The South Carolina primaries are over and the victory – seemingly impossible only a week ago yet surprising no one tonight – went to Mr. Gingrich. But if Mr. Romney needs someone to commiserate with over a glass of beer, he has a most unlikely partner: Stephen Colbert.
Colbert flirted with the idea of a South Carolina run – after all, he attempted the same in 2008 and South Carolina is his home state – after a democratic polling firm showed him beating Jon Huntsman in the vote, but he had missing the deadline for getting on the ballot (he also offered to help fund the primary in exchange for naming rights). This didn’t stop Colbert. Last week, he announced he was running in South Carolina, and this week he clarified: urging his supporters to vote for Herman Cain to show their interest. The Cain response was everything he could have hoped for: Cain posted his approbation and joined him for a rally.
Yet Colbert/Cain’s thunder was effectively stolen when the perfect storm of political events ensured that Gingrich’s surge was the only thing the media and any political pundit was talking about. So Colbert’s stunt fizzled, capturing about 1% of the vote in South Carolina.
Of course, winning votes was Colbert’s secondary target: satirizing the political process especially the rise of Super-PACs (he gave his to Jon Stewart when he decided to run). The joke isn’t over for Colbert – but in the meantime, he and Romney can raise a glass to a good campaign gone awry.