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Reports of Newt Gingrich’s fake Twitter followers are true

2012 campaign, damn twitter

I noticed over a year and a half ago that Newt Gingrich had a million followers on Twitter. I didn’t believe it at the time, but I did note it.

Reason not to believe it? Two reasons: he’s so god-awful boring, and he’s dumb as a bug. Twitter itself ain’t exactly interesting, so I find it extremely difficult to believe a million people thrill to breaking Newt crap like this:

Now comes word, via Gawker and an anonymous tipster, that Newt’s 1.3 million followers are largely fake.

About 80 percent of those accounts are inactive or are dummy accounts created by various “follow agencies,” another 10 percent are real people who are part of a network of folks who follow others back and are paying for followers themselves (Newt’s profile just happens to be a part of these networks because he uses them, although he doesn’t follow back), and the remaining 10 percent may, in fact, be real, sentient people who happen to like Newt Gingrich. If you simply scroll through his list of followers you’ll see that most of them have odd usernames and no profile photos, which has to do with the fact that they were mass generated. Pathetic, isn’t it?

That makes sense. Newt is essentially a fulmination of his fragile ego. He cranks out vapid books loaded with vainglorious schemes to solve everything from cockroach infestations to colonizing the moon. His ‘history’ tomes are self-serving fantasies where he goes back in time, invents a Gingrich-ian turn of events and hunts the trail into wonderland.

So why would a Gingrich Twitter reality be any different? It isn’t. I went to his ‘followers’ page and took up the scent where Gawker led off — at followers who didn’t bother to post any image on their account. Turns out there are a lot of these strange Twits: no image, no caption, no tweets of their own (maybe one, sometimes two). Over and over, of these Newt fans, you find the same invisible profiles.

And they all follow a hilariously generic group of political Twitter feeds. They can’t wait to hear from Large Political Institution. Contrastingly, Newt fans, and there are mountains of them, remember, you expect to be hardcore Republicans and right-wingers. Recall also that Twitter users tend to be younger and ‘hipper’ than your usual political junkies. So you’d expect also to see them follow presidential candidates like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. To be interested in Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. To want to see the latest from blogs like Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government and Dim Jim Hoft’s Gateway Pundit. But no.

Who do the Newt ‘followers’ follow? The British Monarchy. The United Nations. Cough. The White House and President Barack Obama. The State Department, the House and Senate floors, and, naturally, Nancy Pelosi. (I don’t have the time tonight to crunch the numbers from the first 25 followers that fit the profile, but Nancy seems to be the most common co-followed Twitter feed with Newt.) And they are huge fans of Gabrielle Giffords.

Of fellow Republicans, Rick Santorum shows up over and over again. Herman Cain pops up frequently. Jon Huntsman shows up, Speaker Boehner too, John McCain. But there is NEVER a Bachmann or a Palin, nor a Romney. Hopeless candidates abound, favorites are invisible. Never a Paul or a Rubio. The Tea Party doesn’t exist in the minds or the worlds of these ‘followers.’ Among blogs, the Huffington Post shows up, and that’s pretty much it. Fox anything is well represented, as is NASCAR. Amazing how much of the establishment Newt’s fans embrace, and how little of activist Conservative politics they indulge. Somehow, he lucked out in dodging the people he competes with and the things he considers beneath him. It’s as if he were whispering in his fans’ ears while they composed lists of Twits to follow.

And then this: is this telling? One of the big political personalities that gets co-followed very frequently — probably half the time — amongst these shy, faceless Republican Twitter fans is . . Vivek Kundra. That’s right. Vivek. Born in New Delhi, emigrated to America, earned a Master’s degree in Information Technology. He’s America’s first Chief Information Officer, working under President Obama. Oh, him. What right-wing political junkie wouldn’t tap the Twitter feed of the king I.T geek in Obama’s office? He delivers a spine-tingling Tweet about once a month. Makes you wonder if Gingrich hired an Indian firm to generate a pile of Twitter followers for his loser self, and the techs had a little fun at his expense.

Gawker’s right, Newt’s followers are somebody else’s creation. See them for yourself: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten . . .

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Ye Gawker hath defamed Christine O’Donnell . .

photoshopped, sex, teabaggers

. . as if the current internet Ombudsman cares.

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National Organization for Women gone wild: sex-free Christine O’Donnell savagely ‘slut-shamed’

feminism, sex, teabaggers

I don’t enjoy being in the position of criticizing the National Organization for Women, but these comments are ridiculous.

If your internet has been turned off over the last 48 hours, here’s the recap: website posted a recounted story of a then-25-year old man who opened his front door on Halloween to find the once (and future) 39 year-old Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell. She remembered meeting him, and I guess she thought he was attractive. They go out to a bar, they go back to his place, they go to his bedroom, she undresses, and then she tells him she is and will remain a virgin. He’s not too happy with that. In the morning, he drives her back to her car. End of affair, all of — what — 10 hours?

Three years later, she gets the Republican nod for Senate, she gets loads of attention, and she’s the anti-sex and anti-masturbation candidate. He finds the whole thing bizarre. He tells Gawker, they pay him, they publish his story, the internet goes crazy. Liberals are particularly furious: it’s anti-women, it’s the usual crap, it’s opportunistic and it’s dirt-cheap politics.

That last part was Thursday. I wrote a post on it with this view: the idealistic notion that a politician’s sexual behavior must remain perfectly secret is laughable. While a noble idea, it’s never been the case for men, it won’t be the case for women, it’ll never be the case for anybody, ever. This story is not an expression of misogyny on the world’s part, it’s an expression of foolishness on the part of Christine and her ‘date.’

Well, cue the National Organization for Women. And while you’re at it, start up the cliche machine:

NOW to Media: Stop Reducing Women Candidates to Sex Objects
Statement of NOW President Terry O’Neill
October 28, 2010

Sexist, misogynist attacks against women have no place in the electoral process, regardless of a particular candidate’s political ideology . .

I get the feeling that Terry O’Neill spent very little time writing this. Either that, or her job has gotten so routine as to be reflexive, there’s very little in here that makes sense.

Christine O’Donnell has gotten mountains and mountains of press. These are only a few of the things the world might know of her: Conservative, Republican, anti-sex, anti-porn, anti-masturbation, pro-marriage, anti-gay, anti-condom, pro-abstinence, anti-government, anti-evolution, anti-science, anti-brains, anti-Obama, anti-healthcare, anti-stimulus, totally Tea Party, fundamentalist Christian, witchcraft dabbling, Hare Krishna curious, campaign-fund pilfering, former Bill Maher show pundit, and about to get her ass kicked in the election.

But now that Gawker published that true story, she’s been ‘reduced to a sex object’? The crusader VIRGIN? Hullo?! Try the opposite: the barely lustful tale just got added to her massive personality profile.

And sexism? Misogyny? To my mind, those are efforts to denigrate or disrespect someone. Good luck making those claims stick to a story that’s both true and, frankly, vanilla. More:

Today the tabloid website Gawker published an anonymous piece titled “I Had A One-Night Stand With Christine O’Donnell” that takes the routine sexual degradation of women candidates to a disgusting new low.

Wow. There was no ‘sexual degradation’ between the couple that night. So if it didn’t happen, if it never existed in reality, then where else did it come from? From Terry O’Neill’s mind. Right? She thinks sex is abnormal and dirty. Therefore, reminding people of it, bringing it into the light of day, is degrading to the participants. Oops, sorry: to the participating woman. “Leave the twisted female sex life alone!” she’s saying. For the rest of us, sex is normally a dirty good thing. Yay.

NOW repudiates Gawker’s decision to run this piece. It operates as public sexual harassment. And like all sexual harassment, it targets not only O’Donnell, but all women contemplating stepping into the public sphere.

Worse and worse. There is not a single definition of ‘sexual harassment’ which remotely applies. You’d think the President of NOW would come close. Unless she’s claiming that the whole planet is a politician’s work environment. Then every sex scandal provides a cause for action, and all Christine O’Donnell has to do is to sue . . Zeus? No having sex with anyone else on Earth, incidentally — company policy.

NOW/PAC has proudly endorsed women’s rights champion Chris Coons, O’Donnell’s opponent in the Delaware Senate race, and finds O’Donnell’s political positions dangerous for women. That does not mean it’s acceptable to use slut-shaming against her, or any woman.

. . and that might be the sadly crowning effort, there. If Gawker were denigrating her, she would have been denigrated. If they were scorning her, she would have gotten scorned. But since they were ‘slut-shaming‘ her, Christine got slut-shamed. Congratulations Terry, you’re the first person to match up ‘slut’ with the iron-clad chastity ditz, O’Donnell. What a good friend you turned out to be.

Reminds me of the time I went over to see my niece as she got ready for the Homecoming dance. When she walked out into the living room, I said, “Wow, look at you, in that low-cut dress . .” That’s when my sister pressed “So she’s a slut to you, too?”

Similarly, reminds me of the time when that 39 year-old virgin politician showed up at the door of a 25 year-old woman on some Halloween night. Yada yada Gawker yada yada . . and the Men’s Rights League said “This is textbook sexism and misanthropy. It is not acceptable to use cad-shaming against him, or any man.”

Okay, what’s going on here? If anything, really?

My guess: with increasing freedom, especially of the sexual kind, women are free to take the initiative as they please. But let’s not pretend that with the proliferation of sexual events, especially of the more casual nature, as O’Donnell’s date was, that tales of a random ‘affair’ won’t make their way out of the bedroom. Men and women talk about sex — always have, always will. And the more meaningless it was, the more likely it is that the encounter will go public. This has always been true for men, and now it’s increasingly true for women. Welcome, ladies.

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Anti-sex crusader Christine O’Donnell does hook up with young guys but doesn’t go all the way or wax

don't look, hypocrisy, politics of the politics, sex, teabaggers

These are revelations about a current Senate candidate? Yes. Wow. Politics has certainly changed since the days when I used to stare at the TV and wonder how anyone could respect that crappy liar, Ronald Reagan.

Gawker has a first person tell-all with a (then) 25 year-old who hooked up with a 39 year-old Christine O’Donnell. Here’s a bit of the story:

I barely knew Christine when she turned up at my door at around eight o’clock on the night of Halloween. We’d met for the first and only time three months earlier when my two roommates and I signed the lease on our apartment: Christine’s aunt owned the place we were moving into, and she happened to be up from Delaware visiting at the time . .

Aggressive is another word I’d use to describe her. At the bar, she confessed to me that her aunt really hadn’t been sleeping. She hadn’t even gone to her apartment to check, she said. She had remembered me from our five-minute meeting the previous summer, and used the story about her aunt as an excuse to knock on my door. She’d set her sights on me from the beginning . .

Things got physical on the couch pretty quickly. It wasn’t long before we’d moved from the living room to my bed.

I won’t get into the nitty gritty details of what happened between the sheets that evening. But I will say that it wasn’t half as exciting as I’d been hoping it would be. Christine was a decent kisser, but as soon as soon as her clothes came off and she was naked in my bed, Christine informed me that she was a virgin.

“You’ve got to be kidding,” I said. She didn’t explain at the time that she was a “born-again virgin.” She made it seem like she’d never had sex in her life, which seemed pretty improbable for a woman her age. And she made it clear that she was planning on staying a virgin that night. But there were signs that she wasn’t very experienced sexually . .

Feel free to familiarize yourself with more of the racy details.

What’s most interesting about this is the reaction to it: plenty of left-wing and liberal voices are furious about Gawker’s piece (here’s just one, there are dozens). It’s a political hit that smacks of misogyny, of throwback anti-feminism, of lurid opportunism, you name it. Fine, I hear that, I respect those views. I wouldn’t want someone to do that to me, so it stinks.

But, first, I don’t find the story changes my opinion of her — she’s a fool who is unqualified for the job she so desperately wants. And, second, what planet did all of you wake up on this afternoon? What happened to all the obvious political realities being ignored in the tumult?

Since when are sex lives sacred in the political realm? Since when have there been expectations for perfect secrecy regarding major political figures’ behavior and decisions? In any facet of life? When has politics ever been civilized? Should politicians’ sexual behavior be private and secret? YES. Feel free to rouse me from my grave in the century that reality finally turns in that direction.

Wasn’t she the anti-sex candidate? She sure as hell was. O’Donnell made people’s personal sexual behavior an important part of her crusading personality and her ability to connect with the voters who eventually gave her the Republican nomination. Quote:

O’DONNELL: . . The sad reality is — yes, there is something you can do about it. And the sad reality, to tell them slap on a condom is not –

NIES: You’re going to stop the whole country from having sex?

O’DONNELL: Yeah. Yeah!

NIES: You’re living on a prayer if you think that’s going to happen.

O’DONNELL: That’s not true. I’m a young woman in my thirties and I remain chaste.

She benefited greatly from these righteous little blips, she became the far-right-winger in the year of the crazies. She won the nomination. That sort of crusading is an easy target for all sorts of people, including your former sex partners. And obviously, ‘chaste’ is a word with many definitions in O’Donnell’s world.

Sex is not a proper weapon in politics (if you’re a liberal). I applaud your nobility. I mock your craven nature. Anybody remember the impeachment of the last Democratic president? Anybody remember Obama being ‘smeared’ as a gay coke whore? Anybody remember Ann Coulter calling Bill Clinton and John Edwards prodigious adulterers who’d have to be homosexuals? Remember Gary Hart? How about David Vitter’s hypocritical Senate presence? Then how about this: O’Donnell’s own campaign employees ‘smearing’ her primary opponent as a closeted, adulterous homosexual? Hmm? Can I stop there?

When a 39 year old former (and future) Senate candidate seduces an anonymous 25 year old, that’s just healthy feminism? No, that’s just a little reckless. If this seduced person turns out to be a shallow, immature oaf, perfectly willing to maybe scuttle a national political career, it’s misogyny? It’s not stupidity on both parties’ parts?

I’m pretty sure I could do this all day. Gawker is a gossip and pop culture site, but they should sit on the story? Any of you familiar with the definition of ‘gawker’? Have you seen their ridiculous internet numbers today? Even though they’re a business, their real loyalties should be . . where exactly?

UPDATE: O’Donnell responds by pretty much admitting it . .

This story is just another example of the sexism and slander that female candidates are forced to deal with. From Secretary Clinton, to Governor Palin, to soon-to-be Governor Haley, Christine’s political opponents have been willing to engage in appalling and baseless attacks . .

‘Slander’ and ‘baseless attacks’? That’s a stretch — something would have to be a lie. Anyway, the paranoid right-wingers see an evil master-puppet behind it all:

Classless Coons goons have proven yet again to have no sense of common decency or common sense with their desperate attacks to get another rubber stamp for the Obama-Pelosi-Reid . .

. . which reminds me of something, evil master-puppet wise. A woman by the name of Krystal Ball (yes) is a 28 year-old Democrat running for congress in Virginia. A Conservative blog got a hold of photos of a Christmas party in which Krystal is seen fellating the dildo-appointed outfit of her husband. Here:

Chris Coons’ gossip goon site, Gawker, acquired and published the images for all the world to see. The ‘controversy’ demanded a statement from Krystal, and this was it:

“Society has to accept that women of my generation have sexual lives that are going to leak into the public sphere. Sooner or later, this is a reality that has to be faced, or many young women in my generation will not be able to run for office.”

Amen. So, let’s ask ourselves: with all of this vigorous hand-wringing, who are we really worried about protecting? Our parents? Do we really believe there will ever be a time when sex won’t be interesting to us? Why would people’s sex lives ever manage to side-step politics? Christine O’Donnell turned out to be Christine O’Donnell. Whatever.