Oct 212007
Authors: Aaron Hedge

If there’s anything this country’s desperately in need of, it’s humor, said one CSU political science instructor in response to Stephen Colbert’s recently announced bid for presidential office.

Colbert, host of the political pundit spin-off show “The Colbert Report,” officially announced on air that he “shall seek the office of president of the United States” on his show Tuesday.

Student’s and faculty at CSU view the announcement as a comedic parody on other candidacies that will affect the race little.

“I don’t think he has any chance of winning,” said John Straayer, a political science professor. “If he was on the ballot in South Carolina, who would he take votes from?”

But Straayer thinks Colbert’s candidacy is something the nation needs with the crowded race and heated political atmosphere.

He said it reminds him of Patrick Paulsen, a 1960s American satirist who did similar deadpan political commentary on a show called “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” and ran for president six times.

“If (Colbert) wins, I’m going to ask to be his secretary of offense,” Straayer said, joking that Colbert, if elected, should change the name of the U.S. Department of Defense to the Department of Offense.

Bobby Carson, editor in chief of the conservative student-run newsletter, the Ram Republic, said that Colbert’s candidacy is funny, but doesn’t matter to the presidential race.

“When you look at it at the end of the day, Colbert and Clinton, they don’t really belong in the same sentence together,” Carson said. “It’s not going to do much, maybe take some votes from Clinton and Obama . I don’t think anyone who’s seriously involved in politics would take his candidacy as a threat.”

One student said Colbert’s campaign might take votes away from the Republican ticket because of the party’s recent falling out of public favor.

“I think it will take votes away from the republicans because they’re not looking too good right now in terms of keeping seats,” said Craig Dumas, a finance senior from Heidelberg, Germany.

But Fort Collins resident Adam Kawamoto can’t decide if it would take votes away from anyone, considering Colbert’s silly style. He said it would depend on the campaign’s approach.

“Is he going to run as Colbert, or Bill O’Reilly/Colbert?” Kawamoto asked.

Chelsey Penoyer, president of the CSU College Republicans, said she thinks Colbert’s bid is a just another way for him to mock political idiocy and wouldn’t affect serious campaigns.

“It’s more of a comedy thing” than a serious bid, she said.

“He’s a cool, fun guy,” she said, but she thinks Colbert’s campaign is purely satirical.

Rarely stepping out of character on camera, Colbert dryly uses every logical fallacy to satirize political stupidity in the Bush Administration.

His announcement came after he spent weeks poking fun at the indecision of possible presidential candidates like Fred Thompson.

He prompted questions about his candidacy on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” /-the inspiration behind Colbert’s show-about his possible candidacy juts before announcing it on “The Colbert Report.”

“I’m glad you asked, Jon,” he said on the show. “Because tonight, I, Stephen Colbert, am officially announcing that I have decided to officially consider whether or not I will announce that I am running for president of the United States. And I will be making an announcement on that decision very soon. Preferably on a more prestigious show.”

But Carson said the announcement shows America’s satirical mentality, especially among the college-age population.

“It’s almost a mockery of the office of president or the election process,” he said

He said recent attention to politics in the 18-25 age bracket prompted Colbert’s decision because the group gets their news from comedy shows like “The Colbert Report” and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

“It’s probably indicative of (Colbert’s) popularity in that group,” he said.

Senior reporter Aaron Hedge can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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