26 September 2010

Congress Stoops to Conquer

Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert was the lead-off witness to the House Judiciary’s Immigration Subcommittee hearing. Apparently, he was qualified to be an expert witness after acting as a shadow migrant farm worker for ten hours. Will such a standard qualify Lindsey Lohen as an expert on prison reform when she gets released on parole?

Some tin-foil hat conspiracy types postulate that Colbert was actually allowed to do his shtick before Congress was to grab headlines from Chris Coates, the career civil servant, who testified before the Civil Rights Commission that Attorney General Holder pressured the DOJ to drop the Black Panthers conviction on white voter intimidation in the 2008 federal election in Philadelphia. To me, that theory is too clever by half as this Civil Rights Commission testimony had been often delayed.

I think that Colbert’s standup was comedic sop to Netroots (perhaps Nutroots) supporters to show that Democrats are cool. Colbert’s appearance certainly grabbed attention to an otherwise obscure subject matter. Of course, no one remembers the rest of the testimony that day. But it endeared House Democrats to the Comedy Central’s constituency. Maybe it even highlighted how Democrats care about the plight Hispanic undocumented aliens without pushing backdoor amnesty to the forefront.

If I were to entertain surreptitious thoughts, it would be that Chairwoman Lofgren (D-CA) is also the chair of the House Ethics Committee and her comedy packed schedule precluded holding the inchoate adjudications for Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) and Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) before November 2nd.

As for Colbert’s testimony itself, I question if the comedian’s day in the fields qualified him to be an expert witness, much less to be the leading witness. House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) could not put the comedy circus in its place with his plea, showing that the grown-ups are not in charge. But frankly this should have been done in the back rooms rather than after the publicity pageant in the Committee Hearings. I concur with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) that it was inappropriate for Colbert to testify in character.

I believe that the public will be left with two perceptions. The taint that will stick with most of the electorate is that THIS Congress is a joke. A more subtle point with political junkies is that Colbert’s Subcommittee testimony along with the faux Mall rallies on October 30th is that Democratic politicians are willing stooges for lefty comedians to mainstream their acts and make money.

If it would have been a made for television monologue, I would have enjoyed Colbert’s quip “I want my tomato grown by an American, picked by a Mexican, sliced by a Guatemalan, and served to me by a Chilean, at a spa where I am getting a Brazilian.” But it embarrasses me that it was testimony in the hallowed halls of Congress.

No comments: