Steny Hoyer: Hey, maybe letting Colbert testify in character was inappropriate
posted at 1:35 pm on September 26, 2010 by Allahpundit
Via Gateway Pundit. Just kidding about the headline, by the way: Hoyer didn’t say that the decision to let Colbert testify was inappropriate. What he said was that the testimony itself was inappropriate and an “embarrassment” — to Colbert. The Democratic leadership is, as always, apparently blameless.
John Podhoretz calls it a landmark in the history of unforced errors:
Colbert, playing his blowhard-conservative-pseudo-O’Reilly character, was screamingly funny (you can watch him here). Among other things, he attempted to introduce the results of his colonoscopy into the Congressional Record. The members of Congress were screamingly funny too, only unintentionally. There were expressions of surprise, motions to get Colbert off the stage, pained stabs at making jokes alongside a professional, and so on…
This may have been the single biggest pointless blunder in American political history, and I am not kidding. With an election only five weeks from now in which Democrats are poised for major losses, this morning’s depiction of Congress as ludicrous dupes of a TV personality — which will be replayed for weeks — will make the analogistic point that the majority is unfit to be running things.
Will it? In a sane world, perhaps, but letting Colby testify as a goof is also a way for Democrats to remind young voters — whom they desperately need to turn out — of how hip and youthful and, well, just darned chill they are. To the extent there was a political strategy to all this, I assume that was it. And it’s not half bad: Older voters may mutter under their breath when they see the clips of Colbert, but they’re already paying attention to the election for other reasons. Younger voters whose interest in politics has declined since 2008 may, however, see it and put two and two together with that Stewart/Colbert rally scheduled for next month and conclude that it’s time to start re-engaging. It’s a longshot, but longshots are all the left has at this point.
Exit question: Hoyer’s opinion of Colbert here is notably at odds with Madam Speaker’s. Is this the first tiny push towards a “Steny for minority leader” campaign?
Update: Greenroomer (and young voter) Patrick Ishmael takes gentle exception to the idea that Colbert’s hipness will switch anyone’s vote from R to D. I agree; didn’t mean to suggest that it would. What I’m suggesting is that (a) young voters skew Democratic and (b) as is true of all demographics, some of them do follow politics day to day and some don’t. The former group won’t care what Colbert does, but the key to ramping up turnout is to get the latter group interested again. Colbert’s testimony and next month’s rally is a way to get their attention, which is half the battle. Whether that’ll translate into any extra votes, though, I don’t know.