The Colbert Report

Season 6 Episode 135

Garry Wills

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Aired Weekdays 11:30 PM Oct 26, 2010 on Comedy Central
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Garry Wills
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Tonight Stephen welcomes historian and author of Outside Looking In: Adventures of an Observer, Garry Wills.
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      • Stephen: Tonight: How is corporate spending affecting the election? That story and more from The Domino's Pizza Piping Hot Extra Cheezy Update Corner. Then: How to prepare for the Apocalypse. You might want to brush up on your thunderdome skills. And my guest Pulitzer Prize winning historian Garry Wills has written a new book about Garry Wills. If he doesn't win another Pulitzer, he has only himself to blame. Joy Behar says Sharon Angle is going to Hell. Funny, I didn't know Angel was going on The View. This is the Colbert Report.

      • Stephen But it turns out letting corporations buy out elections could have a downside, and it brings us to tonight's Word: Invisible Inc. Now folks, Kimberly Strassel of the Wall Street Journal explains the danger that donating to campaigns poses for corporations.

        [Video: Kimberly Strassel: There is this issue of Target companies which gave some money to a Republican primary candidate who is now running for Governor of Minnesota, Tom Emmer…Moveon.org once they knew about this contribution they turned this into a question of gay rights issues because Mr. Emmer is critical of gay marriage and urged a boycott of Target stores.]

        Stephen: It is so unfair. What is it about Target that makes people single them out and aim right at the center of their business? And Target is not the only company that could suffer for its beliefs. (Looking at you KKKmart) Now luckily there is a way to keep protesters from organizing these multinational conglomerates. (Legalize marijuana) It turns out corporations don't have to tell us who they're giving money to. They can funnel their money to shell groups to create political advertising for them. I'll let the complainer in chief explain.

        [Video: President Obama: And they don't disclose who's behind the ads. Could be an oil company, could be an insurance company, could be Wall Street, you don't know….You've got these innocuous sounding names like Americans for Prosperity, The Committee for Truth in Politics, or Moms for Motherhood. I made that last one up.]

        Stephen: See! He admits he made his mother up! Where's that birth certificate!? (Or long-form Mother's Day Card!) But even with these anonymous political organizations, there's a risk the voters might find out who the big donors are, say when Joe Camel shows up on the 50. And when the American people know things, it just leads to trouble. So we have to find a way to make our system even more anonymous. (Just say no know) Not knowing which corporations bought political ads is a good starts, so wouldn't it be even better not to know who our politicians are? Like most Americans; I already don't know my Congressman's name, (Rep. Rumpelstiltskin?) and we would never know that there's any corporate influence on legislation if we never new what was in the legislation that Congress votes on. (Congress doesn't) But you know what? That may not be enough ignorance, so just to protect corporations a little more, I don't think we should know what corporations do, or make, or where our products come from. I mean frankly the source of my paper towels should be top secret. (For your plys only) I am happy to imaging that they come from a bi-curious lumberjack. And, ladies and gentlemen, once we're buying nameless products from anonymous corporations who then give that untraceable money to faceless Congressmen to pass unknowable laws, we can truly believe the President when he stands before the country and declares: The state of our union is strong.

        And that's the Word.

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