Mitch McConnell tried to prove he was not too creepy to have a drink with by tweeting a photo of himself drinking alone at a bar and offering a passerby a smile and a glass of wine. In a desperate attempt at virality, or perhaps simply to make their boss look cool by comparison, McConnell's campaign team has created a Tumblr in which McConnell fans send in their own photos of themselves drinking alone. The effect of the Tumblr is the opposite of its premise.
This all started last Satrurday at the White House Correspondents' Dinner when Obama joked: "Some folks still don't think I spend enough time with Congress. 'Why don't you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?' they ask… Really? Why don't you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?"
McConnell's comeback came in the form of a photo in which he sits by an empty chair offering the President a glass of red wine because get-it-get-it Obama is a wine-swilling liberal. But the overall effect might remind any female of the exact kind of dude one should avoid in a bar. And drinking alone at a bar is what sad people do. That was the punchline of Obama's McConnell joke: no one wants to drink with him. This photograph does not rebut that punchline!
Yet McConnell's team has invited his fans to do the same, except only sadder. "Submit your #ObamaDrink photo to be automatically entered to win a drink of your choice with Mitch!" reads the instructions on ObamaDrink.tumblr.com. The results will make you cringe.
Take the young man above, who fits the stereotyope of a Republican young person, right down to the boat shoes and Ann Coulter poster on his beige wall. When you see these photos, do you think, "Boy they really zinged Obama!"? No. You think things like: why are these sad people drinking all by themselves? Why are they drinking by themselves at home at their kitchen tables? Don't they own couches? And, why, if only effete liberals drink wine, do they keep so much of the wimpy stuff around?
They are not all at home. Take this guy who appears to be this restaurant's only customer (not counting his buddy in the window reflection).
We feel bad for the rest of these poor souls.
This man would like the President to drop by his house for a drink, but he's not going to get him a wine glass.
It's not the fault of these young men. Political people aren't that funny. They just aren't. Sure, political jokes are funny when they're told by non-political people, but that's because those people are free to offend a wide variety of political constituencies. Political people, on the other hand, have to be conservative -- not in the political sense, but in the human interaction, must-wear-khakis sense -- in order to avoid saying anything embarrassing that will cost them their jobs. They have non-political people write their jokes for them, and then a team of blue-blazer-wearers scan the jokes to make sure nothing's too risky.
Political people also aren't cool. The definition of cool is pretty much exuding an intimidatingly confident sexuality, which political people can never do, because sex scandals are killer. One time Obama accidentally made an oral sex joke, and it was a BFD.
But political people never stop trying. The National Republican Congressional Committee has said it's going to steal from BuzzFeed in an attempt to create viral lists with a conservative message. It is doomed to fail. A recent post is headlined, "Carol Shea-Porter’s Awkward Obamacare Moments (in 7 GIFs)." It begins, "Did you see what happened when Carol Shea-Pelosi . . . err, Carol Shea-Porter went to a New Hampshire manufacturer on a learning tour?" Get it? They put Pelosi's name in Shea-Porter's name on fake-accident, because Pelosi is unpopular with Republicans. Another story is headlined, "7 Tweets That Show Just How Painful Obama’s Press Conference Was." Of the seven tweets, three are from Republican press secretaries. A "trending" post is titled "'The only Keystone I support comes in 6 packs.'" That headline is a quote from a Democratic congressional candidate. It is accompanied by a photo of a shirtless man holding a Mike's Hard Lemonade, which is neither a six-pack nor a beer. The punchline (?) is "Looks like Eggman has already gone Washington." But the photo of the man holding a Mike's Hard Lemonade doesn't look like that at all!
It's understandable that political people would want to try to be funny. Funny things get passed around the Internet, so why not try to attach your political message to funny things? But political people are doomed to being funny only the unintentional way.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.