March 31, 2011; Source: Washington Post | If you go to the website of Stephen Colbert’s new Political Action Committee – ColbertPAC – you have to type in your e-mail address. Why? Who knows? Does it take you anywhere? No, because there’s no more content on the webpage than the front page asking for your e-mail address.
As our nation’s top political satirist, Colbert may be mocking not only the ubiquitous PACs, but the content of many websites. According to the Washington Post, ColbertPAC’s website features a graphic logo that is “eerily similar” to Tim Pawlenty’s Freedom First PAC logo. Is this a step toward running to be the Republicans’ (or Democrats’) candidate for President in 2012?
In 2008, Colbert ran a campaign of sorts aiming at both the Republican and Democratic primaries in South Carolina. His campaign Facebook page at the time had more than a million followers, suggesting he might have garnered a fair share of votes hadn’t the South Carolina authorities rejected his campaign as not serious (maybe because the campaign was sponsored by Doritos).
Could he run in 2012 as a Republican alternative to the current array of candidates? Palin’s poll numbers are plummeting, Huckabee seems to be channeling the birthers, Pawlenty and Daniels don’t seem to budge the polls, Romney has to explain away his Massachusetts health plan that looks a lot like Obama’s . . . Haley Barbour? Michelle Bachmann? Donald Trump? Colbert might have a shot.
His PAC and his affiliated nonprofits, whatever they might be now or in the future, would have to avoid cause-related marketing with the sponsors of “The Colbert Report” at a minimum, but of course Doritos could contribute to a Colbert-affiliated 501(c)(4) and keep the cash flow confidential per the Citizens United decision. In 2006, he declared his show’s theme to be “the truth unfiltered by rational argument”. Seems like he’s qualified to run.—Rick Cohen