The political satirist urges them to write-in "Rick Parry" during the Ames Straw Poll

Tonight in Iowa, television viewers will see the above advertisement from a SuperPAC urging them to write in a particular candidate during the Ames Straw Poll. The lucky pol? Texas Governor Rick Perry -- although technically, the ad urges Iowans to write in the name "Rick Parry."

Is this some sort of joke?

Well, yes.

It's the work of Stephen Colbert, who earlier this year got approval to form a SuperPAC, which allows him to raise unlimited money to influence Election 2012. Here's an excerpt from his press release:

 "I called dibs on Rick Parry a long time ago," said Stephen Colbert, President and Assistant Equipment Manager for Colbert Super PAC. "I recognized that he's got the tough talk, the cowboy boots, and the history-of-shooting-coyotes-during-morning-jogs that our country needs. So if anybody is going to be taking unlimited donations and then not be coordinating with his campaign, it's going to be not us. So to prove we're truly uncoordinated, we're asking voters to write in Parry with an A - as in America, IowA, or PresidAnt. You can feel confident he's not asking us to do that."

If there's any part of the political process that's especially deserving of mockery, it's televised campaign commercials. If Colbert's satire causes more American voters to take them less seriously, it'll be a significant civic contribution.