John Edwards responded to a jab from comedian Stephen Colbert, who is running for President (but only in South Carolina). The Edwards response was a joke. Right? Right?
Colbert threw the first punch: “John Edwards left South Carolina when he was 1 year old. He had his chance. Saying his parents moved him — that’s the easy answer.”
Edwards’ response… man, for a joke, it’s really, really close to his actual rhetoric:
CLAIM: Edwards abandoned South Carolina when he was one year old.
FACT: Edwards was born in South Carolina, learned to walk in South Carolina, learned to talk to in South Carolina, and will kick Stephen Colbert’s New York City butt in South Carolina.
John Edwards spokesman Eric Schultz: “Stephen Colbert claims to represent a new kind of politics, but today we see he’s participating in the slash and burn politics that has no place in American discourse. The truthiness is, as the candidate of Doritos, Colbert’s hands are stained by corporate corruption and nacho cheese. John Edwards has never taken a dime from salty food lobbyists and America deserves a President who isn’t in the pocket of the snack food special interests.”
Is there some sort of template the Edwards campaign uses? Something like a Mad Lib? “John Edwards has never taken a dime from __ lobbyists and America deserves a President who isn’t in the pocket of __ special interests”?
UPDATE: At least one Campaign Spot reader suggests the realism of the statement is what makes it funny: “If satire doesn’t mirror reality, it doesn’t work as satire.”
Maybe I’m wrong. But here’s my take on Edwards… when he stops “playing to the jury,” and the mask slips, he seems like a decent guy — picture every interaction with Elizabeth and dealing with her cancer. But 99 percent of the time he’s on the trail, he’s acting out the role of a hero in a John Grisham novel. The whole thing seems phony — I worked at a hedge fund… to learn about poverty. I say you need to do more to help the poor, but charge $50,000 to speak about poverty to college students. I denounce wasteful spending, but I pay $400 for a haircut. I talk about reducing carbon emissions, but I live in a gigantic house. I’ll denounce Hillary for accepting a donation from Rupert Murdoch, but try to sweep under the rug the fact that Murdoch’s company published one of my books.
In other words, I feel like his campaign runs on a lot of fake outrage — that if these things really bothered him, he would make different decisions in his choice of housing, employment, speaking fees, barber and publisher. To me, Edwards’ ability to turn out a pitch-perfect critique of Stephen Colbert as a candidate of the establishment and special interests just reveals that he can make that critique of anybody — undermining his effectiveness against Hillary.