Another Embarrassing GOP Millennial Outreach–Now With Ariel the Mermaid!

This is the current website of the House Judiciary Committee headed by Bob Goodlatte. Go ahead and check it out. Just for posterity when it changes in the future, here’s a screenshot:

Here’s more:

It’s also worth noting that these images are all moving gifs like you might find at Campaign Sick–but on a server that evidently lacks the firepower to handle them.

There are few things more awkward and embarrassing than the deeply uncool trying with desperation to seem cool. First is the obvious: hating on immigrants is deeply antithetical to the values of young people. It isn’t trendy or cool. It certainly isn’t lighthearted, self-effacing, ironic or satirical–all of which are sort of a requirement when you’re using silly gifs of Ariel the Mermaid.

That’s doubly true if you’re doing it in an official setting like, say, the House Judiciary page. Republicans like to complain that Barack Obama degrades the majesty of the Presidency by going on silly interview shows and taking selfies–but it works because he’s self-effacing, empathetic, non-divisive and generally in touch with the values of his audience when he does it.

Finally, the material itself isn’t just out-of-touch and inappropriate–it’s also essentially a process argument about the division of powers that wouldn’t lend itself to a lighthearted, meme-centric approach even from a more liberal slant in touch with the values of young Americans.

It’s so bizarre and awkward, in fact, that it’s hard to believe anyone under 40 from somewhere other than Liberty “University” was involved in creating the page. As the GOP starves slowly in its demographic winter of the 21st century, this little episode will surely deserve a minor footnote.

David Atkins

David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.