“I’m just a guy who likes to keep a low profile,” Colbert said last night at that moment. “Ask anybody who subscribes to the ‘Stephen Colbert 24/7 Low Profile Web Cam’.”
The second bottom line is to expose the absurdities at the heart of the US campaign finance system. Colbert long ago launched a comedic crusade against super PACs, organizations created in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2010 “Citizens United” decision. Super PACs are allowed to accept unlimited amounts of cash from individual donors, and spend same on ads that promote or attack political candidates, as long as they don’t coordinate with the candidate who benefits from their actions.
The “coordination” thing is a tissue-thin distinction, as Colbert rightly points out. Super PACs can be run by candidate’s ex-chiefs of staff, and so forth, and pick up ideas as to what to do just by following what their person says in the media.
Colbert’s main tool in this crusade has been his own super PAC, which he formed last year. Among other things, the Colbert super PAC has paid for an ad urging Iowans to vote for Rick Parry, with an “a”. It’s produced an ad that features GOP also-ran Buddy Roemer bemoaning that he has to appear in Colbert’s ad to get any attention (watch for Colbert on a unicorn at the end).
But candidates can’t overtly direct super PACs. So last night on the Report, Colbert handed over control of his beloved cash pile to Jon Stewart, his former boss and business partner. All perfectly legal! They did a handshake thing with special effects to dramatize the switch. They looked like Severus Snape and Narcissa Malfoy doing the Unbreakable Vow in “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.”