Maybe you love comedian and satirist Stephen Colbert for the same reasons I do. He’s smart, witty and incredibly calculated. He even makes politics interesting, which seems like a tough job to me.
He just wrote a book titled “I Am America (And So Can You!),” which leaps out at me with a cover image of Colbert’s face and a bold yellow title every time I walk into Barnes & Noble. I haven’t bought my copy yet . but I will, any day now.
Anyway, back to my point: Colbert is taking the world by storm. I grew to love him when he began his stint as an egotistical character on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” in 2005.
The parody of personality-driven political pundit programs (such as Fox’s “The O’Reilly Factor”) has a season pass on my TiVo, and frequently leads to many wasted (or well-invested) hours on YouTube.
So, you can imagine my excitement Oct. 16 when Colbert announced he would enter the presidential primary in South Carolina, “running as a favorite son” on both the Democratic and Republican tickets.
I wasn’t entirely surprised since much of the 2007 season of “The Colbert Report” has focused on Colbert’s character alluding to plans of running for president.
His announcement was made in a manner appropriate to his character, which he has described as a “well-intentioned, poorly-informed, high-status idiot.”
That fortuitous evening began with his appearance on “The Daily Show,” where Jon Stewart asked him if he planned to run for president. Colbert dodged the question.
“Tonight, I, Stephen Colbert, am officially announcing that I have decided to officially consider whether or not I will announce that I am running for president of the United States,” Colbert said.
About 20 minutes later on his own show, Colbert reminisced about his interview with Stewart. He then told audience members and viewers “that was a cagey answer.”
“Who knows what I will decide,” Colbert said. “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. I am doing it!”
Although I’m sure that nearly everyone in politics is praying that Colbert’s actions are merely antics that poke fun at the political process, he has certainly developed grassroots support quickly.
The Facebook group “1,000,000 Strong for Stephen T. Colbert” is reportedly the fastest growing group to reach 500,000 members in the history of Facebook. In about eight days, the group reached 1 million members.
Whether or not Colbert was serious, his intentions have made a ripple in the media in the days since. He made an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and has received media attention from numerous publications, including The New York Times and Editor & Publisher.
MSNBC’s “Live with Dan Abrams” reported on a national Democratic poll that showed Colbert at 2.3 percent, ahead of Bill Richardson and Dennis Kucinich, both at 2.1 percent.
It’s a relief to know that I’m not the only American out there who is pulling for him.
So what do I think of Colbert’s intention to seek the office of the president? It is a brilliant publicity move from the man who coined the term “truthiness.”
Laura Kasavan is a journalism senior and a reporter for the Mustang Daily.