Two more candidates have picked up packets in the Montclair municipal race since we last wrote, and there are rumors that the “big reveal” — on the question of whether mayoral candidate Robert Jackson and 1st Ward incumbent Rich Murnick are on the same ticket — could be as early as today. The new candidates are Jannette Williams, potentially running for mayor of 3rd Ward councilor, and Joseph Kavesh, running for 2nd Ward or councilor-at-large — and already rumored to be on the Jackson slate.
But the Montclair politician who’s the most fun to follow these days isn’t Jackson, Murnick, Bob Russo or Harvey Susswein. The Montclair politician whose antics are absolutely riveting is our own Stephen Colbert, who — among other things — has asked supporters in South Carolina to vote for Herman Cain as a proxy for voting for him, and who’s in the Palmetto State today for a “Rock Me Like a Herman Cain South Cain-Olina Primary Rally”.
My email from the Colbert Super PAC — now, officially, the Definitely Not Coordinating With Stephen Colbert Super PAC — has gotten a lot more frequent since Colbert declared a possible presidential candidacy and handed the reins over to Jon Stewart a week ago.
Yesterday, the Super PAC reported on a Marist poll that found that 18 percent of voters in South Carolina were “kinda somewhat likely” to support Colbert. It was a real poll, confirms Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “We asked real people in South Carolina, who interestingly were very cooperative,” Miringoff said. Still, he doesn’t think Colbert’s possibly spoof candidacy is anything more than satire. And even though one of the “Not Coordinating with Colbert” Super PAC ads went so far as to call Mitt Romney a serial killer, Miringoff doesn’t think Romney — or any other real candidates — will complain.
“I don’t think you’re going to hear any candidate mentioning Stephen Colbert anytime soon,” Miringoff said.
Pundit Larry Sabato of the Virginia Center for Politics is also amused, but counts out any real political fallout from Colbert’s political meddling. “Obviously, the ads are hilarious, especially the one where he ‘slow-grins’ like Cain. And a relative handful of people will vote for Cain to signify support for Colbert,” said Sabato. But he added, “A joke independent candidacy would wither on the vine in the real world of politics.”
Which leaves, perhaps, the Supreme Court as the branch of American politics that Colbert really means to play with. After all, it was the high court’s Citizens United decision of January 2010 that obviously inspired Colbert’s Super PAC antics. And if you don’t think that Stephen Colbert is the most powerful man in all of Baristaville, I ask you who else could get a retired Supreme Court justice to come on his show and tease him relentlessly. If you missed the interview with John Paul Stephens last night, watch it now.
But Stephens was the chief dissenter on the Citizens United decision, and Sabato thinks it’s unlikely that Colbert will have any influence on the justices who voted for the decision.
“I doubt any Justice is going to reverse his or her vote because of what is on Stephen Colbert’s mind. And Congress isn’t about to pass any campaign finance reforms,” Sabato said. “The positive part is that millions are getting a civics lesson in what a Super PAC is. As the author of three poorly selling books on campaign finance, I can guarantee you he’s educated more people about the subject than I ever did. And he didn’t put a single one to sleep.”
|The Colbert Report||Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Colbert Super PAC – John Paul Stevens|