So what should Republicans do? On the one hand there is the argument that they should not be afraid to step into a forum in which they will be challenged and even ridiculed. And there are always those much sought-after voters who will see the candidate for the first time.

On the other hand, Colbert is a talented professional comedian with a political bent. If he wants to make a candidate’s positions look vaguely ridiculous — all while seeming entirely civil — he can. Do Republicans need to show that they are good sports by going along? And do such appearances really change any minds, anyway?

Whatever the case, GOP candidates are ready to go along. “The governor has been on Stephen’s show many times, and they have a great rapport,” said Mike Huckabee spokeswoman Alice Stewart, who added that an appearance is under discussion. “We welcome the opportunity to appear on his show because it allows Gov. Huckabee to discuss the issues, show his personality, and connect with an audience we may not reach through traditional news outlets.”