The carefully-crafted attempt by Democrat Zoe Lofgren to make her fellow Democrats look hip and with it crashed into a debacle earlier this morning when the House Judiciary subcommittee on immigration held its much-publicized hearing with Comedy Central comedian Stephen Colbert on hand to offer testimony. As John Conyers notes, the media and spectators turned out to see whether Colbert would address the panel seriously as an expert on immigration and make the panel a joke, or stay in character and make the panel a bigger joke. In this video, Conyers comes up with what he thought may have been the only way out of the conundrum — and winds up embarrassing the committee even further than anyone could have predicted:
Byron York reports that it just got worse for the Democrats afterward:
Colbert said he was there at the invitation of Lofgren and would do whatever she asked. Seeking a moment to think, Lofgren asked Republican Rep. Dan Lungren to speak for a few moments while she decided what to do.
Colbert stayed in place as the other witnesses made opening statements. When Colbert’s turn came, Conyers briefly interrupted to say that he was withdrawing his request for Colbert to leave.
Then Colbert began his testimony, which was an in-character schtick based on a one-day visit to an upstate New York farm. “This is America,” Colbert said. “I don’t want a tomato picked by a Mexican.” It was a strange and awkward moment, and one that could come back to some of the Democrats on the panel in the campaign ahead.
That’s OK. Loretta Sanchez doesn’t want to live in a district represented by a Vietnamese Congressman, either. Democrats would have been better off having the media cover the Coates testimony at the Civil Rights Commission hearing instead.
Update: Here’s another moment for the history books, courtesy of Teresa Kopec on Twitter: “Corn packer is a derogatory term for Gay Iowans.” Thanks, Democrats, for bringing this to the halls of Congress while the economy continues to stagnate and millions of people are without jobs.