17 Jokes That All Political Reporters And Junkies Love To Make On Twitter

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.

4. Turnout

Another favourite cliche of political pundits is that the results on Election Day will “all come down to turnout.” These are in jest:

5. Gaffe!

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.

6. #ObamasAmerica

In which things that have nothing to do with Obama are jokingly blamed on Obama:

7. #ThanksObama

Similar to #ObamasAmerica. They’re interchangeable, really:


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:

10. #DemsInDisarray

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:

12. #AspenIdeas

Snarking at the grandiosity of the annual Aspen Ideas Festival:

13. NSFW

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:

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:

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:

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:

And now it’s become a way to describe the lack of unity in the House GOP conference:

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