I know it seems like there are a lot of very important things going on the world for both the people who are connected to the policymaking apparatus and the people who cover people connected to the policymaking apparatus to be doing right now, what with the wars, the economy, the immigration reform and the debate over our sprawling and unaccountable surveillance system.
But this is apparently all wrong, because a few bros really got up to ranking on each other on Twitter the other day and Politico wrote about 1,700 words about it, billing it as something that it most definitely is not: "a glimpse at the real-time battle for the Senate being waged from party headquarters in Washington."
Republican Brad Dayspring suggests Democrat Justin Barasky is mentally ill and offers to send over “a big bottle” of anti-depressants. Barasky’s boss, Matt Canter, likens Dayspring to a rabid dog. Dayspring calls Barasky a “stalker.” Barasky called him the same thing a day later.
Sounds like a real "The Collected Correspondences of John Adams." Who are these people? You probably don't know and that is 100% OK; you win the morning. Dayspring is or was an aide to Rep. Eric Cantor, who I now only hear about when he's doing this kind of stuff on Twitter. I think I've heard of Matt Canter, but I don't know for sure. I've no idea who Justin Barasky is, and I'm actually very proud of that, and I'm mad at this article for suggesting that he is a person I should even remotely care about.
All three of these people are important to very cloistered insiders. Voters could not pick these people out of a lineup, and while they could theoretically do things that better the candidates they support, and win them votes, it's pretty significant that they only score a big article when they are limply playing the dozens on Twitter. I'm presuming that the Republicans and Democrats have other people in their employ doing useful things. Perhaps I presume too much.
Anyway, these guys did a whole game-changing Twitter battle that will definitely alter electoral outcomes, provided that none of the traditional things that affect electoral outcomes do it first.
Here is some of their bullshit:
Even the most seemingly minor development in a Senate race — X Senate prospect decided not to run in Y state — can spark a sandbox spat. After a recent story in The Hill about Republicans’ troubles getting choice candidates to run, Dayspring tweeted that his Democratic counterpoints suffered from “schizophrenia.” He wrote he was “seriously considering” sending a bottle of Xanax, the anti-depressant, to DSCC press secretary Barasky.
Barasky responded with a link to a story about Dayspring’s departure from Cantor’s office.
“I’ll make it a big bottle,” Dayspring shot back.
No matter how many Senators attribute their loss in 2014 to this exchange, you should definitely, definitely NOT treat schizophrenia with Xanax.
“You spelled ‘smokey’ wrong,” Dayspring tweeted.
“can u spell colorado?” Canter responded.
Yes, this is highly reminiscent of the wit of the Algonquin Round Table, if we're talking about the wit that ensues when a person has the Algonquin Round Table dropped on them from a very great height.
And some more:
Dayspring then cited Democratic failures to recruit top-tier candidates in a trio of red states. “You’re the loud fan who celebrates after the 1st inning,” he tweeted at Canter.
You’re “the fan who vomits on himself after the 7th,” Canter responded.
“Well, at least you think I’m smart enough to wait for the 7th inning stretch,” said Dayspring.
I don't want to go to a baseball game with any of these people.
There are a lot of assertions in the article, made by various parties, purporting to prove that this is a good use of their time.
“The ability to knock an opponent off balance, whether in sports or politics, is an important aspect of winning,” [Dayspring] said in an interview. “Twitter can be used effectively for that.”
No, it can't.
“There has certainly been a shift in the tone from the previous team there, but obviously it’s not personal,” said Canter. “Every Senate race has its own DNA, and they turn on issues that have nothing to do with the back-and-forth on Twitter. We do our best to stay focused on that.”
No, you don't.
“It’s a constant campaign on Twitter, and for the niche audience that wants to follow the constant campaign it’s a unique insight into the mind of each campaign and campaign committee,” he said. “The audience for that might be 100 people. I’m just making up a number, but it’s an important 100 people.”
This is also very wrong.
“[Dayspring] is a Republican propagandist with a reputation for promoting his agenda at all costs and for trashing his adversaries,” said Rothenberg. “He enjoys verbal combat and acts as if every battle is a nuclear war.”
The Jay-Z lyric that comes to mind is: "You know the type, loud as a motor bike, but wouldn't bust a grape in a fruit fight."
Republicans say the trash-talking exchanges give them street cred with the GOP base (read: conservative bloggers), which has tended to view party brass in D.C. with suspicion, if not outright disdain. Dayspring, a former hockey player who loves to drop the gloves, says it’s a key way to rally conservative activists and drive a message that other Republicans can emulate.
Democrats mostly seem to want to show they won’t be pushed around by a schoolyard bully though they, too, say their Twitter activity is helping keep activists engaged.
The next person to win an election because bloggers or Twitter followers were excited or engaged or pumped up or whatever will be the first person.
Here is a true thing that someone said on Twitter.
Oh, also: I'm sure you could fire all these assholes and the outcome of next year's Senate races would be unchanged. politico.com/story/2013/06/…
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) June 11, 2013
So Twitter is not all bad.
[Would you like to follow me on Twitter? Because why not?]