It’s Friday. And, aside from everyone complaining about the time of year when Congress goes on a long vacation despite not really doing much the rest of the year, it’s a pretty slow news day.
How do political reporters react to this phenomenon? By making some of their favourite jokes on Twitter, of course. Basically, political twitterers have a habit of recycling the same joke over and over and over again.
Here, we catalogue and explain the origin of 17 of the most widely used jokes (in no particular order).(Disclaimer: Most of these are promoted by Slate reporter Dave Weigel.)
1. Obama’s “pivot”
Political reporters — and Republican campaign operatives — love joking about when President Barack Obama makes a “pivot” — particularly if it involves talking about the usually important topic of the economy. Recently, the biggest news is that Obama is planning a slew of speeches tailored to the economy, so:
This joke grew out of the conservative phenomenon that the 2012 election polls were “skewed” in favour of Obama, which turned out not to be the case. So now, every time a poll shows an unexpectedly good result for a Democrat, the jokes come out in full force:
3. “Crucial” Waukesha county
Slate’s Dave Weigel, one of the main perpetrators of this joke about an obscure county in Wisconsin, explains its origins:
In 2011, Democrats thought they had won the state Supreme Court race in WI — the first election since the big union-busting bill. The next day, an uncounted cache of votes from Waukesha County switched the result and the Republican won. Months later, the exact same thing happened in a State Senate race, so they went from thinking they’d won the Senate to not winning it.
In the end, Morsi couldn’t make up for his lack of support in crucial Waukesha County.
— daveweigel (@daveweigel) July 3, 2013
Looking tight on this House vote. Going to come down to crucial Waukesha County.
— daveweigel (@daveweigel) January 2, 2013
Another favourite cliche of political pundits is that the results on Election Day will “all come down to turnout.” These are in jest:
The only poll that matters is the one on the day when it all comes down to turnout.
— Chris Moody (@Chris_Moody) November 5, 2012
Political pundits like to declare “gaffes” during the campaign, but this one really took off when a reporter infamously asked Republican candidate Mitt Romney, “What about your gaffes?!” — the one-year anniversary of which happened to fall on Wednesday.
In which things that have nothing to do with Obama are jokingly blamed on Obama:
Similar to #ObamasAmerica. They’re interchangeable, really:
Dammit now I have Call Me Maybe stuck in my head. THANKS OBAMA.
— Chris Moody (@Chris_Moody) July 30, 2013
In which Obama deserves impeachment, either for things he didn’t do or minuscule things that are not that big of a deal:
9. Arne Duncan
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman made something of an incomprehensible case for Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to be the next Secretary of State last November. So now, political reporters nominate him for just about any and every obscure post:
Arne Duncan for Father of Amanda Bynes’ Children
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) July 4, 2013
Arne Duncan for Fed Chair.
— Matt O’Brien (@ObsoleteDogma) June 18, 2013
Arne Duncan for Mayor of Toronto
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) May 20, 2013
This joke started after Scott Brown’s Senate victory in 2010, when pundits began predicting doom for Democrats that never really ended up being as bad as forecasted.
11. “Smart take”
Use this to snark at things that are obviously not smart takes:
If you actually want to say something is a “smart take,” and don’t intend to be sarcastic, what do you say?
— Blake Hounshell (@blakehounshell) July 6, 2013
Snarking at the grandiosity of the annual Aspen Ideas Festival:
This one sort of speaks for itself. But a lot of it, lately, has involved Anthony Weiner
14. Making fun of “The Newsroom”
This usually involves pointing out that “The Newsroom” covers events two years after the reporters tweeting about them have covered the events:
Romney used to be pro-choice? Man, The Newsroom teaches you so much.
— Dylan Matthews (@dylanmatt) July 29, 2013
Really can’t wait to see how The Newsroom covers the royal baby.
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) July 22, 2013
15. Karl Rove still thinks something could happen.
Karl Rove famously melted down on Election Night last November, refusing to believe something that was 99.9% certain — that Mitt Romney was about to lose the election. Reporters and politicos now like to imagine the other things he thinks still have a chance of happening:
Karl Rove still thinks Morsi has a chance at being president.
— Brett LoGiurato (@BrettLoGiurato) July 3, 2013
Karl Rove still says there’s a chance it might be a girl
— Joseph Weisenthal (@TheStalwart) July 22, 2013
16. Making fun of CNN
Reporters love gaffes. But perhaps the biggest gaffe of all came from CNN during last year’s campaign, when it — along with others — reported incorrectly that the Supreme Court had struck down the Affordable Care Act as unconstitutional.
Now, apparently, they’re getting everything wrong:
cnn reporting no one has the right to vote anymore
— Steve Kovach (@stevekovach) June 25, 2013
CNN now reporting that SCOTUS does NOT take American Express.
— Jason L. Sparks (@sparksjls) June 20, 2013
Wait CNN is reporting the asteroid will miss Earth? This may be cause for alarm.
— Erin Faulk (@erinscafe) May 31, 2013
17. “This is like that scene in ‘The Town.'”
During the debt ceiling fight in 2011, House Republican leadership played a clip of “The Town,” starring Ben Affleck, to rally members around House Majority Leader John Boehner’s plan that ultimately blew up.
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein first mocked it after the plan ultimately failed:
This is like that scene in the Town where they decided to rob the bank later, maybe, and so the screen went dark for a while.
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) July 28, 2011
And now it’s become a way to describe the lack of unity in the House GOP conference:
This is just like that scene in The Town where the gerrymandered white people can’t agree on immigration reform.
— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) July 10, 2013
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