Forget all about videos of furry kittens playfully stuffing themselves in tissue boxes, Mitch McConnell is now the Internet’s next big thing. The Senate Minority Leader from Kentucky is blowing up YouTube and Twitter thanks largely to a new phenomenon known as “McConnelling.” McConnelling all started from a slightly strange political ad released by the Senator’s campaign earlier this week. The ad features McConnell in various settings and situations doing nothing but smiling, while music cascades dreamily in the background.
Once the video hit the Internet, creative individuals from all walks of life decided to put their own spin on the ad by randomly inserting short clips into the title sequences of popular ’90s television shows. This is now the act of McConnelling. The ad caught the attention of McConnell’s Senate challenger, Matt Bevin, who remixed the video, adding subtitles slamming the Senator for comments he made about “crushing” Tea Party candidates in the midterm election. McConnell’s rise to fame and popularity hit its peak when Jon Stewart decided to poke fun at the ad with his own unique brand of humor.
Mitch McConnell is using his status as the Internet’s next big thing to his advantage. Like any good politician trying to save face in the middle of an embarrassing moment, McConnell collected the best of the parodies and attempted to use them to raise money. An email blast went out to constituents and potential donors containing the videos, hoping the laughs, snickers, and giggles might inspire people to crack open their wallets.
Senator McConnell has a reputation as being just another career politician, a man consumed by self-interest and to be honest, a bit dull. The original ad released by his campaign only seemed to further that perception among Americans, but it seems his campaign is hoping that all of the press surrounding the parodies will breathe fresh life into his current run for reelection, and prove that he does in fact have a sense of humor.
McConnell is also probably hoping that these parodies will help him appear charming and restore a bit of his popularity among the Tea Party crowd after his comments at CPAC. It seems that one of the hallmarks of being a career politician is being completely and utterly out of touch with the people you represent, as is evidenced by McConnell’s comments about Tea Party candidates, and this strange attempt to appear relevant with the Millennial crowd. The original ad, which featured no dialogue, truly said nothing, and it seems the audience got the point.
Career politicians have always tried new ways to reinvigorate voters and to reach younger generations in an attempt to save their seat at the table. Was this whole thing cleverly devised to help draw some attention to McConnell’s campaign and make him seem relevant to younger voters? That scenario seems highly unlikely. Is the Senator so far out of touch that he has no idea how to connect with his constituents, which is why he might have thought the ad was a good idea? This seems likely. One good thing about Mitch McConnell doing time as the Internet’s next big thing is that trends like these do not tend to last for long.
Opinion by Michael Cantrell