Today our federal government officially jumped the shark. It couldn't have been more apparent if they had called Ted McGinley to testify instead of Stephen Colbert. Don't get me wrong, Colbert is great. He's a funny guy. But how in the world is he qualified to testify on immigration - in character, no less?
The reality show that is Washington politics of late has gone too far. By inviting Colbert, Immigration Subcommittee chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) turned the entire immigration debate, as well as congressional hearings, into a joke. And not even a good one, with all due respect to Mr. Colbert, who was doing his satirical best:
Okay, so he was kind of funny. In an awkward, trainwreck-y kind of way. You really can't fault him for doing it - what entertainer in their right mind would give up a chance to play the Hill? Even the famous Onion, the University of Wisconsin's hilariously satirical newspaper/website, couldn't have dreamed this up. This will boost his ratings phenominally, and he will come out of this just fine. The people who invited him to speak, however, may not fare so well. Unless, of course, Rep. Lofgren is angling for her own show in case she loses on Nov. 2nd - in this job climate, it's every congressperson for themselves, and sometimes you have to think outside of the box!
Some democrats seem to be slaves to the cult of personality, and Colbert's appearance plays more like a desperate attempt for the party to be seen as hip and cool than a legitimate attempt to investigate policy issues. The fact that this opens them up to ridicule and lowers the profile of the US governement as a whole seems to matter little to Lofgren. At least Rep. John Conyers )D-MI) tried to stop the circus and preserve the dignity of our legislative branch. He most likely saw what many other people saw - the serious issue of immigration reform, the U.S. Congress and the democrat party in general being made a mockery of in one fell swoop.
In a country where Comedy Central's Daily Show host Jon Stewart is seen as the most trusted name in news, this irresponsible dog and pony show will only further blur the line between real world politics and political satire.
At least we got a laugh out of it.