There have been two famous Tony Perkinses. Last night, Stephen Colbert interviewed the scarier of the two, the head of the conservative Christian think-tank the Family Research Council.
I was slow coming around to the Colbert Report interviews. Part of the reason, I now understand, is that I never watched O'Reilly, so I never really appreciated what a lovingly detailed skewering of that program the Colbert Report was. My loss.
But one of the mysteries of the Report is that right-wingers continue to come on as guests. I would be fascinated to understand the thinking behind their decision to do so. Is it that Colbert's access to the 18-35 demo is simply too good to pass up, regardless of the personal price? Is it that they imagine they can outwit and outmaneuver one of the top satirists currently in the business? Is it that they don't understand that it is satire, incorrectly imagining that the Report is safe haven--and thus are unprepared for a host who will gleefully drag them to an even more extreme-right position, if he can?
Whatever the reason, last night Perkins appeared on the Report to promote his new book. The result--centering around a discussion of gay marriage--can't have done Perkins much good, although it was funny as hell. (Scroll down to the Perkins interview.)
Perkins can't have sold a single copy of his book with this appearance; what was the idea?
In any case, Perkins' mounted head will be hanging next to Bill Kristol and Dinesh D'Souza, among others, in Colbert's trophy room.
(Note: Now that Viacom has bullied all Report and Daily Show clips off of YouTube, the least they could do is add the code so that they can be embedded from their proprietary sites. They can't seriously imagine that it would hurt ad revenue or viewership to get free promotion from the blog world--especially since the video clips have built-in commercials [viewers may be exposed to the oxygen-wasting Mo Rocca following the Colbert clip, for which I can only express my sincere regrets]?)
(Hat tip to Doctor TV, who noted "Perkins looks like he doesn't know what hit him.")