Author Topic: Colbert is off the SC ballot  (Read 1407 times)

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Offline Sal Atticum

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Colbert is off the SC ballot
« on: November 02, 2007, 11:37:06 am »
November 1, 2007

South Carolina Democrats say no to Colbert

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) — The South Carolina Democratic Party voted Thursday to keep comedian Stephen Colbert's name off the Democratic Primary ballot, according to Executive Director Joe Werner.

This essentially means that Colbert’s short lived White House run in the Palmetto State will come to an end, because he has said that he would not try to be placed on the Republican Party primary ballot.

The state party's executive council met this afternoon in Columbia to decide which Democratic candidates met the criteria to be placed on the ballot. To be placed on the South Carolina ballot a candidate must demonstrate national viability as well as campaign in the state.

Colbert, who officially filed papers to get on the ballot this morning, lost a roll call vote, 13-3.

Meanwhile, presidential long shots, Rep. Dennis Kucinich and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, made the cut.

State Democratic Party Chairwoman Carol Fowler suggested Wednesday that Colbert does not meet the standard of national viability.

"He does not appear to be campaigning to win if he is only running in one state," she said.

Werner confirmed Thursday that viablity was the issue — because Colbert only sought to run in South Carolina and has essentially acknowledged his bid was a joke, the party could not deem him viable.

– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

A darker article on what Colbert being taken seriously means for all of us:
Are we Colbert's punch line?
Will Rogers in '32, Pat Paulson in '68, and now Colbert -- dark-comic candidates tend to pop up in grim times.
November 1, 2007

Desperate times require desperate candidates. How do you gauge national desperation? Stephen Colbert is polling in double digits.

For you cable-free readers, comedian Colbert's "The Colbert Report" stars the real Colbert as the character Colbert in a deadpan send-up of the bumptious, righter-than-thou malarkey merchants of cable TV news.

Colbert (the character) announced he'd run for president in his home-state primary in South Carolina. A national poll by Rasmussen Reports and Fox News, the cable channel populated by the bully boys Colbert parodies, put him at 12% against Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani. More than a million Facebook members have signed on for Colbert.

The real candidates, some of whom poll below Colbert, are trying to go along with the joke without becoming the butt of it. Is this guy funny or frightening?

Film and fiction love putting unlikely characters into the Oval Office. Over the years, we've seen black men as president (James Earl Jones and Chris Rock), women (Geena Davis and Polly Bergen), a genial look-alike (Kevin Kline) and a late-night political comedian (Robin Williams). They all test democracy in our imaginations by placing unexpected figures in the job and checking to see whether the republic's elastic can keep its snap, and by inference, whether we can eventually accept actual different types in the White House: a woman, a black man, a Mormon, a man married three times (the last two are not the same candidate).

Send-up candidacies like Colbert's have their own long history. In 1879, in the New York Evening Post, Mark Twain nominated himself with a sardonic confessional: "I have pretty much made up my mind to run for president. What the country wants is a candidate who cannot be injured by investigation of his past history. ... If you know the worst about a candidate, to begin with, every attempt to spring things on him will be checkmated." Twain punctured plutocrats too well to have made any headway in the smoke-filled rooms of the Gilded Age. But he undoubtedly has more things named after him -- including an asteroid -- than the man who did become president, James Garfield.

Most dark-comic candidacies emerge in grim times: Pat Paulsen in 1968, Will Rogers in 1932.

Comedian Paulsen was a regular on the politically bold "Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour," a TV show that kept network censors fully employed until it was finally yanked off the air. He ran for president as the Vietnam War was rupturing the country. The nation saw a TV war overseas and wall-to-wall TV campaigning at home, and Paulsen mocked by imitation. The man who produced Paulsen's campaign "special" so impressed real politicians that he wound up being hired for real political events, and then by the Nixon White House.

Will Rogers was already a beloved national figure, the common man with a lazy lariat and an ice-pick wit, when the Depression sucker-punched the country. In 1932, there were serious ructions in favor of a Rogers candidacy. When 20th Century Fox announced that he'd star in "If I Was President," The Times remarked archly on the "whispers that many people in these United States wouldn't mind seeing Will in some big political office." A Republican businessmen's group in Oregon ardently lobbied the state's Democrats to nominate Rogers. At the convention, Rogers got 22 votes on the second ballot -- almost as many as the governor of Maryland.

The humorist finally squelched the draft-Rogers movement in his newspaper column, without a hint of a smile: "When it was done as a joke it was all right, but when it's done seriously it's pathetic. There is no inducement that would make me foolish enough to ever run for political office."

Colbert is the comedian of this moment, crusading for "truthiness," whatever the facts. Colbert told fans to change the Wikipedia entry for African elephants to reflect Colbert's "truthy" belief that the elephant population had not declined but tripled in six months. They did. A Bush administration political appointee ordered Interior Department scientists to alter facts in reports on imperiled species. FEMA staged a fake news conference to congratulate itself on its performance in the California wildfires. Truthiness in action.

Jody Baumgartner and Jonathan Morris, at East Carolina University in North Carolina, edited "Laughing Matters: Humor and American Politics in the Media Age." They concluded that political humor makes people more politically astute but also more cynical -- and they're studying now whether it makes them less inclined to vote.

"I don't necessarily go to bat saying the average American voter is well informed and all that razzmatazz, because they're not, clearly," said Baumgartner. But they have a certain "low information rationality," and whatever Colbert's numbers now, they know there's a difference between answering a pollster's question and actually voting.

These days, who truly has more influence -- a politician, or someone who plays one on TV? Deep in his darkly comic heart, Colbert knows the answer -- and I'm sure he hopes that we do too.

Would you vote for him or not?  I hope he continues his write-in campaign, just to shake things up.  And I hope he gets his money back since he didn't get accepted into the Democratic Party.

EDIT:  Good news, below:
Quote from: Rachel Sklar
Stephen Colbert, write-in candidate? Looking that way: Colbert's bid to get on the South Carolina Democratic primary ballot was rejected today by the SC Dem executive committee by a vote of 13-3, according to MTV News.* Ouch.

Here's more from MTV News' Gil Kaufman:

    The Doritos-sponsored campaign, which was announced last month, seemed to be on the road to legitimacy this week when Colbert's campaign paid the $2,500 filing fee necessary to get into the race just before the noon deadline on Thursday, according to The Associated Press.

    Less than two hours later, though, the executive committee of the state's party crushed Colbert's bid when it voted not to certify the candidacy, according to Keiana Page, a communications assistant in the state Democratic Committee's office. Using criteria such as whether the candidate was recognized in the national news media as a legitimate candidate and whether they'd actively campaigned in the state, the committee put the kibosh on the Colbert bid.

According to the Politico's Kenneth P. Vogel, Colbert paid the filing fee with a personal check. Vogel also looks ahead to Colbert's options:

    Colbert could still run as an independent in the general election, though he'd have to collect 10,000 signatures to get on the ballot, said Chris Whitmire, a spokesman for the State Election Commission.

10,000 signatures is probably doable — if Colbert had passed around a petition at his recent appearance at the University of South Carolina in Columbia he'd probably be well on his way (especially given his campagin promise to "crush the state of Georgia" if elected). And recent polling data shows that Colbert is doing well — a recent Rasmussen poll put him at 12% against Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani (never mind that he's kicking butt on Facebook). Still, there's no question that cutting a $2,500 check is easier. Is this the end of the Colbert Dream? Probably not — no doubt he'll find a way to get around the vote, and hilariously (maybe it's worth $35,000 to switch to the Republican ballot). Either way, don't count him out yet. Democracy wouldn't have it any other way.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2007, 11:41:02 am by mburtonk »


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