Texas’ Great Achievements in Political Internetting, 2015

by and

Despite a great deal of evidence suggesting that this is a terrible idea, elected officials in Texas are able to post their thoughts on the Internet. They have near-unrestrained access to keyboards, wireless routers, racist memes — everything that makes the world wide web turn ‘round. And while few of our esteemed elected officials are themselves liberal, they do make liberal use of their social media accounts. Here, we honor some of their finest online achievements in 2015.     

Dan Patrick: Most Un-Feminist Selfies

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick takes a photograph of himself using the camera technology on a smartphone.
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick takes a photograph of himself using the camera technology on a smartphone.  Texas Senate Video

When Dan Patrick dropped in to testify before the Senate Education Committee — which was a pretty weird thing for the lieutenant governor to do in the first place — he was already the star of the show. But when he held up the hearing so that he could tweet a selfie, he became a legend. This was, after all, the year we learned how men can be feminist allies in selfie-taking, and that men who take selfies are probably psychopaths.

The lieutenant governor's meme was intended to mock a <I>New York Daily News</i> cover about gun violence.
The lite guv’s meme was intended to mock a New York Daily News cover about gun violence.  @DanPatrick

Our esteemed lieutenant governor probably falls… let’s say, somewhere in the middle.

Patrick’s selfie-obsessed parody account trades on taking his tone-deafness and narcissism to the #nextlevel, but the most confounding post of the year in Texas politics came from the lite guv’s real account, in which he appeared to cheer on the deaths of more than a dozen Californians.


Jason Villalba: Honorable Mention for Totally Not Saying The Thing He Just Said

The meme that state Representative Jason Villalba said was not about comparing Bernie Sanders to Nazis.
Nazi meme? What Nazi meme?  Dallas Morning News

Oh, sure, just because state Representative Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, tweeted a meme linking Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a Jewish man, to actual Nazis in three factually incorrect, ahistorical steps, doesn’t mean he meant to, you know, compare Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a Jewish man, to actual Nazis. Y’all will get your drawers in a bunch over anything, won’t you?


Jonathan Stickland: Visionary Former Fetus

Texas state Representative Jonathan Stickland posted this valuable marital advice on a fantasy football forum.
Texas state Representative Jonathan Stickland (username: “Stick”) posted this valuable marital advice on a fantasy football forum.  Austin American-Statesman

In today’s topsy-turvy matriarchal hellscape, you can’t even advise your online fantasy football buddies to rape their wives without picking up a little heat for it. SMH! Republican state Representative Jonathan Stickland has apologized for once saying that “rape is non existent in marriage” and advising a dude on the internet to “take” whatever he wants from his wife, but the internet is forever. Even if that whole “former fetus” dustup does feel like a million years ago.


Matt Beebe: Champion Educator of Ignorant Womenfolk

In six tweets, a cutesy remark about queso somehow turned into a wannabe state rep sending one of the state’s top political reporters a meme intended to depict a man urinating on a woman. What happened? Loose women, that’s what!

The political reporter in question, Texas Monthly’s Erica Grieder, aptly parried twice-failed Joe Straus opponent Matt Beebe’s creepy obsession with female sexual purity (that’s apparently what the peeing image was supposed to … you know what, nevermind), leaving Beebe, a self-described “champion” of “respect for life” looking like, well, the kind of man who keeps pictures of women being urinated on just in case he needs to pop them into a conversation about queso.


Molly White: Distinguished Producer of Things Your Racist Uncle Yells About

Well, that's one way to celebrate Muslim Capitol Day?
Well, that’s one way to celebrate Muslim Capitol Day?  Molly White/Facebook

How good is state Representative Molly White at using the internet? So good that the last time she used Twitter was nearly a year ago, promoting an unabashedly Islamophobic Facebook post demanding that Muslim Texans take a loyalty pledge to the United States and… an Israeli flag? But just because she doesn’t use Twitter any more doesn’t mean she’s not still bringing the voters in House District 55 great online content, such as vowing, on Facebook, to quit Facebook because people keep reporting all the Islamophobic stuff she posts on Facebook. She has not yet quit Facebook.


Don Huffines: Excellence in… Did He Just Say Valen-times?

We challenge you to watch this without wanting to crawl under the ocean floor for eternity.


Bill Zedler: Overall Achievement in Incoherence

State Representative Bill Zedler’s Twitter feed is great for those of us who don’t have  cable but who wonder what Fox News has been reporting lately. From global terrorist attacks to the latest report on the economy, Zedler relies on a steady recipe for his tweets: take anti-Obama story, remove context, distill to 1.5 sentences, and capitalize at random. If Breitbart published Reader’s Digest, the result would look something like Zedler’s social media presence.


Ken Paxton: Most Obama-Suing Husband

Yesterday, Angela and I had the honor to help the Golden Corridor Republican Women celebrate their 25th Anniversary. Before she introduced me, my talented wife surprised me by penning and singing a song she calls “Pistol-Packin’ Mama.” I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Posted by Ken Paxton on Sunday, October 11, 2015

Our attorney general is a busy man, what with suing the federal government, defending himself against felony securities fraud charges and color-coordinating his family’s wardrobe. But on October 11, he became #txlege royalty by remaining seated and letting his wife Angela steal the show. The video of her singing and strumming her original composition, “Pistol Packin’ Mama,” was one of the year’s great moments, a rare time when a politician’s social media life was both entertaining and instructive. Angela Paxton sings “I had four kids in five years, yes it’s true / I had four kids in five years, how ‘bout you?” and Ken’s relaxed, jaunty heel-tapping says it all.


Sid Miller: Outstanding Troll

Have a happy, slappy holidays! It's the Christian thing to do.
Have a happy, slappy holidays! It’s the Christian thing to do.  Sid Miller/Facebook

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is not only a Christian but a tree farmer, too, so you can imagine he’d get a little defensive when folks pretend there’s any winter holiday besides Christmas. By saying in a Facebook post that he “just might slap” the next person who wished him “happy holidays,” he drew out more than 8,000 commenters, most of them answering his challenge with the season’s warmest wishes. “Happy holidays, you moron,” read one representative response. Miller does yeoman’s work finding racist shareable Facebook jokes that don’t have Minions in them — and he seems to relish his role as Irritator in Chief. He famously refused to apologize after, while in the midst of an international trade mission, he posted a cartoon that recommended bombing “the Muslim world.” One recent “word of the day” selection posted by Miller was “petulant,” which he used in a sentence: “Bernie Sanders is a petulant and fussy old man who is always blaming everyone else for his problems.” Some of us have cranky uncles who fill our feeds with barnyard sex jokes. For the rest of us, there’s Sid Miller.