Columnist Charles Krauthammer scoured congressional Democrats on Friday in The Washington Post for failing to pass any appropriations bills or even introduce a bill extending any of the Bush tax cuts. The title was "The Colbert Democrats." He concluded:
As if this display of unseriousness -- no budget, no appropriations bills, no tax bill -- were not enough, some genius on a House Judiciary subcommittee invites parodist Stephen Colbert to testify as an expert witness on immigration. He then pulls off a nervy mockery of the whole proceedings -- my favorite was his request to have his colonoscopy inserted in the Congressional Record -- while the chairwoman sits there clueless.
A fitting end for the 111th Congress. But not quite. Colbert will return to the scene of the crime on Oct. 30 as the leader of one of two mock rallies on the Mall. Comedian Jon Stewart leads the other. At a time of near-10 percent unemployment, a difficult and draining war abroad, and widespread disgust with government overreach and incompetence, they will light up the TV screens as the hip face of the new liberalism -- just three days before the election.
I suspect the electorate will declare itself not amused.
All this Colbert activism is welcome, in that it becomes quite clear that Colbert is just as much a sneering liberal as Jon Stewart -- this march really makes them like running mates, or mocking mates. They are not just aiming for giggles. Just like liberal reporters, they're aiming to make the country more liberal ("a better place"). But Krauthammer was not alone in scowling at the Colbert congressional testimony in the Post. Liberal columnist Ruth Marcus took a turn last week:
But Colbert's testimony was not history repeating itself as farce -- it was history starting as farce. That's to be expected when lawmakers appear, at their own risk, on "The Colbert Report." But there is a difference between lawmakers electing to be a prop in Colbert's show and letting Colbert turn their show into his prop.
And that's what happened before the House Judiciary Committee's immigration subcommittee....
Granted, this isn't the most embarrassing spectacle to unfold before Congress. (I was at the Anita Hill hearings, so I know firsthand.) Nor is it the biggest story around. But it is emblematic of the dumbing down of American political culture -- more circuses, less bread.
Colbert and Jon Stewart have more than enough material to lampoon politicians without Congress inviting them over for more. As usual, Stewart said it best, during his show Monday night. "Of course Colbert is more embarrassed than the House of Representatives," he said. "Colbert still has dignity and integrity left to lose."