Interview: @LOLGOP—Skewering Republican Insanity Oh So “Nicely”
In today’s political landscape, Republicans appear to have no problem whatsoever with living in a sphere of cognitive dissonance. They can, on one hand, decry “the job killing stimulus” while asking for, receiving, and posing for photos with giant checks coming from the stimulus package passed by Congress. They can flirt with secession— as Texas governor Rick Perry has done—and then extol the virtues and run for president of the United States of America. They can accuse Democrats of cutting Medicare when they trim out wasteful elements to save money, and then later vote for Paul Ryan’s budget plan that does, in fact, end Medicare as we know it.
This target-rich environment provides nearly endless fodder for comedians, late-night talk show hosts and creators of satire across the country. In Ann Arbor, a man who goes by the grin-inducing name of “Pete Nicely” has stepped up to create an online presence that uses satire, snark, incisive wit and downright comedy to poke fun at the Republicans and their many absurdities. His Twitter feed and Facebook page are called “LOLGOP” (LOL = laughing out loud for the netspeak-impaired.) He has an eviable Twitter audience of around 7,000 followers and and nearly 4,000 people “Like” his fan page on Facebook.
Pete Nicely is a prolific Tweeter, posting dozens upon dozens of hilarious Tweets and Retweets daily. To appreciate much of his hilarity, you must be knowledgable in current political events and appreciate biting satire.
Some recent examples:
Republican. Someone who believes you can’t blame Bush for the economy but you can blame Gore for Climate Change.
What do you talk about when you can’t explain why we’re letting poor Americans suffer while the richest get richest-er? The deficit.
S&P downgrades Transformers to “less than meets the eye.”
Fox News considers changing its morning show name to Fox and Friends Without Benefits. #austerity
Everyone knows how to fix the economy. Lay off millions of workers, cut taxes for the rich & tell everyone to go shopping. #easy
Republican – n. Someone who thinks the Stimulus wasn’t worth the money but the Iraq War was.
Boehner names Uncle Moneybags the official mascot of the Super Congress.
American’s message to the GOP: Stop thinking with your Kochs.
My masterplan for 2012: Sharron Angle as the Republican nominee for every seat in Congress.
Pete Nicely took a break from tweeting to answer a few questions for A2Politico.
A2Politico: How long has LOLGOP been around and how did you get started? Were you basically born to LOL at the GOP?
Pete Nicely: For years, Republicans have gotten their news from clowns. In early 2009, I heard Glenn Beck on national television describe Health Care Reform as President Obama’s attempt to get “reparations.” That’s beyond good taste. It’s beyond satire and propaganda. It’s insanity. So I thought: I can do that. The Facebook page was launched that spring.
A2Politico: How do you describe what you do as LOLGOP and why do you do it? An inexpensive alternative to therapy, maybe?
Pete Nicely: I think of it as my never-ending skirmish in the war of ideas. How we frame our politics is a key to progress, as any George Lakoff fan will tell you. I can’t watch the yelling shows on cable news without shouting talking points at the screen. Tweeting is much quieter. The cops haven’t been to my house once for a domestic dispute since I started the page.
Repeating key concepts in new ways and sharing smart things others say are extremely important to me. I used to get furious because Republicans are so good at repeating lies and the Democrats can’t stick to a message like SAVE THE MIDDLE CLASS! Now I realize Democrats do something similar. They repeat internalized criticism. They say, “The Stimulus was too small,” when they need to say, “We need a jobs bill for the middle class now.” I want to teach liberals to scream in perfect harmony.
A2Politico: When it comes to LOLGOP tweeting: stream of consciousness or premeditated tweeting?
Pete Nicely: I usually sit down with an idea. Then my Twitter feed and RSS feed rumble me like some bad Thai food. I have to spew.
People sometimes say, “You’re tweeting to much! ☺” Always with the ☺. And that’s when I block them.
A2Politico: You have both an active Twitter feed as well as a Facebook fan page with nearly 4,000 followers. Why Twitter and Facebook and not a blog or website of your own?
Pete Nicely: Good political blogs — like Electablog [ed. note: It’s EClectablog, dammit!!! *shakes fist*] — do original reporting and thoughtful commentary. I do Boehner jokes and rant. BorowitzReport.com would be the gold standard for liberal political satire. Until I clarify my vision for what I could say in a longer from, I should see if Borowitz would license his persona the way Bozo used to. I could be the Ann Arbor Borowitz — I have the nose for it, believe me.
Twitter also presents a chance to interact with some of the best minds of my generation. @ggreenwald (Salon political analyst Glenn Greenwald on Twitter) mocked me as “the next David Broder.” That just wouldn’t happen on a blog.
A2Politico: You go by the LOLable name of “Pete Nicely” online and as an author of three e-books. Why the pseudonym?
Pete Nicely: Just in case I ever want to rant about Scientology. And clearly I realize that I am embarrassing myself. At some point when my talent catches up with my ambition, I will return to my given name — Samuel Clemens.
A2Politico: Speaking of e-books, how’s the whole e-author thing working out? Does it pay the bills?
Pete Nicely: How dare you.
A2Politico: You live in the People’s Republic of Ann Arbor. Which do you consider yourself to be: a communist or a socialist?
Pete Nicely: I grew up in Los Angeles. So, as soon as I learned that the public libraries are open on Sunday and don’t smell like pee, I knew the jackboots of big government were being shoved down my throat. So I guess that makes me a socialist.
A2Politico: Are you involved in local or state politics or political activism or do you just stick to LOLing at Republicans?
Pete Nicely: In high school, I had a great government teacher who was active in Democratic politics. He was a awesome pinko — worked on Ted Kennedy’s primary challenge to [Jimmy] Carter, wanted a 100% death tax and gave us extra credit for volunteering on campaigns. My friends and I phone banked in the 1992 Clinton/Gore campaign. Since we were turning 18, a friend decided we could get more hours by running for office. I became his campaign manager, twice. We joined the state Democratic Party — canvassed, phone banked and tried to raise money. I was terrible at all of it — and disillusioned by the money part of it.
I have dreams of making impromptu speeches at the Michigan Theater on the night the organist is off. Hasn’t happened yet. That said, I signed the petition for [Michigan Governor Rick] Snyder’s recall. I believe the Emergency Manager Law is a farce and will be ruled unconstitutional. And I know I should be involved beyond piddling donations and tweets.
A2Politico: I assume you’re not making a living as Pete Nicely (who does?) What’s your day job and does your boss know about this?
Pete Nicely: I’m not “out” yet.
A2Politico: How many tweets are you posting a typical day?
Pete Nicely: Too many. ☺
A2Politico: Some of your work is not, shall we say, “family friendly”. Where do you draw the line and say “that would be inappropriate”? Or is that a question that just doesn’t really come up?
Pete Nicely: As the one person who ever reviewed my ebook of short stories said, “To much ‘sex and tampons’ talk my daughter told me too much bad words.”
A2Politico: Aren’t you hurting America with your inappropriateness? Shouldn’t we all just try to get along?
Pete Nicely: Yes and no. Being against something isn’t progressive. However I do feel that there is a need to balance the smug cynicism from the right. Since Sarah Palin’s 2008 convention speech, the AM radio snark has become mainstream GOP rhetoric. I think by acting like a left-wing Rush Limbaugh, I’m begging the right to grow the fuck up and listen to some adults. But really, who are they going to listen to? Charles Krauthammer as he lists invectives against Obama? There’s no logic to it. It’s all coded growling.
I’m trying to tell the chickens not to trust the Colonel. But the Colonel has lots of guys who spread chicken feed and tell the chickens how they’ll be the Colonel one day—if they just give up their Medicare and step into the extra-crispy batter.
A2Politico: What makes the GOP so darned LOLable?
Pete Nicely: They think with their Kochs and lead with their Boehner.
A2Politico: Who is your favorite Republican to LOL at these days (and why)?
Pete Nicely: Rick Perry. There isn’t a lefty alive who should not be donating to the Rick Perry for President campaign. A Christian extremist governor from Texas on the ballot? I’m having flashbacks already. One day I expect him to take a picture in his jogging shorts, and he’ll have the exact same legs as Sarah Palin. He’s the total package.
A2Politico: Who is your favorite Democrat (to LOL at or otherwise) these days (and why)?
Pete Nicely: Joe Biden is the most smile-inducing man alive. He’s even better than the deadbeat dads in the Tea Party. He doesn’t wear a tri-corner hat, but he does have wooden fake teeth just like George Washington. BFD.
A2Politico: Are there any Republicans who you actually respect?
Pete Nicely: Until Jon Huntsman started running for President and aping the House GOP on killing Medicare, he was cool in a Big Love kind of way.
A2Politico: Have you ever considered doing a LOLDEMS? Are they as LOLable as the GOP?
Pete Nicely: We simply don’t have the Weiner for it — not anymore.
A2Politico: What’s the future of LOLGOP? Where do you see it going?
Pete Nicely: My dream is to be the Grover Norquist of the left. He grabs every Republican, male or female, by the balls and makes them pledge to never balance the… I mean, never raise taxes. Every Democrat will have to sign my pledge to protect and grow Medicare. But for now, I’m just trying to get #firetheGOP to trend on Twitter.
A2Politico: Last question: Who would be the biggest gift to LOLGOP: President Palin, President Bachmann or President Romney?
Pete Nicely: You’re just trying to get me to move to Canada.
For more of Chris Savage’s writing, visit Eclectablog.
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