of no better metaphor -- the man has bulletproof cajones. My God, what must he have been thinking at that dinner: he stands up from his seat, walks past the President of the United States of America, moves to the podium not ten feet away, looks out at a sea of dignitaries and politicians, takes a deep breath -- and commences to unload a righteous hellfire barrage of thinly-veiled criticism, aimed at practically every breathing creature in the room, including -- especially -- the Most Powerful Man in the World, who is no doubt wishing he could give the word for the Secret Service to empty every weapon they have into Colbert's bespectacled frame and dump his body in the Potomac River. It was epic. It was Biblical. It damn near brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it. And if that is what Colbert is capable of -- if nothing else -- then nobody, not even the Tribune, had better be taking him lightly.
It goes beyond that. Not only does Colbert have an impressive pair of...
...values, he has an army backing him up. The "Colbert Nation" commands a substantial chunk of that delicious 18-to-24 age demographic, and many of them are rabidly loyal to Colbert: they almost got a bridge named after him, for God's sake. They'll carry him as close to the White House as he wants to go.
Everybody's always lamenting how college kids never participate in politics: what are they going to do if Colbert allows himself to win in the primaries? I know it's practically impossible, but it's worth wondering: what would happen if the 18-24s turned out in record numbers in 2008 and handed Colbert the popular vote? What would that say about our political system? Is it really that impossible?
I have the utmost respect for Colbert, but I hope to God this madness stops soon: if the rest of the world realizes it's possible for a comedian to be voted President of the United States, every nation of people who can hold so much as a tree branch will be scrambling to invade us. Canadians armed with chainsaws and broken maple syrup bottles will swarm over the northern border. Migrant workers turned sleeper-cell invaders will raise the Mexican flag over the entire Southwest. Greenlanders riding polar bears will conquer New England. Ithaca itself will surely be subjugated by gravity-defying Buddhist monks from Namgyal Monastery a la Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Mark my words: if Colbert succeeds, the nation will burn.