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Sharp Left Ahead: Colbert's super PAC exposes bad side of politics

No one trumps expressing the frustration I feel with the election process like Stephen Colbert and his mock campaign for president in South Carolina.

The affair started with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which states that spending money on campaigns constitutes a form of speech that must be protected, allowing corporations (in Colbert’s case, television shows) and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money on campaign ads.

So, in response to this truly criminal law, Colbert made the super PAC Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, which is a fancy way of funneling money into ads for any particular candidate.

Even though he does not have to reveal his donors, a scrolling bar along the bottom of his program has listed the names of his donors for months. Not to mention how he has failed to report just how much money his super PAC has, which is totally legal for any super PAC.

Every joke isn’t just a way to get laughs; the jokes are more a pointed attack against the new law and all of its criminal ways.

I think many overlook the significance of what he is doing because they don’t take Colbert as serious as his counterpart, Jon Stewart, but he truly does a phenomenal job of explaining the crimes against democracy that is Citizens United in a funny and informative way.

In his latest comedic bit, he plans on running for president in the South Carolina Republican primary; however, first he has to give control of his super PAC to someone not running for the candidacy.

Of course, he gives it to his long-time friend and business partner Jon Stewart, again exploiting the system like all of the candidates today. Legally, Colbert can’t “coordinate” with Stewart, but Stewart is allowed to talk to Colbert about his plans in a one-way fashion.

Furthermore, if the FEC decided to fine them for coordinating, they could take money out of the super PAC to pay for this relatively small fee.

He (I mean the super PAC with which he has no affiliation) continues to exploit this flawed system by releasing his most recent ad that calls Mitt Romney a serial killer.

The ad quotes Mitt Romney saying, “Corporations are people, my friend.” The ad calls him a serial killer because, back in Romney's days as the head of Bain Capital, he broke up corporations for his own profit.

“I am not calling anybody a serial killer. I can't tell Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow what to do. It's not my super PAC, George. It's the super PAC of, and I hope I'm pronouncing this correctly, Jon ‘Stew-air’? I believe it's a soft ‘T’,” Colbert said in a recent interview with George Stephanopoulos.

Your stomach should cringe a little when you see what Colbert is doing with this super PAC and campaign because all of it is legal for candidates.

It concerns me that billions of dollars are going into campaigns. There must be a better way for candidates to be beholden to the voter.

I’m starting to feel like my dad and so many others of the baby-boomer generation, once full of hope but slowly realizing that the system is rigged.

But I haven't given up yet and neither has Colbert, despite the fact that it’s impossible to get on the ballot in South Carolina.

He is urging his voters (of which polls say he has 5 percent) to vote for Herman Cain, who is no longer running, as a sign that Colbert should continue to run.

“They said you can't go to the moon. They said you can't put cheese inside a pizza crust. But NASA did it. They had to because the cheese kept on floating off in space,” Colbert said.

William Hoffman is a freshman studying journalism and political science and a columnist for The Post. Talk politics with him at

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