strongly support the candidacy of the one man who can bring together
independent and militant moderates, as well as social and fiscal
conservatives. I support the man who would appeal to cable TV viewers,
whether they are Verizon FIOS, Time Warner, or DirectTV subscribers. I
support the best man to come out of South Carolina politics since John
C. Calhoun and H. Mendel Rivers -- the distinguished gentleman from the
Palmetto State, Stephen Colbert.
Stephen Colbert: White House bound?
It is good news that Colbert, after exploratory talks with his
friends, his loved ones, his accountants, and his agents, has decided
to make the race. In this time of crisis, Colbert is an alternative to
everything wrong with the Republican Party.
I reached a similar conclusion in the last truly important Republican race.
In 1964, the party was torn asunder by the same ideological debate
tearing it up today: Which candidate is in the mainstream of Republican
I believed that George Romney, the front runner, was an FDR
Republican. So were Rockefeller, Lodge, Stassen, Scranton, and Dick
Barry Goldwater was a McKinley Republican -- a moderate whose ideas went back to 1900.
I was the only true reactionary in the race. My ideas went back to
Abraham Lincoln. And as a Lincoln Republican, I ran on the Republican
Party's platform of 1864, a platform with so many promises that had yet
to be fulfilled. Civil rights was a big issue in 1964. I pledged to end
the war with the South.
You might not remember my presidential campaign, but you might
remember my campaign slogan: I would rather be president than write. At
the time, I had the biggest writer's block on my block in New Jersey.
My team of paid volunteers and organized spontaneous demonstrators
managed to get a delegate pledged to vote for Marvin Kitman for
president at the Republican National Convention in San Francisco. He got
675 votes. That might not seem like a lot, but Harold Stassen only got
1,250 after campaigning as hard as Mitt Romney for months. As a
freelance writer, I could spare only one weekend to meet the people of
I had two super PACS of the day supporting my campaign financially
and editorially: the Saturday Evening Post and Monocle (a leisurely
quarterly of political satire). Both went out of business after the
The whole story would be told in my campaign biography, The Number One Best Seller -- that was the title, not the sales report. It is considered the textbook today for mugwumps bucking the party establishment.
At any rate, suffice it to say that I lost.
Pat Paulsen -- comic turned politician.
But my race inspired Pat Paulsen to run in 1968. His memorable concession speech on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour on CBS included the line "I've upped my standards. Now, up yours."
And I am most proud of whatever little I have done to encourage
Colbert to run today for what he, in all modesty, calls "President of
the United States of South Carolina," an astute appeal for the
Despite my support, I can be critical of my favorite candidate. It is
a mistake for him to be running only in the South Carolina primary.
What are the rest of us, the disenfranchised -- chopped liver?