The District’s fights for voting rights could go prime time after David Letterman departs the “Late Show” desk.
According to Mashable , CBS’s top choice to replace Letterman is Stephen Colbert — the comedian/satirist who considers Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., his “nemesis.”
Despite “The Colbert Report” host’s mock-adversarial relationship with Norton, she told CQ Roll Call that Colbert has “probably done more than any human being to alert the country to the fact that we don’t have the same rights as others.”
He’s achieved that by inviting Norton on his show and mercilessly ridiculing her. Norton quarreled with Colbert in July 2006 about the correct pronunciation of his last name and whether the nation’s capital is part of the United States of America. As part of Colbert’s recurring Better Know a District segment, he jokingly challenged the disenfranchised delegate to defend her voting record.
“You have not voted once while you’ve been in office,” Colbert said to Norton, then in her eighth term. “You want to address that?”
In February 2009 , Colbert invited Norton back to his studio to talk about prospects for a bill sponsored by then-Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut that would have given D.C. a vote in Congress.
Colbert called the bill “blatantly unconstitutional” and introduced Norton to his TV nation as “the fake congresswoman from Washington, D.C.” She promised him a key to the city if the bill became law.
Over the years, the two have become good friends, so much so that Norton tried to recruit the comedian as a drinking buddy. When the D.C. bar The Passenger created a shot in her honor, Norton invited Colbert to come throw back an “Eleanor’s Revenge.”
Though Colbert loves to mock Norton and D.C.’s lack of congressional voting rights on his show, he’s also advocated for the cause. In 2009, she recruited him to film a special message for DC Vote’s annual gala.
How might CBS placing Colbert behind the “Late Night” desk help advance District equality? Norton thinks it would “undoubtedly” give the topic more national publicity.
”I don’t know If Stephen Colbert will make it to prime-time late night television,” she said on Tuesday. “All I can say is, if he does, undoubtedly more people will know about taxation without representation in their own nation’s capital.”