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Why I want to be Stephen Colbert's running mate

I want to be a part of Stephen Colbert's historic monument to inclusion. I want to be his vice president.

Why, you ask, does the native South Carolinian - comedian, pundit, and self-promoter extraordinaire, who is running for "president of the United States from South Carolina" on both party tickets - need a vice president when he is perfectly capable of being not just chief executive but his own entire cabinet?

Because there are skills that even Mr. Colbert does not have, and I can provide them. I have the vice-presidential ability to blend into the background when the headliner speaks. I behave well at funerals. I think I could even refrain from rejoicing at the funerals of political opponents.

Candidates for high office write a manifesto or have a ghost writer pen a book in their name. Colbert is nicely prepared with his new title: "I Am America (And So Can you)!" If chosen, I will quickly finish my campaign book: "It Takes a Leadership Village to Audaciously Hope to Eradicate Palmetto Bugs."

Presidential nominees often choose running mates that bring some geographic diversity to the ticket. I grew up in a completely different part of the Carolina low country from Colbert. I can even understand people from Charleston when they speak.

Since Colbert is planning to run in both party primaries, I have an advantage here, too: I have voted in both the Democratic and Republican primaries in South Carolina ... in the same year.

I've eaten in Waffle Houses from Charleston to Powdersville.

Vice presidents are useful when they offset some of their opponents' appeal. Like Fred Thompson, I drive a truck. Unlike Fred Thompson, I would campaign.

I am familiar with all three major styles of Carolina barbecue and can drop names. I'm savvy enough to know that if someone mentions a straw poll here, the correct response is: round or square bales?

am comfortable riding in the back of a classic convertible and waving at crowds at local South Carolina celebrations, which would include both watermelon festivals, the Grits Festival, and the Chitlin Strut.

I've eaten in Waffle Houses from Charleston to Powdersville.

Lastly, even the most casual fan of "The Colbert Report" knows that Stephen Colbert has characteristics so novel that he has had to coin new terms to name them, like "truthy" and "gutley." To be a worthy running mate, I, too, would need a new lexicon (not that Colbert would use a word like lexicon, since it sounds too Old Europe).

Where Colbert is "Lincolnish," I will be "Agnewy."

James Tuten, a native of Varnville, S.C., is assistant professor of history at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa.