The last thing We As a People need is more legislators focused on owning their critics with sick burns on garbage social media.
But this is the path we chose in 2016. And so now we must trudge on, to whatever dark place it takes us.
That dark place, it turns out, is “Twitter boot camp” for our leaden congressional class. It’s the demon offspring of Donald J. Trump and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She was a proud mom today:
Lieu is joking about not knowing what a selfie is. Maybe. Hopefully.
My hot take: Approximately 98 percent of the reason this event existed was to give aging Dems an excuse to kiss up to Ocasio-Cortez and maybe grab a photo with her for the benefit of constituents back home. They don’t need to know how to post on Twitter. They have staffers AOC’s age who can do that for them. But they have good reason to get to know the party’s new star, who really is a full-fledged phenomenon. Her first House floor speech last night, a straightforward lament about hardships caused by the shutdown, set the record for most views for a clip posted by C-SPAN on its Twitter account with more than a million in 12 hours. As much as the attention lavished on her may annoy the rest of her caucus, particularly the moderates, she’s a useful friend for the average Dem to have. It might spare him an AOC-backed primary challenger down the road. If he’s really nice, she might lend a hand with fundraising.
I haven’t found video but ABC was there writing down her advice. Some of it was wise:
“If you don’t know what a meme is don’t post a meme.”…
“If you’re an older woman, talk like an older woman talks.”…
“It’s not the kitchen that’s popular, or the cooking that’s popular, it’s that I’m engaging people doing something I’m already doing.”
Some of it was not so wise:
“The top tip, I think, is really to be yourself and to really write your own tweets so that people know it’s you talking,” Ocasio-Cortez told ABC News after emerging from class.
She was addressing a bunch of middle-aged professional politicians. Whatever else you want to tell a group like that, for cripes sake don’t tell them to be themselves.
Some of the advice was … confused:
“Jonathan Dingell is amazing on Twitter, absolutely amazing.”
Who’s “Jonathan” Dingell? Ah well, you know who she means. And she’s right, he does have an unusually lively Twitter presence for a politician (an ex-politician, I should say). Especially one who was approaching retirement age when AOC was born.
The bottom line is this: In the future every pol with national ambitions will have a wearisome, theatrically pugnacious Twitter presence and/or a wearisome, laboriously “relatable” livestream presence. Frankly, the future is now. And it could be worse. Everyone in Congress could be writing Beto-style emo journal entries instead.