Politics & Policy

Obama’s Twitter: An Infomercial for Himself

(Timur Emek/Getty Images)
On social media, he shows what really matters to this White House.

More than half of the 117 tweets from the president’s account so far this fall have been about either climate change or minimum wage. He has tweeted once about Ebola and zero times about the Islamic State.

He also tweeted just once about women’s issues — twice if you count the “Breast Cancer Awareness” tweet that public figures are expected to make during October — but that’s okay. After all, if I had to hear any more bragging about “free” birth control I might actually lose my mind. And by “free,” I mean: If you pay $3,000 per year for overpriced health insurance plus co-pays for doctors visits, you can have this birth control aaaaabs-o-lutely free!

If you think that sounds like a late-night infomercial, that’s because President Obama approaches the presidency like a dude on a late-night infomercial. And he seems to have trained whoever runs his Twitter account to do exactly the same thing.

President Obama stopped tweeting about women because he no longer has anything he needs to sell to women. He got the votes and the Obamacare signups. Ebola and the Islamic State are missing from the feed because he has nothing to sell there, either.

But climate change? That’s different. The deadline for Americans to support his draconian EPA carbon regulations was Tuesday so he was really hitting it hard this week:

“This is one meaningful way you can fight climate change now!”

“This is a big moment in the fight against climate change — stick it to climate change deniers by adding your name!”

“LAST CALL: Add your name tonight to tell the EPA you support cutting carbon pollution.”

In fact, unless you count the obligatory Nobel Peace Prize tweet, a push for Obamacare signups and a video of his wife, Michelle, dancing around with a turnip with the hashtag #TurnipForWhat, climate change and minimum wage are the only things the president’s account has been mentioning since Friday.

Also since Friday, two health-care workers have contracted Ebola in the United States, and ISIS has been drawing dangerously close to Baghdad in an escalating war. But the president’s account seems more focused on hawking his pet projects.

Did you know that for the low-low price of business-crushing regulations, you can count on the EPA to single-handedly alter the course of the universe? Call now, and we’ll throw in a raise with our new federal minimum-wage hike! (Job losses not included.)

Of course, government regulations can’t change the fate of the planet any more than you can change your life by calling Miss Cleo now for a free tarot reading. But perhaps that’s why both of them try so hard to convince you otherwise.

And the account’s focus on climate change isn’t some sort of fluke in the performance of his social-media manager — it’s standard operation.

For example: March 31 was the deadline for Obama for America donations and Obamacare signups. The entire week before that deadline, all but two — yes, two — of his 120-some tweets were desperate attempts to get people to commit. And many were as cheesy as late night infomercials: “Friends don’t let friends miss the deadline for health-insurance enrollment” and “Retweet so people know there’s still time to #BeatTheBuzzer!” are actual examples.

During that same week last March, North Korea test-fired missiles capable of striking China, South Korea, and Japan. Five hundred and twenty-nine people were sentenced to death in Egypt. Obama’s Twitter account mentioned none of these things.

This is far from presidential, and it paints the president as totally out of touch with what matters. But he might beg to differ. After all, he did get those signups and that money — and, as far as he’s concerned, that is what matters.

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter at National Review Online.

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