When Politicians Tweet One-Liners
From political gaffes to offensive digs, Hilary Clinton isn’t the only Washington figure using social media to send out zingers in 140 characters or less.
Take that, FOX.
Hillary Clinton’s Super Bowl tweet went viral Sunday night. The former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State (as well as presumed front runner for the Democratic nomination in 2016) expressed her delight over not being the target of a FOX broadcast for once.
It’s since been retweeted over 55,000 times, but Clinton isn’t the first politician to gain attention for her tweets. The following 10 politicos have leveraged social media for added attention and even notoriety.
The octogenarian Iowa Senator has become an active Twitter user, gaining attention for his complaints about the History Channel’s programming or about the University of Northern Iowa’s sports teams. But he truly took the social media world by storm when he blasted out a tweet about running over a deer while driving in 2012. “Assume deer dead,” Grassley wrote. It then became the basis for innumerable Internet jokes.
Perhaps no member of Congress has made more ample use of social media than two-term Michigan congressman Justin Amash. The iconoclastic, 33-year-old libertarian-leaning Republican from Western Michigan boasts a Twitter profile that reads: “I have the highest ratio of sweet to not-so-sweet tweets of any member of Congress.” Amash also explains each and every vote he takes on his Facebook page, which he pointed out on Twitter—a blast we can only presume to be one of his “sweet” tweets.
#bqhatevwr? That was a viral trend started by former Massachusetts senator Scott Brown in January, 2013. Brown, who is now mulling a bid to return to the U.S. Senate from New Hampshire, repeatedly tweeted “whatever” in response to Internet critics. But, at one point, his fingers slipped and he wrote “bqhatevwr” instead. Brown later claimed that the since deleted tweets were simply accidental pocket tweets but others have accused the once, and perhaps future, senator of “drunktweeting” instead.
The New Jersey senator and former Newark mayor has become a social media celebrity who seemingly tweets every waking minute. While still serving in Newark’s City Hall, Booker gained fame for responding to seemingly every complaint he received on social media. Tweet at him about a pothole or if your street wasn’t plowed in a snow storm and he’ll be on it. However, he wasn’t willing to help everyone. A gentleman named Lee Daly from Dublin, Ireland asked Booker for help with a pothole in front of his house. The Newark mayor referenced Jay-Z in explaining why there wasn’t anything he could do to help.
Some congressmen say offensive things on Twitter. Others commit embarrassing political gaffes. But perhaps the worst was when Jim Himes (D-CT) praised the Black Eyed Peas Super Bowl halftime show in 2011. The performance received almost uniformly terrible reviews. (Turns out, no one wanted to see Fergie and Slash from Guns ’n’ Roses duet.) But Himes, on the other hand, found it “one hell of” a show, and didn’t shy away from publicizing that.
Just before Barack Obama walked into the House Chamber to deliver the State of the Union last week, first-term Texas Republican Randy Weber tweeted that the president was a socialistic dictator. While the tweet got less attention after the speech because of Staten Island Republican Michael Grimm’s confrontation with a reporter, it still got more than its fair share of coverage during the President’s otherwise mundane address to Congress.
Forget political agendas or communicating with constituents, former Alaska governor and reality television star Sarah Palin used social media to invent a word. In a since-deleted tweet in 2010, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee wrote, “Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate.” “Refudiate,” you see, is not a word. It soon became one, however, once the New Oxford American Dictionary named it the 2010 “word of the year.”
A two-term Democratic senator from Missouri, Claire McCaskill, has quickly established herself as one of the foremost political personalities on Twitter, using the medium to share a host of goofy thoughts, such as complaining about the variety of Triscuit brands when she just wanted a regular cracker.
Mark Takano, a first-term Democratic congressman from California discovered a terrible surprise after wrongfully assuming that hip new forms of social media are exclusive to liberals like himself. So when Rand Paul joined Snapchat in mid-January, he prompted tweeted about his disappointment.
Tom Massie, a libertarian-leaning Republican from Kentucky, jumped on the “doge” meme in December to attack the bipartisan omnibus budget. The bill, which passed both the House and the Senate by huge margins, did not meet the first-term congressman’s approval. With a picture of a cute dog, he wrote “Much bipartisanship. Very spending. Wow.”