comedians are corporations are people too

Stephen Colbert Is ‘Exploring’ Running for President

Stephen Colbert announced on Thursday night’s show that yessireebob, he is running for president! Again! That is to say, to bow to tradition, he’s exploring running for president, and spent basically the entire show minus the interview segment learning from his lawyer (and former Federal Election Commission chairman) Trevor Potter about the very uncomplicated exploratory process and how he might hand over control of his super PAC — which, by the way, is both the second and third results for “super pac” on Google — to someone else. That someone else being his close personal friend and “business partner” Jon Stewart. Ah, so that’s how both experienced ex-robbers and windbags from congressional obscurity get to be presidential candidates that people truly vote for and sometimes nurture into actual presidents.

Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow Super PAC, as it was known, will henceforth be called The Definitely Not Coordinating With Stephen Colbert Super PAC after Colbert handed over the fundraising machine to Stewart in an Incredible Hulk-like transfer of power. This was preceded by both Colbert and Stewart signing a one-page double-spaced document, which is apparently all it takes to start one of these things. The super PAC has been raising money since last summer. Colbert has declined to tell anyone how much. But suffice it to say it’s somewhere in the seven-figure range, because when Colbert wrote it down on a piece of paper, Stewart tried gleefully to lick the paper.

Some weird facts about all this! Colbert, who was also on the ballot in South Carolina in 2008, actually only said he’ll be running for “President of the United States of South Carolina,” his home state, and a place where a recent PPP poll shows him performing better than Jon Huntsman. ALSO, the former treasurer of the Colbert Super PAC, Salvatore Purpura, is now the treasurer for Rick Perry’s campaign (he jumped ship in August). Purpura also served in that capacity during George W. Bush’s reelection campaign and John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. AHHHHH, Stephen, you’re starting to scare us. But then that’s the idea.

Some of the super PAC money has gone to some pretty hilarious places — this ad urging people to vote for “Rick Parry” comes to mind — but it’s gone to some useful/educational/eye-opening places as well. From the New York Times Magazine’s recent profile of Colbert:

In October, Colbert offered the Republican Party in South Carolina $400,000 to defray the cost of the presidential primary there in January in return for naming rights — he wanted the ballots, the lanyards, the press credentials to say “The Stephen Colbert Super PAC South Carolina Primary” — and for a nonbinding referendum question that asked the voters to decide whether “corporations are people” or “only people are people.”

The only thing stopping Colbert in 2008 was lack of funds, and while there may already be a moneyed muffin doing a great job of attacking “the status quo” whilst making us laugh, it would be nice if the person attacking the status quo wasn’t also it itself. [Chicago Sun-Times]

About the author

Liz is a writer. She has written for this site, evidently, and also The Awl, The San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, The Economist and others. She is the author of a short story collection, Cover Story.

View all articles by Liz Colville
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          1. C_R_Eature

            You'll have to see VP Candidate Barb about that. I think I saw her going into the Argument Clinic.

        1. user-of-owls

          Sorry, my fabulous friend. You disqualified yourself from any and all Cabinet appointments in perpetuity by using the term, "respectfully."

          1. user-of-owls

            "Well ok, then, Mr. [peers over glasses] Queer. If you'll just have your manservant park that wheelbarrow of bullion over by that desk, I'll go print up your confirmation papers and you can be on your way to the Presidential Bathhouse. Won't take but a minute."

      1. MildMidwesterner

        As someone from "Flyover Country" who is not as privilaged as the East Coast intellectuals, may I be Secretary of the Inferior?

      2. FlownOver

        Ooh! Ooh! I dibs Director General of the Bureau of Early Bird Specials (formerly the Social Security Administration)!

        … that is, if it please you, ma'am.

      1. C_R_Eature

        Just so you know – You should be prepared to be called to testify before Congress's Itty-Bitty Tittie Committee.
        I think Don Young's on that one, sometimes.

          1. Barb

            You will be dubbed, Royal Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter and thigh-high black lace stockings and Prince of Snark.

    1. Dashboard Buddha

      satire…morality…ethics…fair play…honesty…open mindedness and on and on and on on on.

      There's so much lost on the GOP I'm surprised we can find it at all.

    1. a_pink_poodle

      He'll just Photoshop his head on a sex picture, no biggy. A gay sex picture if he's running as a Republican.

  1. Chillwillard

    I'm perfectly okay with this because:
    1. Just like with the other candidates, Wingnuts can't tell that he's not serious about running. The "Conservatives don't get Colbert" meme lives on.
    2. Colbert will likely end up taking votes away from Mittens.
    3. It will continue (even though they don't need Colbert for this) to show how ridiculous the GOP -and the Electoral system in general- really is.
    4. It will piss off the few "smart" Conservatives out there.
    5. All of 'em, Katie.

  2. memzilla

    …[Colbert] only said he’ll be running for “President of the United States of South Carolina"

    If Colbert runs for "President of the Confederacy of South Carolina," he'll win in a Klandslide.

      1. Preferred Customer

        Yet another reason to abolish the courts. Always getting in the way of kleptocracy, with their fancy rules and whatnot.

  3. Barb

    When Stephen was only 10 years-old, his dad and 2 brothers died in a plane crash.
    If you ever have a chance to see a taping of his show you will be richly rewarded with the time of your life. I've done it twice and he's so amazing that it will break your heart.

      1. Barb

        Liz, go to his website occasionally and tickets open up once a month. The audience is really small and the wait is fun. Stephen comes out and throws candy and "wrist strong" bracelets and will have a copy of his book "I Am America and So Can You" beneath your seat. He hangs around and will autograph it after the show

        1. Mojopo

          He does autographs? I love him more now. David Sedaris does, too. Either of these men could blow off book signings but they still reach reach out to their fans. That – to me – is classy. Love them forever.

      1. Barb

        They were both fun. I enjoyed donating to his Super PAC and seeing my name on the scroll at the bottom of the show. He was about to go on vacation and I was afraid we were going to have to wait and it appeared in the last 2 minutes of the show.

        1. Geminisunmars

          Colorado. Not so close. And travel is not possible at this time. So I shall continue to adore him (and you) from afar.

    1. paris biltong

      With all due respect, I'm a little taken aback by the apparent non sequitur in your comment. Did the fact that his dad and brothers died have something to do with your having the time of your life?

      1. Barb

        Well, since you asked this odd question. I am fascinated that a man who has known such heartache could be so funny, upbeat and positive. Too many people let their tragedies define them and they become bitter people who can't grow and develop because they are crippled by it.

        His family dying didn't add to my enjoyment.

        1. Dashboard_Jesus

          James Island (next to Charleston, SC) where Colbert grew up is right next to Johns Island where I've spent a bit of time over the years working on Habitat for Humanity homes…ironically (or something like that?) Johns Island is home to some of the poorest (black) folks in S.C. and also some of the richest (white) assholes in the USA…most of the poor blacks live in ramshackle huts/ cabins that look like they date from the plantation days and the 1% douchebags live in multi-million $$$ homes in the guarded, gated community known as Kiaweh Island with multiple golf courses and fancy shops for the assholes to fritter away their millions while impressing each other by driving around in Mercedes, Porsches and Rolls Royces…and the *funny* ting is that these rich white assholes HAVE to drive past all the poor black folks' shacks on their way from the airport to their luxury villas…my guess is that Stephen was astute enough at a young age to notice the disparity and inequality in his own back yard, his testimony in Congress was evidence of his compassion for the 'least of our brothers and sisters'…thanks for sharing, not only is he funny as hell but he seems like a really, REALLY decent human being…peace

          Stephen Colbert Speaks Up for Farm Workers as Himself

  4. SorosBot

    How dare Colbert make a mockery of our electoral system? That's supposed to be the job of the candidates themselves, oh and the Supreme Court!

  5. Oblios_Cap

    Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow Super PAC, as it was known, will henceforth be called The Definitely Not Coordinating With Stephen Colbert Super PAC after Colbert handed over the fundraising machine to Stewart in an Incredible Hulk-like transfer of power.

    That's so fucking awesome.

  6. Generation[redacted]

    The law, in its majestic equality, allows both rich and poor to anonymously donate unlimited amounts of money to a SuperPAC. Won't you anonymously donate $1 million, $5 million, or however many millions you can afford today?

      1. elviouslyqueer

        I'm pretty sure that Stephen's IQ, even when he's sleep deprived after embarking on a month-long mescaline binge, is well over the allowed maximum for Republican debates.


  7. Chet Kincaid

    Lazybones! If I wanted the blow-by-blow of what Stewart and Colbert said last night, I could just go to the water cooler. They're supposed to be stealing from Wonkette, not the other way around!

    1. PsycWench

      Or the Donald? Remember when everyone was getting wingnut erections at the thought of Donald Trump in the White House?

    2. SorosBot

      Or even those of Perry or Bachmann (although unlike Colbert and Cain those were unintentional jokes).

  8. elviouslyqueer

    Has suitcase full of unmarked bills? Check, check, and check.

    /shamelessly plagiarized from my comment on the Rick Perry post

  9. C_R_Eature

    I'm astounded that Steven Colbert's grand exercise in Culture-Jamming has gone this far and been so wildly successful. Conservatives really don't "get" Satire, do they?

    Steven Colbert/Pat Paulson 2012!

    1. proudgrampa

      "Conservatives really don't "get" Satire, do they?"

      My understanding is that there is a significant percentage of his audience that takes Colbert seriously.

      1. C_R_Eature

        Still? I'm sure it was damned near 100% of the Cons at first, but they have to be catching on by now. Don't they?

      2. MzNicky

        Colbert testifying before a Congressional subcommittee about migrant workers was astounding. The Repugnicants had no idea who he was or what to make of him. It was classic. Almost as good as the spanking he gave the media at the WH Press Club dinner that time.

      1. MissTaken

        What? You don't find "him" funny? On the Christie thread "he" made reference to Christie's weight, because it's high! Get it? Christie is fat! Ha…that's a knee slapper right there!

        Now marines should pee on Colbert! ha!

        1. SorosBot

          Some trolls can be funny, like the crazy conspiracy theory one we've had a few visits from who claimed most commenters are NSA robots. This though is just stupid.

          1. MissTaken

            That troll was awesome. I was sad when it left and took it's crazy conspiracy theories with it. They were fun to play with.

          2. SorosBot

            You never know, she? might show up again and bring the funny. I see from the profile that troll is also bringing the crazy to Breitbart; seeing one brand of crazy going against another is fun.

    1. C_R_Eature

      Also, the most prepared, most articulate and the best grasp on the issues of the day.

      Hilarious, in an appallingly sad way, isn't it?

  10. spinozasgod

    He is the only candidate willing to talk about the number one REAL problem in America…..BEARS!!!

  11. teebob2000

    OT but every time I see that "Iced Tea Shocker" sidebar ad, the pitcher of tea looks out of my peripheral vision like it's a brown woman's very nice round backside with her hand on her hip very sassy-like.

    Damn, I need to get laid.

  12. thefrontpage

    Here's today's exclusive exerpt from "The Bidens," an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the lives of Joe and Jill Biden at the Vice President's Office and the Vice President's House. "The Bidens," by Bob Steinwood, is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012, by Political Press, Washington, D.C., and the hardcover book is 496 pages, with a foreward by Rahm Emanuel, and with an initial cost of $29.95.

  13. thefrontpage

    Here's today's selection from "The Bidens:"

    The downstairs rooms at the Vice President's House were quite crowded for the Bidens' annual crazy Halloween party, which attracted all sorts of people from the political, business, entertainment, gay and lesbian, Hispanic and adult entertainment industry communities. At this particular party in 2010, Ron Jeremy, Jenna Jamison, Betty White, Mary Tyler Moore, Reese Witherspoon, Mark Foley, Don Sherwood, Larry Craig, John Kerry, several high-ranking members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Army and Navy secretaries, Larry Sabato, Mike O'Meara, Dave Elliott, Carol Channing, Jerry Lewis, Abe Vigoda, Eric Sheiffer, several House Members, and Liza Minnelli were all there. Rahm Emanuel was the guest of honor, and he came dressed like Eliot Ness in "The Untouchables."

  14. thefrontpage

    Joe and Jill were great hosts, and, having sent the Secret Service home for the night, they handled everything expertly, including taking care of coats, judging costumes, filling the apple-bobbing pan, keeping the liquor slide ice things stocked with vodka and tequlia, bartending, and making sure Wolfgang Puck was keeping a steady supply of deep-fried Oreos and pigs-in-a-blanket coming. The candy was donated by the Mars family, a longtime friend of the Bidens.

    "Honey, I can't believe Larry Craig and Mark Foley hit it off so well together! I think they're downstairs in the Chaney Dungeon!" Jill remarked to Joe about 11:30 p.m. "What's your favorite costume?'

    Joe looked around the party. There were about 300 people there–and so many great costumes! He noticed Carol Channing, who came dressed as Liza Minnelli. That was definately high on the list. But his favorite had to be Rep. Jerry Lewis, who came dressed as the entertainer Jerry Lewis.

  15. thefrontpage

    "Lewis as Lewis is my favorite!" Joe said. Jill agreed. "Yes, honey, that is quite the costume!" she exclaimed. "Please excuse me–I have to refill the tequlia and vodka at that ice slide thing in the garden."

    Later, Joe and Jill retired upstairs to go to sleep about 2 a.m. They did not partipate in the "keys party" in which everyone swapped wives and partners! "Those guys!" Joe said after Kerry passed around a wicker basket for everyone's keys. "They're so retro!"

  16. e_z

    When's the book tour?

    When do the Pseudo Psychos begin to bitch that the Cobert/Stewart Rally on the Mall was not really the non partisian event advertised but actually an illegal campaign event using undeclared monies?

  17. FakaktaSouth

    The thing that I love so much about Stephen Colbert, besides his being SOUTHERN AND SMART at the same time, is that by being both of these, he is so beautifully adept at perfect mockery. It is so wonderful to see a man so quick, so smart and so cutting by emulating what those of us considered "other" to the norm down here live with every single day. He knows exactly what to say off the cuff, because he heard it ALL the time, and he is using this experience for the good of us all. Love.

    1. sati_demise

      He also teaches Sunday School at church. I would love to be in that class, no doubt. And I am agnostic

  18. DahBoner

    "And according to a South Carolina news web site, the Palmetto Public Record, the super PAC is also reportedly “negotiating a substantial media buy in the Columbia market."

    What would be really cool would be if they could negotiate a media buy in the Colombia (with an O) market…


  19. PuglyDoRight

    After watching the segment, viewers now know exactly how ridiculous SuperPac rules are….just don't "coordinate"! If only CNN could explain the legalities so easily.

  20. Bonghits4Jesus

    Colbert got that referendum wrong. It should be, "Are people people, or are only corporations people?"

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