Stephen Colbert has launched a Twitter campaign to get South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to appoint him to replace Sen. Jim DeMint, who announced he was quitting Thursday. And the problem is not that Colbert isn't qualified. It's that he's too qualified.
"Let's see, you need someone young, someone conservative, someone from South Carolina, maybe someone who had a super PAC?" Colbert said on The Colbert Report Thursday night, as his left hand tried to smother his right. Sure. But let's be real. What you need to be a senator these days is the ability to "say words good on the TV." Colbert says words too good. Instead of displaying talking points-style discipline during interviews, he engages in spontaneous riffing. Worse, Colbert has a skill set that is way to broad for the Senate. He appears to speaks Latin nearly fluently. He studied philosophy in college. His favorite book is not nearly down-to-earth or biblical enough — it's Lord of the Rings. He believes that science is real, at least given the number of scientists he books on his show. He told New York magazine in 2007 that he loves Richard Nixon — but not for the appropriate reasons, like that Nixon got really good at winning presidential elections. Instead, Colbert loves Nixon's policy: "He started the EPA. He opened China. He gave 18-year-olds the vote. His issues were education, drugs, women, minorities, youth involvement, ending the draft, and improving the environment. John Kerry couldn’t have run on this! What would I give for a Nixon?"
Think about the man Colbert would be replacing. Jim DeMint might be quitting to run a think tank, but he's no thinker, according to The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin, a conservative blogger. Rubin writes:
Even DeMint would not claim to be a serious scholar. He is a pol. He’s a pol whose entire style of conservatism – all or nothing, no compromise, no accounting for changes in public habits and opinions — is not true to the tradition of Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk and others...
Every individual who works [at Heritage] should take pause and consider whether the reputation of that institution is elevated or diminished by this move. And I would say the same, frankly, if any other non-scholarly pol took that spot.
Colbert is a nerd. We can't waste his brains in the Senate.
Looks like it's still Tim Scott's seat to lose after all.