Some of the Obama jokes are actually bipartisan slams. Jimmy Fallon joked, "Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton are more mature than President Obama and John Boehner." This is the classic comedian's pose, and the safe one that all the politicians are ridiculous, squabbling poseurs. Still, it's every bit as much pandering to the public as the politicians are.
But some self-aggrandizing comedians are constantly stepping off the sidelines and attempting to participate in, not just ridicule but political campaigns, too. At least once a year, Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert professes to get serious about politics. He portrays himself as a pompous Bill O'Reilly clone. The pomposity is not just an act. He's engaged in a series of egotistical stunts to promote his own Nielsen ratings. Now he's thrown his hat into the Republican primary ring to be elected "President of South Carolina."
This is nothing new. In 1928, Will Rogers ran as the "bunkless candidate" of the Anti-Bunk Party. His only campaign promise was that, if elected, he would resign. When his name was seriously considered by voters, he wrote, "Now when that is done as a joke it is all right. But when it's done seriously, it's just pathetic."
Stephen Colbert is just pathetic.
Of course, Colbert isn't seriously running for president, any more than he was seriously testifying on migrant workers in that fiasco in front of the House Judiciary Committee in 2010. What, then, gives him the right to pontificate as if he were demanding that level of respect?
What makes these celebrities such bores is their pomposity. Witness Colbert and his comedic partner Jon Stewart holding a "Rally for Sanity" on the Saturday before the 2010 election, asking politicians and pundits to "take it down a notch for America." A series of protest signs were proposed such as "I disagree with you, but I'm pretty sure you're not Hitler."
In 2012, Colbert-for-President began with a satirical ad suggesting that if corporations were people then "Mitt Romney is a serial killer." The ad asked voters to "stop Mitt the Ripper before he kills again."
Naturally, Colbert would say he's just satirizing what super PACs do. But that's not true. He's aiming to do to Romney what Tina Fey did to Sarah Palin -- presenting the candidate as a politically toxic cartoon.
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