Comedian and South Carolina native Stephen Colbert brought his satirical message about campaign finance to the Palmetto State on Friday, appearing at a rally with former presidential candidate Herman Cain at the College of Charleston.
About 4,300 people crowded into the college’s Cistern area, waving signs with slogans such as “Control the bear population, vote Colbert” and “All aboard the Cain train.” Colbert and Cain’s arrival was accompanied by CofC cheerleaders and a marching band playing the song “Party Rock Anthem,” before Colbert sang a duet of the national anthem.
Many in the crowd said the Colbert/Cain rally was their first political event of the 2012 campaign season. Though Colbert is not on the ballot for Saturday’s Republican primary, Cain still is — so for all intents and purposes, Colbert said, “a vote for Herman Cain is a vote for Stephen Colbert.”
Adam Broering told Palmetto Public Record his boss is Colbert’s sister, and gave him the day off to attend the rally. “I really hope Herman Cain is in on the joke,” Broering commented.
That wasn’t always clear during Cain’s speech, as he tried to sell his tea party message to a crowd that was sometimes less than receptive. But Cain maintained his sense of humor by giving the crowd an extended version of his now-famous Pokemon quote, and singing an a capella song about believing in yourself:
But under all the farce and fanfare was a serious message about corporate personhood, as Colbert told the crowd about the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision which allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money influencing politics. The decision also paved the way for Colbert’s own Super PAC, which lampoons the financial failings of the political process through satirical ads and events such as Friday’s rally.
“If corporations are people, ladies and gentlemen, then I’m proud to say I’m a people person,” said Colbert.
Colbert’s message was not lost on many of the rally’s attendees. “Some people think Stephen is making a mockery of the system, but I think he’s using humor to educate and enlighten people about how the process actually works,” said Broering.
“The financial rules of Super PACs aren’t as clear-clut as you might think, and there are a lot of ways to bend the rules,” added Rachel Gutmann. “He’s shedding light on how much of a game politics is.”
Both Broering and Gutmann said they planned to vote in Saturday’s primary, though neither would say whether they’d be supporting Colbert/Cain.