Joe the Optimist
For Biden, hope springs eternal.
Updated Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2007, at 10:45 AM
Comic relief: One argument for keeping fringe candidates around is that they make the mainstream pack address difficult topics. You could say the same thing about Stephen Colbert's sudden presence in the 2008 race, only in this case he's making them funny.
After a South Carolina newspaper let readers vote on whether John Edwards or Stephen Colbert was actually the state's "favorite son," the Edwards camp issued this rebuttal:
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.
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.
Not bad for a political communications team. Voters like a candidate who can make fun of himself, and Edwards hasn't always fit the bill—see his bristling response to the admittedly ubiquitous coverage of his hair. Poking fun at his anti-corporate, anti-lobby image is a smart move.
Hopefully we'll see Colbert engage the other candidates, too. Something tells me Mitt Romney is already readying the canned-joke assembly line.
Oct. 26, 2007
Cap Fendig is the fringe man's Mike Huckabee. The Republican presidential candidate wants to keep the troops in Iraq, supports the fair tax, and promotes pro-life policies. But while Huckabee's profile continues to rise, Cap Fendig is hoping to grab four percent of the votes in Iowa, at most. That's what happens when the highest public office you've held is county commissioner.
The 53-year-old man certainly looks presidential, and speaks in a southern drawl that would make John Edwards swoon. His high-quality Web site has pictures of him and his wife looking like the all-American couple—complete with an out-of-focus background to imply Fendig is a stark contrast to the murky America that surrounds us all.
Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.
Photographs of: Cap Fendig courtesy Cap Fendig; screenshot of The Huffington Post.