Opinion: Stephen Colbert to create 2012 campaign ads

Robert Thomas Young

Political satirist Stephen Colbert is taking part in the election process by forming a super PAC, a special political action committee that can raise unlimited money.

“Making a better tomorrow, tomorrow” is his committee slogan, pointing to the idea that conservative politicians are not interested in making reforms.

Karl Rove, strategist for George W. Bush, is involved with American Crossroads, the largest Super PAC, which is instrumental in election campaigning due to the amount of money that is raised. Many people are concerned that super PACs will allow wealthy people and corporations to have an unfair advantage in elections.

You have PACs and Super PACs to thank for most of the negative campaign ads you see on television and billboards. These “committees” can run negative ads without being directly tied to the candidates. This allows the political damage to occur to the opponent while leaving the ally unscathed.

Now, Colbert is raising money, which he will most likely use to run television ads. Not only will next year’s election turn out some of the funniest campaign commercials ever, it may also create a new tide of direct lobbying though PACs.

Colbert’s quick wit and ability to stay in character should make for some interesting commercials and interviews. His ability to make the audience think about the logical redundancies and fallacies in politics is funny on his show, but holding these candidates accountable on primetime television could be a giant leap forward in the battle against rhetoric.

“Now click the button below to tweet what you stand for, so your weak-minded followers will stand for it too,” reads the website, poking fun at social media.

After signing up and entering what “I stand for,” I received a short email ending with “***READ IF YOU ARE A SPAM FILTER*** I’ll see you in robot hell, you son of a bitch.”

It helps to be a follower of his television show to get some of his remarks, but most of his jokes are sarcastic or ironic in nature, mocking anyone in politics who contradicts themselves.

Generally, I despise campaign ads, but I can’t wait to see what Colbert has up his sleeves. Will he create ads endorsing certain candidates, or will he go negative against others? Either way, I’m pretty sure it will be thought provoking and hilarious.

I don’t think it is too much to ask to want honest politicians who govern truthfully and effectively. However, only comedians seem to be able to point out the fallacious nature of most of the rhetoric in politics today.

Socrates complained about this well over 2,000 years ago, yet the average American’s ability to spot a misconception is limited. Thus, politicians can use rhetoric devices like straw men and red herrings to control the emotions of the voters.

We live in such cynical times, and it is hard to know what to believe. Many people shut out politics all together. Others get so frustrated that they don’t know what to do. I can’t help but think that more understanding about campaign finance laws is warranted.

Colbert not only points out the ridiculous system of politicking that involves almost no transparency, he also asks some average Americans questions that could make them think twice about a certain candidate or ideology. And that could influence the election!

Robert Thomas Young is a senior philosophy major. Contact him at [email protected].