Wednesday night I went to the Barnes and Noble at Union Square to catch a speech by a jack of all trades. The former Daily Show correspondent turned anchor is now everywhere promoting a book – and running for president. Yes, you guessed right, the almighty Mr. Stephen Colbert.
Unfortunately for me, Mr. Colbert was AWOL when I had to leave to go to another meetingafter waiting for 20 minutes. Fortunately for all progressive conservatives a video of his speech can be found here.
“It turns out it takes more than 30 minutes a night to fix everything that’s destroying America and that’s where this book comes in,” Mr. Colbert said about his debut work, I Am America (And So Can You!). “This book is truth – my truth,” he said, “I deliver my truth hot and hard, fast and furious.”
Mr. Colbert, who announced a possible run for president on The Daily Show on October 16th, declared on The Colbert Report on October 16th that he is indeed running for president – in South Carolina. “After 15 minutes of soul searching I have heard the call,” he said, “I am doing it.”
Like his predecessor, Jon Stewart, who in 2004 published the wildly successful America (The Book), Mr. Colbert is excelling in packaging his persona, mock seriousness and witty criticism for a supposedly apolitical generation that allegedly gets its news from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.
Comedy Central’s two shows carved such a niche that Messrs. Stewart and Colbert went on to host the Academy awards and – to the apolitical youth’s surprise and amusement – the White House Press Corps Dinner, respectively. “Stewart-Colbert ’08” bumper stickers followed.
There is no surprise in Mr. Colbert’s presidential aspirations – nor in his thriving business ventures. But both his seriousness and a jokester nation’s ability to send him straight to the Oval Office – on the heels of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ronald Reagan, you would be an idiot to deny the possibility – make this “joke run” different from its historical antecedents.
The difference lies not only in the press’ serious wonder at and contemplation of Mr. Colbert’s run – as they should – but also in the hype and noise the candidate generated since his announcement, surely beating former Tennessee Senator and Law & Order star Fred Thompson.
Consider this, how many candidates could persuade The New York Times‘ Maureen Dowd to cede her space to a candidate? None – except for Mr. Colbert. And how many “mock-candidates” have appeared on Tim Russert’s Meet The Press? You guess right, again – none, except, well, Mr. Colbert.
Like all presidential aspirants, Mr. Colbert too explains his stance on issues and outlines his strengths in his book. I Am America should inform all voters in the upcoming primaries, as well as make each reader a better, more patriotic American. And, it should be an easy read; the author proudly announced that he dictated the whole book over Columbus Day weekend. He also added, “Like a lot of other dictators, there’s one man whose opinion I value above all others’ – mine.” Sound familiar?