“Republicans Are Addicted to Koch [Brothers]” – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D)
House Republicans Announce On Twitter To Vote Against Obamacare For The 37th Time
The politics of obstructionism continued (Episode 37)
Because opposing the Obama administration’s Affordable Healthcare Act, better known as Obamacare for thirty-six times was not enough for House Republicans, they recently announced that they would vote to repeal it for the thirty-seventh (!) time.
Twitter battles as a new normal form of political communication
So far, so predictable. But here is where it gets interesting. In this age of ubiquitous social media technologies, leading politicians in the US—years ahead in this regard to, let’s say, German politicians— feel the need to engage in Twitter battles. Sometimes hilarity ensues.
As the Huffington Post reports, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor tweeted on May 8, 2013:
“The House will vote next week for a full repeal of #Obamacare.”
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) then attempted to hype it up a little more with the hashtag #ObamaCareInThreeWords
To which the White House replied:
“It’s. The. Law.”
Well-played, sir. Well-played.
But the fact that large parts of the Affordable Care Act are right now being implemented is not clear to everybody at the moment. According to NPR, a new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that nearly half of Americans do not currently know that the Affordable Healthcare Act is the law of the land.
Symbolic politics versus the 113th Congress in numbers
Unless Republicans in the Senate can convince a substantial number of Democrats to join them in voting against the Affordable Healthcare Act, the repeal they seek will not happen any time soon. As of May 2013, the distribution of seats in the 113th Congress is as follows: House: 233 (R), 201 (D); Senate: 55 (D) (53 (D)+ 2 (I)), 45 (R)
Maybe in the end, this is much ado about nothing. Still, it gives us an insight into how the new social media technologies are now being put to use for symbolic politics. In a way, they have joined their older peers of AM talk radio and cable television in the US.