Stephen Colbert’s Super PAC Needs to Hit Both Sides

by on November 21st, 2010
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COMMENTARY | I would say that Stephen Colbert’s supposed candidacy as a Republican presidential hopeful and his creation of a super PAC led by his comic partner in crime Jon Stewart were pieces of comedic genius if they did not only poke fun at the Republican candidates. I’m hoping the reason for this is that the Republicans are the focus during the state primaries. But being a Colbert (and a Stewart) fan, I’m not holding my breath.

I Know Nothing!

Colbert drives home his point in his usually funny way by naming his new super PAC “The Definitely Not Coordinating With Stephen Colbert Super PAC.” The idea is absurd that candidates don’t know what their super PAC is doing. If this is what people learn from Colbert’s candidacy, I think Colbert is doing a great service for voters.

Candidate Buying

Because the super PACs are a new phenomenon, people should be made aware of what they are — a way to get around the PAC rules of campaign contribution limits. Super PACs not only don’t have any, they don’t have to disclose who their donors are. And the icing on the cake for the candidates is that they can direct (but pretend that they don’t) their super PAC to say any outrageous thing about another candidate and claim ignorance. (Colbert called Mitt Romney “Mitt the Ripper,” a serial killer, in one of his — I mean in one of his “super PAC’s” — ads.) After we laugh at Colbert’s presentation, we can become outraged at how dangerous super PACs are. If donors do not have to disclose how much money they give or who they are, how are we to know who is “buying” candidates? It could be a rich billionaire, a labor union, a special interest group or a corporation.

Democrats Too

I hope that Colbert and Stewart will continue their message with the Obama campaign; otherwise, a false picture could be painted that this is a Republican-only issue. Super PACs are not solely the domain of the Republican Party. Mitt Romney, a player in the super PAC game, probably summed it up best when he said, according to ABC News, “The heat we have in the kitchen right now is nothing compared to what’s going to happen with Obama’s hell’s kitchen.” The super PAC is a dangerous campaign tool that undoes all the campaign-finance reforms that were earlier achieved and is one that Democrats and Republicans equally embrace, right, Colbert?

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