"Gingrich’s Bold New Idea: Using Twitter To Mock Democrats"
Conservatives love Twitter. Many have embraced it as the future of the Republican party’s outreach to young people. Prolific Tweeter Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) has said that such technology is “the next revolution that’s going to take back the Congress.”
Last night, former House speaker Newt Gingrich — an inspiration to GOP congressional leaders like Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) — promised to use conservatives’ favorite new social media tool to “liveblog at http://newt.org on the obama/jindal speeches at 9pm, i will twitter and they will appear there as well, join us.”
For the most part, he didn’t talk about any of the bold, new ideas he’s been promising. Instead, he used many of his tweets to attack both President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Some examples:
– Nobody messes with joe and the smiles and nancy handshake resembled a democratic pep rally not a state of the union–sophomoric and silly
— Speaker Pelosi standing up to applaud the private jet line while she flies around in a government jet at taxpayer expense verges on bizarre
— Not wanting to burden our chilren with debt is an interesting pledge the week after passing $780 billion in unfunded spending
At one point, Gingrich engaged in brief tit-for-tat with American Prospect writer Dana Goldstein:
Goldstein: @newtgingrich determined to rain on Obama parade. Dude. Elections have consequences.
Gingrich: @DanaGoldstein last election or next election?
Gingrich’s response to Goldstein mirrored other threats by conservatives to politicize the economic recovery package for the 2010 election. Gingrich later added a few tweets that praised Obama, such as: “Energy healthcare and education are powerful zones for americans to focus on and if president obama is willing to innovate we should help,” and “President obamas call for education reform is encouraging and if he is willing to fight for it would be historic.”
However, he was noticeably silent during Lousiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (R) response, despite his promise of live tweets. Many of the commenters at newt.org noticed, writing, “newt lets hear from you” and “Newt what did you think of Jundal [sic]?”
As Matt Yglesias has written, “I love Twitter. I have two Twitter feeds. … It’s important for political movements to embrace new technologies, but part of embracing new technologies is understanding them and actually respecting what they’re for and Twitter is never going to be anything other than an incidental sideshow to political activism.” Earlier this week, The Next Right blogger Jon Henke wondered if perhaps the “Right has flocked to Twitter because they want a community, but have very little to say.”