At a recent event at Winthrop University, MSNBC political reporter Chuck Todd was asked about his thoughts on Stephen Colbert’s faux-campaign for President in the South Carolina primary, and the general operation of his “The Definitely Not Coordinating With Stephen Colbert Super PAC.” His answer, in full is in the youtube link below.
I don’t think I could disagree with Todd more.
The existence of Super PACs has already made a mockery of the political system. As much as I’m pleased by Newt Gingrich’s resurgence (I predicted as far back as 2009 that Gingrich would be the 2012 GOP Nominee), it seems to me objectively ridiculous that a candidate who’s down and out can find one billionaire patron to single-handedly resurrect his campaign. Let’s imagine for a minute (as ridiculous as it may seem) that Newt Gingrich goes on to win the Republican nomination and then the White House. How beholden would President Gingrich have to be to Sheldon Adelson? Is there any good that can come of a presidential candidate becoming someone’s pet?
I suppose this wouldn’t be so much of a problem if it were more above-board, but really, how many people know anything about Super PACs? If you asked South Carolinians, how many of them would know that Gingrich is only in the race because his good friend Sheldon shipped him $5 million? How many people know that all the candidates can solicit unlimited funds from rich people, corporations, or any other wealthy entity, with no oversight?
What Stephen Colbert is doing is exposing this system for the farce that it is. If people like Chuck Todd are made uncomfortable by that, then that’s good. Political reporters should be made uncomfortable, everyone should be made uncomfortable by this new system of campaign finance. Colbert is doing that in a way that’s accessible to everyone. I applaud him.