That, and other news, in today’s Political Panorama.
Stephen Colbert is ahead of Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel in a recent national poll from Public Opinion Strategies, reports Chris Cillizza in the Washington Post. He actually garnered 2.3 percent of the vote to Richardson’s 2.1 percent, Kucinich’s 2.1 percent and Gravel’s less than one percent. Among Republicans, he fared less well, polling at less than one percent.
Are people actually taking this satire/book tour seriously?
In the Atlantic, Joshua Green examines Colbert’s real impact on the race, especially if he gets on the ballot in South Carolina and draws the “drunken college men” demographic.
He writes, “Which presidential candidates might be threatened by a Colbert candidacy? The obvious group is second-tier competitors, because if Colbert runs more than a “front-porch” campaign—if he actually shows up and holds a few rallies—he’ll suck up the media buzz any laggard needs to break through. Sam Brownback may cite other reasons for dropping out today, but Colbert’s plan to run in South Carolina wouldn’t have made his job there any easier. Same is true for Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, and Mike Huckabee.” He also sees Colbert as a real challenge for Ron Paul, the current protest candidate du jour on the GOP side.
But some words of caution for Colbert on the limits of celebrity candidacies. “Of course, there’s a drawback to vanity candidacies—vanidacies?—which is why we don’t see more of them. And that is the danger that the celebrity on the ballot could bomb. Yes, actors like Reagan and Schwarzenegger have done just fine; but campaigning comedians have tended to wind up as punch lines. In the 2003 California gubernatorial recall election, Gary Coleman won a less-than-pint-sized total of 14,242 votes and placed eighth. In the 1996 Democratic presidential primary in New Hampshire, former Smothers Brother Pat Paulsen won 920 votes (enough to earn him a second-place finish to a sitting president, Bill Clinton). Given the meager caliber of his predecessors, there would seem to be considerable pressure on Colbert to outperform them and land a delegate or two.”
Utah’s Own: Robert Redford doesn’t have flattering things to say about Mitt Romney. He calls him a “faceless, methodic jerk.” “Missionary work is very effective for being persuasive – you appear to never get ruffled,” Redford told the Boston Herald. “Everything looks good. But there seems to be a space running through it. I mean, is Mitt bad? No. There’s just nothing there.” He also says that some of the Democrats in the field “are just batty.” “Now Bill Richardson . . . is saying what Democrats need to say. But why doesn’t the press say anything about him? Because they’re paying attention to Hillary Clinton and Obama. Boring.” Redford has yet to contribute to any candidate.
Lame Game: Radio host Glenn Beck: “We all love America. We all love America. We just disagree on how we should function, what we should do, big government, small government. It doesn’t mean you hate America. I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today. There are a few people that hate America. But I don’t think the Democrats are those. I think there are those posing as Democrats that are like that.”
Lame Game II: Presidential candidate Mitt Romney: “Actually, just look at what Osam — Barack Obama — said just yesterday. Barack Obama, calling on radicals, jihadists of all different types, to come together in Iraq. That is the battlefield. … It’s almost as if the Democratic contenders for president are living in fantasyland. Their idea for jihad is to retreat, and their idea for the economy is to also retreat. And in my view, both efforts are wrongheaded.” Romney’s campaign said he misspoke.