Surprise contender excites
I’ll just come right out and say it: I really hope Stephen Colbert goes through with this. It has been more than two weeks since Colbert’s words graced Maureen Dowd’s pages of the New York Times and enticed us all with his semi-joking desires to run for president.
A week ago, when Colbert went on the Daily Show, I nearly fell out of my seat laughing. Not because he came on the show and insulted Jon Stewart by saying that if he does decide to run he will announce it on a “more prestigious show.” Not even because he came on stage riding in carriage emblazoned in red, white and blue.
No, neither of those hilarious antics shocked me more than the way he broadcasted his official consideration on whether or not he will announce if he is considering running for president. That’s right; he went on national cable television to announce his official consideration on whether or not he will announce his consideration to run for president of the United States. Sound familiar? Sen. John McCain did the same thing earlier this year. We had to wait for months to see if McCain was finally going to hike up his pants and trudge into the long and boring process that is the U.S. presidential election.
In fact, it happens all too often. Announcing a run for presidency is always a show and a production. It’s as though there is an unwritten law that states candidates have to drag it out for months and grab everyone’s attention. At least Colbert made us wait only 30 minutes, when his own show started.
I understand it’s a big decision. Family is a large issue and the election process takes more than a year.
But let’s not forget the blanket question involved with Colbert ’08. Is a comedian fit to be president of the U.S.? We had a bad actor win 20 years ago and the former star of the film Cowboy from Brooklyn was even elected for a second term. So it’s not unheard of. Just imagine Colbertnomics.
An even bigger question is whether or not Colbert is really serious about this and how far is he willing to go? According to a report by the Washington Post, Joe Werner, the executive director of the South Carolina Democratic Party said Colbert has “credible people down here, working to have him placed on the ballot.”
Colbert said he plans to run only in his home state of South Carolina as both a Democrat and a Republican. His biggest platform: showing Georgia who grows more peaches. He spoke at the University of South Carolina on Monday and promised to “crush the state of Georgia.”
But will people vote for someone who makes a living mocking the supposed news program that is the O’Reilly Factor? I think one demographic in particular might: college-aged Americans.
More than 1.3 million people are supporting Colbert through a Facebook group called “One million strong for Stephen Colbert.” That’s 1.3 million people who have signed up in a little more than a week. I can’t even garner 20 hits a day on my blog.
Granted, this is social networking Web site we’re talking about, one where profiles are updated virtually every time someone uses the bathroom. But it’s a sign that the American youth is willing to actually stand behind someone.
You can shake your head and rub your eyes but this is reality. Stephen Colbert might get his name on the South Carolina presidential ballot and it will be the biggest mockery of the presidential election in history. And I’m just giddy about it.
If you’re as excited as I am, remember to believe your gut. Just like Colbert said during his White House Correspondents’ dinner speech, that gut has more nerve endings than your brain. Look it up.
Eric Smithers is a senior majoring in mass communications.