Colbert’s Super PAC Undermines Electoral Process

COMMENTARY | As a resident of the state of Iowa, I have probably seen more political ads in the last 2 months than some people will see in a decade. Our state’s airwaves and our mailboxes were inundated with numerous attack ads, many paid by super PACs (political action committees). While some were rather funny, most were in fact vicious. Scariest of all, they work. Just ask former GOP presidential nominee front-runner Newt Gingrich. He was leading in many polls as late as mid December until a relentless stream of super PAC attack ads knocked him down to a distant fourth place finish in the January 3 caucus.

Now as the vitally important South Carolina Primary approaches; Comedy Central’s Steven Colbert has started his own super PAC with its own “attack” ads on front-runner Mitt Romney and encouraging voters to choose the dropped-out candidate Herman Cain. When watching these ads, it doesn’t take a political genius to realize that they are satire and that they are making fun of the whole notion of super PACs. But while funny, these ads undermine our electoral process and can end up being incredibly dangerous.

Case in point: Take a look at the results of the Iowa Caucus. A mere eight votes were all that separated caucus winner Mitt Romney from second place finisher Rick Santorum. If the Colbert ads were ran in Iowa and successfully switched just nine voters away from Romney we could have an entirely different looking Republican race right now. Just nine votes. Keep in mind we are not talking an election for a school board or town council, but President of the United States of America, leader of the free world.

If you think that sounds a little overdramatic, just remember the results of the 2000 Presidential election in Florida. The difference between George W. Bush being elected President or losing to Democrat Al Gore amounted to just a handful of votes. I cannot speak for Steven Colbert, but I do know this. I do not want my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to read someday that President Obama won/lost re-election in 2012 because of the result of a prank perpetuated by a late-night comedian.

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