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Stephen Colbert is running for president... in South Carolina.
October 17, 2007 1:59 AM   Subscribe

Stephen Colbert is running for President. Seriously. Seriously.

It's in South Carolina and he's only running in the primaries... and okay yes, he's running as a Republican and a Democrat. But my god, this is cool shit.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth (91 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Now that would get me to vote. I was planning to abstain based on the current crop of candidates.
posted by mullingitover at 2:08 AM on October 17, 2007


He has so won.

Though it may be quite difficult for Jon Stewart to lampoon him when he wins.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:09 AM on October 17, 2007


I cannot forecast to you the action of Stephen Colbert, for he is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. But, perhaps, there is a key. And that key is Nielsen Media Research.
posted by stavrogin at 2:16 AM on October 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Effigy2000 writes "Though it may be quite difficult for Jon Stewart to lampoon him when he wins."

There will be no way to lampoon him. He will be unlampoonable. That's the beauty of it, he's still a journalist in some bizarre sense. He will be the first gonzo journalist President.
posted by mullingitover at 2:17 AM on October 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


I read the links and I think this fpp is a bit misleading with its claims of seriousness.

But, a hypocritical sunday school teacher who works for viacom? He could actually fit right in!
posted by finite at 2:20 AM on October 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm still voting Ron Paul. He makes me laugh harder.
posted by po at 2:21 AM on October 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


If only he were running unopposed! The things he could say!

"I enjoy cocaine because..."
"...it's a fun thing to do."
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 2:25 AM on October 17, 2007


This just gave me the inspirational notion that maybe Bush is actually some kind of Andy Kaufman-like comedian.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:26 AM on October 17, 2007 [14 favorites]


My 'Property of Colbert Nation' t-shirt has just doubled in value!
posted by shokod at 2:32 AM on October 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


"I've been participating in a charade for nearly eleven years, now. Quite frankly, I'm sick of it. You have all been a part of a sick joke that I began considering shortly after first getting on the air," said Ann Coulter's hacked website.
posted by finite at 2:37 AM on October 17, 2007 [7 favorites]


a hypocritical sunday school teacher

What has he done that is hypocritical?
posted by afu at 2:51 AM on October 17, 2007


My vote immediately goes to anyone who describes themselves as "deeply weird".
posted by maus at 2:59 AM on October 17, 2007


Here's a link for the torrent. I'm proud to be an American today! :)
posted by funkbrain at 3:02 AM on October 17, 2007


Also, I assert that sharing this news (by any means) is protected as fair use.
posted by funkbrain at 3:03 AM on October 17, 2007


Um, so he's just considering running, right? That's the impression I got from the linked articles anyway.
posted by sveskemus at 3:04 AM on October 17, 2007


"Um, so he's just selling his new book, right? That's the impression I got from the linked articles anyway."

Fixed that for you.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:16 AM on October 17, 2007


"Well, after nearly 15 minutes of soul-searching, I have heard the call. Nation: I shall seek the office of the President of the United States."
posted by funkbrain at 3:18 AM on October 17, 2007


"Who's going to be his running mate...Space Ghost?" -- Mr. pxe2000
posted by pxe2000 at 3:34 AM on October 17, 2007


RUN STEPHEN, RUN! RUN LIKE THE FUCKING WIND WITH YOUR BALLS ON FIRE!!



Err, I mean, maybe there's some hope for American politics yet.

*recalls the last time we had an actor for president*

No, sorry, were doomed.
posted by loquacious at 3:37 AM on October 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hell, I might have to try and find my voter registration card if this is true.
posted by maxwelton at 3:41 AM on October 17, 2007


I read the links and I think this fpp is a bit misleading with its claims of seriousness.

An actor turning into a successful* politician? It's been done before.

*As in winning elections, policy aside
posted by anarcation at 3:48 AM on October 17, 2007


At the least I hope he runs with this as far as possible. Getting Colbert into debates would make them watchable.
posted by mek at 3:56 AM on October 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


You're kidding...
posted by jouke at 3:58 AM on October 17, 2007


So if I vote for him, am I voting for the real Stephen Colbert, or the character?
posted by Plutor at 4:21 AM on October 17, 2007


What, am I the only one who finds Colbert's shtick totally, completely, unbearably tiresome?
posted by ghastlyfop at 4:27 AM on October 17, 2007


Oh God, it'll be just like that Robin Williams movie, only not sucky.
posted by Cookiebastard at 4:28 AM on October 17, 2007 [4 favorites]


ya know... I could vote for Jon.... but Colbert... not so much.....he doesn't impress me as being smart enough to be President...

or funny enough, for that matter... There will never be a moment of comedy as huge as the statement "Mission Accomplished!"...now THAT was funny....
posted by HuronBob at 4:33 AM on October 17, 2007


he doesn't impress me as being smart enough to be President

Well, I really don't think you guys have a very high standard in this respect. Being smart seems to be anti American these days. You a terrorist or something?
posted by twistedonion at 4:45 AM on October 17, 2007


This could be like Jesse Ventura's surprise win of the Minnesota governorship.

It would be interesting if he won, especially when I picture him acting in character at all public appearances and speeches, and then being "the real Stephen Colbert" behind the scenes.
posted by MegoSteve at 4:54 AM on October 17, 2007


Colbert/Colbert '08!
posted by crossoverman at 5:22 AM on October 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


anarcation, I was sure you were going to refer to this dude.

I take a back seat to no one in my adoration of Colbert -- which is why I desperately hope he is kidding.
posted by GrammarMoses at 5:26 AM on October 17, 2007


What, am I the only one who finds Colbert's shtick totally, completely, unbearably tiresome?

Yep, you pretty much nailed it, you're the only one.

he doesn't impress me as being smart enough to be President

Are you kidding? He'll probably the smartest guy in the race, even if it is a joke. Just watch him improv his way through an interview staying in character the whole time, it's amazing.
posted by JHarris at 5:28 AM on October 17, 2007 [4 favorites]


crossoverman: No way those two can put aside their differences for a full campaign season. That ticket is doomed.
posted by (parenthetic me) at 5:34 AM on October 17, 2007


I will vote for Stephen Colbert, provided he acts as president out of character.
posted by skryche at 5:46 AM on October 17, 2007


What do people think this is California? Next thing you know Pam Anderson and Doink the Clown will make a bid....
posted by Mastercheddaar at 5:47 AM on October 17, 2007


Prior art.
posted by mr vino at 5:48 AM on October 17, 2007


Instead of the Wikipedia article, you might enjoy this recent Vanity Fair profile. I liked this bit at the end:

"[The] character's not hard to drop. This guy, the guy who's talking to you right now, that's harder to drop. Being a writer and executive producer and the star requires a great deal of my focus...Letting go and not being the boss is much harder [at the end of the day] than letting go of my character.

"That's why I drive myself home at night," adds Colbert, who lives on a cul-de-sac in suburban Montclair, New Jersey. "The network would happily—they don't want me tired; they don't want me running off the road—they'd happily send me home in a car. But I'd work the entire way home, and I need more than the 30 seconds from the car to the front door to become a dad and a husband again. So I drive home and I crank my tunes. And by the time I get there, I'm normal again."

posted by mediareport at 5:51 AM on October 17, 2007


Settle down. There's no way that Colbert could win, even if he seriously ran. Don't get me wrong, I'd be cheering his antics and what not, but I'm already in the choir, along with most of you, and we don't have the numbers to get him elected. He'd need to convince the rest of the America to vote for him and I can't imagine people being smart enough to do that.

Still, I'd LOVE to see him in a debate with others, though they probably wouldn't let him anywhere near the building.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:57 AM on October 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


ya know... I could vote for Jon.... but Colbert... not so much.....he doesn't impress me as being smart enough to be President...

Are you kidding? Colbert (The real person) is obviously pretty damn smart. The character is quite stupid, intentionally, but I'm sure that if elected the policies would be pretty reasonable.

It's like "Dog whistle" politics to the Nth degree.
posted by delmoi at 6:01 AM on October 17, 2007


I'm going to defend my opinion of Colbert a bit, although I'm not convinced it is correct.

As I watch his "interviews" I see so many missed opportunitities for humor and/or important comment/satire/whatever. Yes, he stays in character, to the extent that the potential message is watered down or lost... I guess I just don't see that as "smart"...

Maybe I'm expecting too much....
posted by HuronBob at 6:25 AM on October 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Here's hoping he brings Amy Sedaris on the ticket.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:30 AM on October 17, 2007 [5 favorites]


What blows my mind about Colbert is how hard he obviously works at all this. I mean -- obviously, it's not all him and he's surrounded by a bunch of smart folks -- but to crank out a show as remarkably funny as Colbert's as consistently as they do it... yeah. Makes me feel like a slacker.

Anyway, he should draft Randy of the Redwoods as his running mate.
posted by ph00dz at 6:34 AM on October 17, 2007


Eh. I love Colbert, but a celebrity exploiting an election for marketing is a celebrity exploiting an election for marketing. He's deliberately not trying to actually be elected for anything, so yes, stick-up-ass blah blah blah and all that, but he's pretty much just wasting a lot of people's time to sell something.

I'll buy a copy of the book but I respect this about as much as I respected Gary Coleman running for governor. I'd respect him a lot more if he, you know, actually ran for office.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:36 AM on October 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


As I watch his "interviews" I see so many missed opportunitities for humor and/or important comment/satire/whatever. Yes, he stays in character, to the extent that the potential message is watered down or lost... I guess I just don't see that as "smart"...

He does have to walk a fine line between going for the joke and allowing his guests enough time to plug their book/film/agenda that they are willing to come on the show.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:37 AM on October 17, 2007


Given that he's only running in the South Carolina primaries, I don't think anyone (himself included) sees this as a serious bid. It would be interesting if he won the SC primary, but realistically, even that wouldn't give him any shot at gaining the nomination from any party for a national bid. It's actually quite a clever way for him to boost the show by simply keeping in character without actually doing anything that will cost him much in terms of time or money. More importantly (and this is where I think it's a clever move) he can do this while knowing he is not going to do anything that will actually adversely affect the national elections. A comedian running for president as a joke publicity stunt is only funny if it doesn't screw up the actual elections.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:58 AM on October 17, 2007


A comedian running for president as a joke publicity stunt is only funny if it doesn't screw up the actual elections.

This assumes the current crop of politicians take their jobs seriously.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:00 AM on October 17, 2007


Nobody remembers poor Pat Paulsen...
posted by MarshallPoe at 7:09 AM on October 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hey ... just a question ... but, if he is serious, doesn't he have to give up his show? Equal time, etc.?

If we have to choose between Pres. Colbert and the Colbert Report, I'd choose the comedy show (the one on cable, not the CNN/Fox coverage of real events).

We really need comedy right now (and will even more in the years to come).
posted by Surfurrus at 7:09 AM on October 17, 2007


A comedian running for president as a joke publicity stunt is only funny if it doesn't screw up the actual elections.

Define "screw up."
posted by Krrrlson at 7:14 AM on October 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


Surfurrus: "Hey ... just a question ... but, if he is serious, doesn't he have to give up his show? Equal time, etc.?"

Equal time doesn't apply to scheduled newscasts; does the Colbert Report count as one of those? I think so.
posted by infidelpants at 7:22 AM on October 17, 2007


Equal time doesn't apply to scheduled newscasts; does the Colbert Report count as one of those? I think so.

That's actually irrelevant; Equal Time simply doesn't apply to cable. It has nothing to do with the content of the program (they won't show Fred Thompson's episodes of Law & Order on NBC and they stopped showing Schwarzenegger and Ronald Reagan movies when they ran for governor).
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:25 AM on October 17, 2007


I believe XQUZYPHYR is correct: according to this wapo article, the rules do not apply to cable.
posted by frecklefaerie at 7:29 AM on October 17, 2007


This assumes the current crop of politicians take their jobs seriously.

I find them to be quite humorless about it, actually.

For example, many of them will get into irony-free dick-size contests as to how much we should expand Gitmo.
posted by sparkletone at 7:30 AM on October 17, 2007


Reminds me of the Rhinoceros Party of Canada.
posted by Totally Zanzibarin' Ya at 7:39 AM on October 17, 2007


Ah, this is pleasant news. I'm looking forward to the debates, and by debates I mean Colbert in a cage with Borat Sagdiyev and seven monkeys - FIGHT! And, what the heck, Margaret Thatcher. That's right, Maggie fucking Thatcher. Maybe an elephant, a donkey, it's a big fucking tent. All interspersed with short prepared vignettes by each candidate on the life and work of Magritte. And primaries! Lots of primaries! Red! Yellow! Blue! (Green is, of course, for pussies.)

Oh and wait... what's that?

This just in, during a rally in La La Land, Colbert just announced his running mate: it's a pink fucking unicorn!

*Cuts to commercial, loosens tie, takes sip from pocket flask with a picture of Dennis Kucinich on it*

God, I love politics.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:42 AM on October 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wikipedia entry on Stephen Colbert: 13 pages
Wikipedia entry on Virginia State Massacre: 11 pages.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:49 AM on October 17, 2007


So. AWESOME.
posted by contessa at 7:57 AM on October 17, 2007


XQUZYPHYR: "Equal Time simply doesn't apply to cable."
Ah, I suspected as much, but wasn't actually sure. Thanks!
posted by infidelpants at 8:02 AM on October 17, 2007


The 21st century's Pat Paulson.
posted by wfc123 at 8:33 AM on October 17, 2007


If I move to South Carolina today, I'll be able to vote, right?
posted by FeldBum at 8:55 AM on October 17, 2007


He's promoting a book satirizing a current presidential campaign strategy (Clinton, Obama, Giuliani, McCain book links), and -- maybe, heck, promoting his own book at the same time. Ok, and hopefully he's promoting some people's interest in our electoral process. All are fine and even laudable (the promotion is crafty!).

While I, too, would love to see a SC debate with him in it, I imagine things will have watered down by that point.

Thanks for the eyebrow raise this morning, Mr. Colbert. :)
posted by cavalier at 9:00 AM on October 17, 2007


I sure do hope this turns out to be a real run...
posted by noriyori at 9:03 AM on October 17, 2007


The 21st century's Pat Paulson.

Paulsen

Sorry to be so picky, picky, picky.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:03 AM on October 17, 2007


What, am I the only one who finds Colbert's shtick totally, completely, unbearably tiresome?

No, you're not. I got tired of his shtick after a month or two. Interviewed live about his work and his thoughts, though, he is an immensely intelligent and likable human being.
posted by kozad at 9:45 AM on October 17, 2007


I was happy to see this, if only because I really hope they let him into the debates. The idea that the candidates might have to argue against someone with a huge following, that doesn't have to stay on script is very appealing to me.
posted by quin at 10:00 AM on October 17, 2007


A comedian running for president as a joke publicity stunt is only funny if it doesn't screw up the actual elections.

How could Colbert screw up American elections any more than the real candidates or the system itself?
posted by tkchrist at 10:05 AM on October 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


It's too bad he couldn't (or wouldn't) do this for real, complete with getting on the ballot in all 50 states and so on. He'd run for the Republican nomination and lose, then run an an independent in the general. Just seeing him in the debates, taking insanely-hard-right stances on everything would be hilarious enough, but I'm dying to know how many insanely-hard-right real votes he'd siphon off from those who didn't get the joke. In other words, I have no problem with this "screwing up" the actual election, thanks.

What are the hurdles, really? He could get the signatures to get on the ballot, I'm sure, and someone would bankroll it, whether that's Comedy Central or his millions of fans donating a dollar each.

I know this won't happen. A guy can dream, though.
posted by rokusan at 10:28 AM on October 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


What's genius about this is that the run is constructed in such a way that he absolutely cannot win. However, the democratic primary is proportional representation, and the Republican primary allocates delegates to people who who win the primaries in individual congressional districts. Given that primary turnout is usually low, it seems like Colbert actually has a good chance of getting some delegates for each party's national convention.

Imagine Stephen Colbert attending a presidential convention as a participant rather than as a spectator. If he planned it this way the man is even more brilliant than I have suspected.
posted by Grimgrin at 10:37 AM on October 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Here's hoping that this year, candidates are chosen by their ability to dance, dance, dance.
posted by Gary at 10:59 AM on October 17, 2007


What, am I the only one who finds Colbert's shtick totally, completely, unbearably tiresome?

I don't quite feel that way, but I'm on the same road. Irony does wear thin fairly quickly. I'd so much rather watch Jon Stewart than Stephen Colbert.
posted by orange swan at 11:12 AM on October 17, 2007


His sort of thing used to mean something right? At one time when you saw a "Free Leonard Peltier" button, you could safely assume that maybe Leonard Peltier's freedom was worthy of consideration, but now one would probably assume he was some bimbo doing a mandatory minimum for driving while stupid.

Colbert by himself could really do some great satire by actually getting on a ballot and "running". But when Kathy Griffin, Ron Jeremy, and OJ Simpson decide to promote their book/reality show/defense strategy with some crappy [insert d-list celeb] for Prez t-shirts, the whole thing comes apart.
posted by billyfleetwood at 11:13 AM on October 17, 2007


I would love to see him run as an independent and Nader the Republicans.
posted by casarkos at 11:24 AM on October 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I hope he does actually run. If anything it will make debates and such more interesting.
posted by nickerbocker at 11:29 AM on October 17, 2007


Stephen's not doing this to sell his book. Stephen is doing this for the months of material this will give his show. He can lay out his policy, spend time on the campaign trail and then freak out and start issuing challenges to the eventual winners.
posted by Gary at 11:31 AM on October 17, 2007


This assumes the current crop of politicians take their jobs seriously.

This assumes we take the current crop of politicians seriously.
posted by ryoshu at 11:36 AM on October 17, 2007


Colbert is constantly living right on the edge of becoming completely tired-out to me. For one thing the whole "the word" segment had mostly caused as much funny as it was ever going to after about five episodes worth, and for another, the whole jokey "hey, look, I'm crassly promoting my book at every opportunity, wink, wink, isn't it funny, buy my book" thing actually comes off as really grating, shrill, and crass to me (but not terribly funny). Still, the guy is smart, really good on his feet and obviously has some of the best TV comedy writers around on his staff.

I do think it will be awesome if he actually does get into a real debate with some of the actual candidates. I can't exactly picture them agreeing to debate him, though, since there's not really anything to be gained by a serious contender by debating a comedian. Maybe some of the outliers would agree, though. A debate with him, Alan Keyes, Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich might actually be one of the funniest things ever on TV.
posted by whir at 11:56 AM on October 17, 2007


I think Grimgrin gets it right. Colbert isn't expecting to win, but I think he's hoping to get some delegates in both conventions, which sounds like fun to me.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 12:07 PM on October 17, 2007


I'd vote for Jon Stewart in a heartbeat. I can't stand Colbert, however.
posted by knave at 12:13 PM on October 17, 2007


He's running in the Primaries in South Carolina. It is absolutely, 100% impossible for him to win either the R or D nomination, let alone the actual election. That's the joke.
posted by Reggie Digest at 12:17 PM on October 17, 2007


I'd so much rather watch Jon Stewart than Stephen Colbert.

I'd so much rather watch Colbert than Stewart. Fortunately, we have them both.
posted by juiceCake at 12:19 PM on October 17, 2007


As both a Colbert fan and someone who grew up in South Carolina, let me just say that there is no possible way he will ever win the primary down there. Ever.


That said, I love this man. But he would not make a good president. Press Secretary? Absolutely! But I am not one to trust a comedian, no matter how intelligent and insightful, with control of our armed forces. I can't see him in the Sit Room making tough decisions.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:26 PM on October 17, 2007


I'm a South Carolinian. Assuming he wins some percentage of the primary vote, can I be a delegate at the Republican convention representing the Colbert Nation?
posted by ND¢ at 1:33 PM on October 17, 2007


Hopefully some of the debates will be structured as rap-offs, so that Colbert can relive his success in this medium on Whose Line Is It Anyway. Peace out!!!
posted by onlyconnect at 1:56 PM on October 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


“A comedian running for president as a joke publicity stunt is only funny if it doesn't screw up the actual elections.”

Given the state of the electoral system on the local level, I’d like to see as much “screwing up” of it as possible. There needs to be more attention on the system, the dems (who’ve betrayed us again*) seem to have lost interest in the whole diebold thing.
(*Not an endorsement of republicans there, since they’re the ones who allegedly benefited)

That aside, I think this is great. It’s pretty much exactly what I was talking about. Problem is, he’s only gone toe-in.
Two words - Write In.
“Yes, And...” the motherfucker. Ahmana talk to some folks, see if we can’t get something started to make him a viable candidate whether he likes it or not. Who’s the joke on now, Colbert?
There - you’re the president funny man. Deal with it!

That’d be pretty nifty all around. He gets stuck in a job he didn’t want. It’s a big FU to the whole system and the candidates who can’t protest without revealing how crooked and rigged the game is.

...I mean, a man can dream, can’t he?
posted by Smedleyman at 2:10 PM on October 17, 2007


So if I vote for him, am I voting for the real Stephen Colbert, or the character?

This is more or less the question I have about all the candidates.
posted by weston at 4:37 PM on October 17, 2007 [9 favorites]


But I am not one to trust a comedian, no matter how intelligent and insightful, with control of our armed forces. I can't see him in the Sit Room making tough decisions.

Even the worst comedian could not possibly fuck up your armed forces as badly as this past Administration has.

What, am I the only one who finds Colbert's shtick totally, completely, unbearably tiresome?

Roughly 295 000 000 people in the USA do not watch Colbert's show, presumably for those very reasons. Only one non-viewer, however, has come to MetaFilter to shit in this thread. Aren't you the special snowflake, ghastlyfop!
posted by five fresh fish at 8:39 PM on October 17, 2007


Stephen's not doing this to sell his book. Stephen is doing this for the months of material this will give his show. He can lay out his policy, spend time on the campaign trail and then freak out and start issuing challenges to the eventual winners.

This is correct, and it's fine. Actual, I think he's doing both. After his performance at the Press Dinner, he can do no wrong, in my eyes. I love Jon Stewart for his determination to be civil and smart and funny all at once, but I love Colbert for pushing things until, sometimes, they break. The schtick can be unfunny and can sometimes actually make me uncomfortable (particularly hearing people tell stories that some folks don't seem somehow to get that it is parody), but the line he walks between pretending nudge-wink to be a total douchbag and avoiding actually being one -- well, the skill with which he walks it impresses the hell out of me. He's a smart and funny and I believe (based on too little information to really make that kind of judgement, I know, but still) deeply ethical man.

This isn't a real candidacy, of course. Would that it were. But the more chaos and difficult truths he can sow through the American election pageant, the better.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:26 PM on October 17, 2007


But didn't Colbert explicitly endorse Dennis Kucinich for president?
posted by homunculus at 12:39 AM on October 18, 2007


Eh. I love Colbert, but a celebrity exploiting an election for marketing is a celebrity exploiting an election for marketing.

and this makes his bid different from other candidates ... how, exactly????
posted by CitizenD at 10:57 AM on October 18, 2007


The newly launched Daily Show site might provide some incriminating footage for the attack ads.
posted by Gary at 11:02 AM on October 18, 2007


Stephen is doing this for the months of material this will give his show.

I do think it's a bit of both, but evidence for this came as soon as last night's show!
posted by sparkletone at 11:17 AM on October 18, 2007


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