God save us from politicians with 140 character attention spans.
That's the verdict of Dana Milbank's Twitter-inspired look at last night's Congressional response to President Obama's address. The only good news, as far as I can see, is that our national leaders struggle just as hard to say something meaningful in a tweet as they do in a press release or public hearing. There is something to say about consistency.
President Obama spoke of economic calamity and war last night in that solemn rite of democracy, the address to the joint session of Congress. And lawmakers watched him with the dignity Americans have come to expect of their leaders: They whipped out their BlackBerrys and began sending text messages like high school kids bored in math class.
"One doesn't want to sound snarky, but it is nice not to see Cheney up there," Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) announced as Obama entered the chamber.
"I did big wooohoo for Justice Ginsberg," Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) broadcast, misspelling the name of the ailing Supreme Court justice. McCaskill could be seen applauding with BlackBerry in one hand.
"Capt Sully is here -- awesome!" announced Rep. John Culberson (R-Tex.), spotting the US Airways pilot in the gallery.
Then there was Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), in whose name this text message was sent at about the time the president spoke of the need to pull the country together: "Aggie basketball game is about to start on espn2 for those of you that aren't going to bother watching pelosi smirk for the next hour." A few minutes later, another message came through: "Disregard that last Tweet from a staffer."
Milbank nails it with his last two grafs:
All of which raises a question: Should these guys maybe spend time fixing the country and leave the Twittering to somebody else?