Comedian Stephen Colbert is running for President. That would be unremarkable except that it's the first time a satirist has run since the advent of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform and Incumbency Protection Act. The Federal Election Commission is on high alert.
Since Mr. Colbert has a television "news" show, the FEC will be wondering if any commentary, about his own campaign or that of others, will require scrutiny as a contribution in kind to the Colbert campaign. In kicking this sleeping bear, Mr. Colbert is pointing out the absurdity of the McCain-Feingold attack on the First Amendment and bringing into question the "press exemption" for main stream media news outlets.
I refer to kicking a bear, rather than perhaps a dog, because Mr. Colbert is well known for his campaign against animals of an ursine ilk, "I believe all God's creatures have a soul...except bears--bears are godless killing machines!"
This attitude is likely to cost Mr. Colbert the votes of PETA aficionados and certain environmentalists. The Other Club is pleased to suggest a way to balance the ticket in hopes of at least neutralizing the issue. Mr. Colbert should select Pat Paulsen for his running mate.
Mr. Paulsen's credentials include multiple Presidential runs and service in the Marine Corps during WWII. In a debate, he would be impossible to defeat. Or maybe even understand. When asked if he believed in the Right to bear arms, Paulsen said: "No, I believe in the right to arm bears."
One can see at once that the addition of Mr. Paulsen to the Colbert ticket could produce an administration hopelessly deadlocked on the bear problem. From that might spring inaction on a whole host of other issues. This would attract the endorsement of former President Calvin Coolidge.
In the 1996 New Hampshire primary, Mr. Paulsen commented on Bob Dole's proposal to cut taxes by 15 percent, saying: "I think we should just tip the Government if it does a good job. Fifteen percent is the standard tip, isn't it? If they don't do a good job, give them less." Perhaps Mr. Colbert could update that proposal to cap the overall taxation rate at the square root of the sum of the approval ratings of Congress and the President.
By the objection that neither Mr. Paulsen nor President Coolidge are among the living, Mr. Colbert should not be bothered in the least. He could point to Al Gore's speeches and demeanor and ask, "Your point is?" Selecting Mr. Paulsen as Veep has the added advantage of posing a question to the FEC regarding the campaign contribution value of seances.
There is a skeleton in the closet, however, for which I do not have a ready answer. This is a heads-up to Mr. Colbert to get in front of it.
Mr. Colbert pronounces his surname, "coal-burt." In French, "Colbert" is rendered "coal-bear." The first problem, of course, is that the anti-bear wing of his supporters will wonder if Mr. Colbert is as committed as he seems to be to a jihad on bears. There will be charges of self-hatred as a potentially debilitating psychological defect. Worse, perhaps, is the fact that this is revealed only in the language of the cheese-eating surrender monkeys. Mr. Colbert's ancestry may become an issue.
One approach may be for Mr. Colbert to change his name. I suggest replacing the final syllable with "onoscopy." This would demonstrate Mr. Colbert's sincerity and revive one of Mr. Paulsen's more pithy slogans, "I've upped my standards. Now, up yours."
Mr. Paulsen's relevance is further demonstrated in this 1972 campaign comment: "Only a cheap politician, greedy for political gain, would try to single out one individual for blame. The fault lies not with the individual but with the system, and that system is Richard Nixon." Substituting "George Bush" at the end of that statement might even attract some votes that otherwise would have gone to a Democrat.
The Other Club bears only good will toward Mr. Colbert in his coming battle with the FEC. They're a bigger joke than he is.