One blogger’s personal bridge to nowhere

Twittering Republicans

In the midst of this somewhat silly Michelle Cottle article on the even sillier CNN “reality show” about freshmen Representatives, I found this surprising nugget:

While the culture of reality television, YouTube, and Twitter has put down roots on both sides of the congressional aisle, Republicans seem to be embracing it in disproportionate numbers. (At last count, GOP Twitterers on the Hill outnumbered Democratic users by more than two to one.) [emphasis mine]

The explanation of one of the featured legislators, Republican Jason Chaffetz of Utah, is that, since Republicans can’t legislate, they have to “win the communications battle.” I don’t doubt that this is why Republicans should be using new media (except doing so in actually effective ways, rather than, say, complaining about beaver management and sending shitty emails, might help), but I don’t think this explains the unexpected phenomenon.

I’d venture that Republicans — the party of old white men whose presidential candidate, an old white man par excellence, admitted he did not know how to use a computer — are exhibiting the same tendency as old media celebrity types everywhere: make sure to mention Twitter, smirk about it, and show how hip and “with it” you are by knowing that the correct verb form of “twitter” is to twat tweet. By embracing in particular the newest, and easiest, form of social media, they can try to distract from their extant stodginess in a flurry of tweets. I don’t think it’s going to work.


May 6, 2009 - Posted by | Conservatives, media | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I think it’s more pernicious than that, and this gets to my generally negative attitude towards political tweeting, at least in its current form. I think Twitter is the optimal medium for expressing mindless opposition to the President’s agenda. The now infamous “Beaver Management” tweet by McCain is a classic example of this. Beaver management sounds kinda funny, so why not write a tweet saying “hey, the President wants to spend money on this funny sounding thing, isn’t that ridiculous?” The reality is that most Republican talking points can be fit into 140 characters because they aren’t substantive or based on anything more than the most superficial evidence. I haven’t spent time looking at a lot of Republican tweets, but I feel like a lot of recent Republican memes could expressed best in tweets, Imagine:
    -“Obama is a socialist. He’s raising taxes. We should teabag America in protest.”
    -“Talking to Iran is like Neville Chamberlain. Obama is an appeaser”
    -“Obama wants to raise Joe the Plumbers taxes, Republicans want to lower them”
    -“Jeremiah Wright and Barack Obama think God should damn America”

    Twitter allows Republicans to spew out silly criticisms of Obama and his agenda, and then fall back on the 140-character limit if anyone calls them out on the superficiality of them.

    Comment by Tim | May 6, 2009 | Reply

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