Don Davis

When Sanity's Gone There's Always Satire

Filed By Don Davis | August 01, 2011 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, comedy, Congress, debt ceiling, Democrats, economic policy, election campaigns, humorous blog post, Medicare, politics, Republicans, Satire, snark, Social Security, Twitter, White House

WhiteHouseTwitter.jpgSo everybody's hearing the news, right?

There is a tentative debt ceiling deal, and this Administration and Congressional Democrats seem to have won everything they wanted: Republicans get to have multiple "we don't approve" votes before 2012 on raising the debt ceiling, there won't be any new revenue, there's going to be another "hostage-taking" event around Christmastime, for many Democrats the issue of the Ryan Budget and the dismantling of Medicare is likely off the table for the 2012 electoral cycle, and the Administration seems to have figured out a way to not involve itself in shaping the way that entitlement reform will work out.

All in all, it's some pretty slick negotiating, and I'm sure this Administration and Democratic Congressional leaders must be very proud.

Even on bad days, however, you gotta have some fun, and that's why I'm encouraging everyone to take a minute today to say #thanksalot.

"This is tremendous, Don, just tremendous. The atmosphere heavy, uncertain, overtones of ugliness; a reminder in a way of how it was in March of 1964, at Miami Beach, when Clay met Liston for the first time and nobody was certain how it would turn out."

--Howard Cosell, from the Woody Allen movie "Bananas"

There are a thousand other people today who will detail exactly where this went wrong, but I'm all about at least sending some kind of message; in order to say "thanks a lot" I've been tweeting satire to the White House, and I'm hoping you'll take some time today to do the same thing, using the #thanksalot hashtag.

"But I don't Twibble, or Twister, or whatever they do on twitter", you might say "and I don't really get how it works".

No problem.

If you want to send a message to a twitter user, you just put an "@" in front of their name, as in @whitehouse, usually right at the beginning of your message.

Hashtags are keywords that allow for lots of similar messages to be located, all together; when you put an "#" in front of a "word" it becomes a hashtag, as in #thanksalot or #arentyoutiredof. Popular hashtags become "trending" hashtags, and that's one way how you make a big public statement on twitter ("Retweeting" someone else's message is another way it's done; retweeting and the sending of hastagged messages often occur symbiotically.)

Just to get you in the sarcastic spirit of the thing, here are some of the Tweets I've sent so far today:

@whitehouse Obama visits fallen building, a collapsed trench, and Carlsbad Caverns; says he'll "never cave" on debt deal. #thanksalot

@whitehouse republicans propose "logan's run," obama seeks reasonable compromise. #thanksalot

@whitehouse offers 1 Wet-Nap for each American thrown under bus yesterday; Republicans protest new "entitlement" #thanksalot

@whitehouse Prozac pill commits suicide; says in note that White House caving once again is "too depressing" #thanksalot

@whitehouse To avoid uncertainty in December, Obama Administration announces today they're caving on Bush tax cut extension #thanksalot

@whitehouse Dec. 23, 2011-Boehner: "We'll agree to revenue increases when both houses have a clean vote to repeal Obamacare..." #thanksalot

@whitehouse Dec 25, 2011-Administration announces entitlement compromise: cat food now food stamp-eligible #thanksalot

@whitehouse Obama Administration announces they prefer to negotiate with hostage-takers: "It makes us feel less guilty..." #thanksalot

@whitehouse Obama Administration "feels America's pain", announces nationwide program to distribute K-Y after debt deal #thanksalot

@whitehouse is there some sort of political viagra that could make obama "stand firm," just once? #thanksalot

At this point it looks like the only way this stinker goes down is if House Democrats vote against this bill and take the "Debt Ceiling Sword of Damocles" that the President has placed over their heads and put it right back on his, forcing either a 14th Amendment solution or a "clean" debt limit increase; if they do they not only stop this next hostage-taking dead in its tracks, but they create, for this Administration, the same level of fear that the Tea Party has today, and if that happens, then we move into the next stage of debt reduction negotiations from a position of strength.

If they fail to stop this deal, then when Medicare gets whacked in December the Democrats become co-conspirators - and at that point, for a Congressional Democrat up for reelection in '12 it's gonna be either go down with all the other incumbents or run against Obama.

And at that point, the most interesting political question might be: Did Obama depress turnout enough to cause Democrats to lose even more seats in Congress, or, when the details are better-known, is there going to be a huge "throw out all the bastards" vote that hammers Republicans just as ferociously as it does Democrats?

And what about Michelle Bachmann?

I don't know, but it should be quite a soap opera between now and then, so stay tuned, make sure to say #thanksalot, and then do it a few times more, and most importantly of all, try to have as much fun in a bad situation as you can.

After all, as long as it's happening to everyone else, it's still comedy; until it finally does hit you, it's not yet officially tragedy.

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Hey Don, just sent out this tweet but you probably won't get it via Twitter (the old Twitter thing about you can only direct message your followers, but the tweet still shows up in your searches), so I'm posting it here:

ajlopp Allen J. Lopp
@fakeconsultant U wrote this whole @bilericoproject post & didn't tell us ur Twitter username? Took fair bit of work 2 find it! #thanksalot
17 seconds ago Favorite Reply Delete

that was spot-on, and as we now know i can be founbd, with some effort, @fakeconsultant.

Jay Kallio | August 1, 2011 6:13 PM

I don't think tweets are effective at all. They haven't been working so far. The results are "bad, getting worse." Electronic "activism" seems utterly ineffective, and is so easily ignored. The only opinions respected by either party are those with the money to exert brute force behind them.

i don't know about that: for example, it is fair to note that the presence of the gAyTM did help move dadt repeal...but so did electronic organizing before and during the lame duck session.

you can also look overseas to see how the twitter can have a disproportionate impact, especially as an organizing tool - and in a message war, those tools matter.

and let's not forget that big money behind a candidate can be as harmful as it is helpful; you don't have to take my word for that, by the way...just have a talk with jerry brown or barbara boxer some time and see what they have to say about money and the certainty of elections.

so it could be worse, but we do have tools to use if people get upset enough - but the real question is whether voters will get as upset about this as lbgt voters do about civil rights issues.
so what do we do now?

just to provide another example of how organizing can get results, check out this allen west story.