Updated: Dec. 14, 6:07PM
Why put off till tomorrow what you can do today?
Perhaps that’s what individuals seeking to donate to Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert’s political action committee Americans For A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow will be asking themselves if they stumble upon a newly formed — and similarly named — super PAC called Americans For A Better Tomorrow, Today.
There’s no actual connection between Colbert’s ‘super PAC’ — which the comedian has used as a means to sarcastically advocate for fewer restrictions on money in politics — and Americans For A Better Tomorrow Today, which filed its paperwork with the Federal Election Commission last week. But Todd Bailey, custodian of records and treasurer for the new group, said Colbert had “raised a lot of awareness around the issue” and provided his (mostly anonymous) clients with an opportunity.
“We felt like there was some momentum there, so we wanted to seize the momentum and bring more attention to our effort, which is very serious,” Bailey told TPM.
“But what better way to get recognition than to ride the coattails of an extremely popular comedian in this country?” Bailey asked, calling to mind Colbert’s ongoing series “Who’s Riding My Coattails Now?”
Headquartered in Vermont, Americans For A Better Tomorrow Today will focus on five issues, according to Bailey: “Truly progressive tax policies, higher education college loans, recent graduate issues and the extreme debt and expense of higher education; cleaner energy; economic security; and collective bargaining rights for unions.”
Sounds less Stephen Colbert and more Occupy Wall Street, right? Bailey said his clients are supportive of the Occupy movement but wouldn’t necessarily focus on every one of their issues.
Besides Bailey, the only other named member of the group is Bob Stannard, a blues singer whose website features a review calling him “One of Vermont’s greatest Blues harp players.”
Stannard, who was a Vermont legislator in the early 80s and has lobbied on a number of issues (most recently working on closing a nuclear power plant), brought the idea to the table, Bailey said.
In an interview, Stannard said he decided to form the group because — as a man in his golden years who lived through the 1960s era — he’s “been kind of sitting back for 30 years waiting for the younger generation of this country to get angry again.”
“I will tell you, PACs and ‘super PACs’ are what they are. I understand why people don’t like them, but my sense was that if you don’t have the ball, you don’t score points. And if you’re not suited up, you’re not playing the game,” Stannard said. “And you’ve got to be in the game, even if it might be an unfortunate one, if you’re going to have any impact.”
Stannard said he hopes the group will get involved in all aspects of the political process, from supporting candidates to running political advertisements to promoting issues
“It’s just like any other PAC, except we think we’re doing the right thing. I’m sure people on the other side think they’re doing the right thing too, that’s great, they’re entitled to their opinion,” Stannard said. “The only difference has been that people on my side of the issue so far haven’t been willing to put their toe into this water.”
Noting that the leaderless Occupy movement was “very careful about their messaging,” Bailey said they wanted “to be conscious of that and not step on too many toes in the Occupy Wall Street movement,” so they decided not to name their PAC after the Occupy Wall Street movement directly.
The group has reserved the domain Occupy2012PAC.com and is working on its first comercial, both of which they hope will be ready sometime next week. And Stannard said Colbert should watch his back.
“How am I going to hang onto Stephen Colbert’s coattails if he doesn’t even have a coat when I’m done with him?” Stannard said.