Correction (July 31 | 14:40): Colbert's wrist was broken. He injured it running around his studio before a show. I regret the error.
Bob Shrum, the Democratic political strategist who has only slightly fewer losses on his resume than the Philadelphia Phillies, appeared on the Colbert Report last night to tout his book, “No Excuses: Confessions of a Serial Complainer,” err, I mean, “No Excuses: Confessions of a Serial Campaigner.”
Colbert, who was pretending to be gravely hurt and wearing a fake cast on his arm, was ushered in by wheelchair. Shrum, not missing an opportunity to shill for the Democrats, quipped:
“I hope all the suffering has made you more inclined to support national health insurance, so everybody can get the same kind of risk care you do.”
Clever as ever Mr. Shrum. But that was only the beginning.
Colbert immediately turned his attention to what Shrum, the Susan Lucci of political campaigning, is best known for, losing.
A transcript of Colbert and Shrum’s conversation follows. Colbert’s show is designed as a satirical homage to Bill O’Reilly and usually makes fun of conservatives and certainly Shrum knows this. Even so, he’s dead serious about his Bush-stole-Ohio charge.
Here’s the transcript. More commentary follows.:
Stephen Colbert: “Now, you have been an adviser for so many presidential candidates. You were senior adviser for the Gore campaign, a senior member of the Kerry campaign, and you, as much as anyone, are responsible for President Bush being in power for the last six and a half years, and I personally just want to thank you so much for that, sir. I personally-“
Bob Shrum: “You are the only one who has ever thanked me. I think the Bush White House is thanking the Supreme Court for handing the election to Bush when Al Gore was actually elected. He was just not inaugurated.”
Colbert: “Now what is the Shrum curse?”
Shrum: “I don't believe in the Shrum curse.”
Stephen: “You don't believe in the Shrum curse?
Shrum: “I don’t believe in it, I think I've lived -”
Colbert: “I thought the Shrum curse was your term.”
Shrum: “No, it wasn't my term. It was something people who didn't like me much invented. But I think I've lived a very fortunate life. I’ve been able to work for people I really care about, who have deep convictions and to fight for the beliefs that I have.”
Colbert: “These were good people?”
Colbert: “Why couldn't you get them elected then? If they were so good -”
Shrum: “Stephen, I don't know how often I have to say it -- Al Gore got elected and who knows? Given those Diebold voting machines in Ohio, John Kerry may have gotten elected.”
Colbert: “Sir, the presidential election is not a popularity contest. You have to win the Electoral College.”
Shrum: “If he had won Ohio, he would have won the Electoral College.”
Colbert: “But he didn’t, you see, so.”
Shrum: “But maybe the Diebold voting machines were rigged, so that he did.”
Colbert: “Or maybe there were elves in the voting machines.”
Shrum: “Well, given… How about the butterfly ballot in Florida. I suppose you think -”
Colbert: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Shrum: “There were thousand and thousands, that crazy ballot that confused people and you think there were thousands and thousands of liberal Jewish voters on the Gold Coast who wanted to elect Pat Buchanan President of the United States? Even Pat doesn’t believe that.”
Shrum, along with Robert Kennedy Jr. and the furthest left reaches of the Blogosphere are the only ones who still think Kerry won in 2004. As for Al Gore in 2000, even the New York Times says Bush would have won the recount.
Of course in defense of Shrum it’s easy to see why McGovern, Gore and Kerry didn’t get elected. But Instead of blaming the Supreme Court and voting machines -- maybe he could blame global warming next? -- Shrum should place the blame squarely on the fact that not even G.W. Plunkitt and Tammany Hall could have got these guys elected.