Martin Bashir | December 07, 2012
>>> the decision on who will replace demint falls to south carolina governor and friend of the show nikki haley . but who will she pick? let's see, you want somebody young, somebody conservative, somebody from south carolina , maybe somebody who had a super pac. wait a second.
>> yes, senator stephen colbert . and it makes perfect sense now that jim demint is leaving. so why not fill the vacancy for south carolina 's funniest favorite son? now, you may scoff at the very idea, but so did some at the idea of an idea of senator al franken and california congressman sonny bono and i take it you remember our 40th president, ronnie wilson reagan. it's not that farfetched. mr. colbert 's only real trouble, he'd have to stand to the right of jim demint . joining us now is ari melber, a correspondent for "the nation" and an msnbc contributor and professor michael eric dyson from georgetown university and an msnbc political analyst . ari, if i can begin with you. why not replace one comic actor with another.
>> what i love what stephen colbert does, he reminds us of the many absurdityiies we matake for granted.
>> well, colbert brings star power . a go p lobbyist telling roll call that dememint will have the star power of ben affleck . is that right. is he now the ben affleck of the tea party ? another insider said demint is the ceo of conservatism.
>> it's hollywood for ugly people in washington. that's the old saying.
>> it is.
>> i think there is sort of -- it's sort of insane to me the way we've been talking about jim demint leaving the senate. for one thing this idea of him as a star. he's not a star legislator. he didn't pass any bills.
>> i believe he's 0 for 35.
>> exactly. so he may be a star of other things and there are people who use the senate as a platform to do sort of broader advocacy rather than legislation, but he's not a star there. he doesn't have a legislative record there. it makes perfect sense to me he would go elsewhere.
>> professor dyson, what do you think? jur a man of letters, an academic. you take the political process very seriously. would somebody like stephen colbert standing for the senate make a mockery of the political system ?
>> well, if he could make a mockery ever his fellow conservatives that he plays on television, that would be good enough for me. that would be an enhancement to democracy. the difference between say be a al franken or a ronald reagan is that their political bona fides were born on the sleeve. we knew what they were about and what they stood for and what they believed. stephen colbert plays a figure that lampoons and mocks the, if you will, excesses of the republicans and the conservatives. so as a result of that, if he were to take that side show to the senate and was able to draw to them attention about all of the crazy stuff that they've been doing, that would serve democracy in a fundamental way.
>> professor dyson, when you describe stephen colbert , he sounds very similar to jim demint .
>> i demint to say that. the point is that, yeah, there is unintended parity with mr. demibt perhaps and there's intentional parity with mr. colbert .
>> absolutely. thank you for the clarification, sir. ari, when asked why he wants to run a think tank , this is what jim demint told a " washington post " reporter.
>> i'm a policy nerd. when you think of jim demint , do you think of policy nerd? what's nerdiest about him? women's rights, gay rights , union rights?
>> i don't think him as a policy nerd and i don't think he was a policy leader. i do think to give him his due analytically, he was politically important, and did he something that both parties need because of gerrymandering and because of the partisanship in the system, he helped drive competitive primaries. at this point in our history we have high participation but low democracy because we have such undemocratic and uncompetitive general elections , and we have a lot of other problems in the system. he's a part of most of those problems. he infamously promised to put a hold, that is to threaten to filibuster, every piece of legislation in the senate which goes back to the problem of him not being a serious or a leader in that pbody. but the good part of the tea party , whatever you think of their values, was that we had more competitive races than usual, and in some cases we had ideas tested and exposed and i think that's good for the process. in that regard i give him more credit than other establishment lead whose would never allow democracy in a primary.
>> would you give him credit for promoting christine o'donnell, todd akin and other individuals?
>> no, that's would have to be demerits. there's no gold star , but a swift kick in the pants so to speak. i think mr. melber's point is exactly right. that unintended consequences , nevertheless can have positive results. the reality is that if he is, indeed, forged that new competitive spirit legislatively speaking where people are competing over a particular spot in the senate or in congress because of ideas and that those ideas mean something to actually existing people, then that is for -- all for the good. the reality, however, is that mr. demint did not promote ideas or people who were edifying in the broad spectrum of ideas for american society . i think by exposing some of the bitter contradictions that led to some of the political from a fracases we saw in america. i wouldn't hail him for his choices. i would hail him for his ability to put a spotlight on some of the contradictions and spot lights.
>> i think we should be thankful for when he said when he said being less dependent on government makes you more dependent on god. gentlemen,