Okay, I admit that Morning Joe is probably not exactly the target audience for the White House’s latest attempt to hijack a holiday for its flailing ObamaCare system, but MSNBC is certainly the target network. Clearly, this strategy isn’t selling even with the more sympathetic members of the Morning Joe panel. Giggles abound as Mika Brzezinski described the onesie-wearing figure in the ad a “hipster-ish model,” while the rest of the panel seemed amusingly appalled (via Jammie Wearing Fool):
Described as a “hipster-ish model” by co-host Mika Brzezinski, the appearance of the bespectacled, sideways-glancing, cocoa-drinking, onesie-wearing manchild drew guffaws from Joe Scarborough, and the rest could hardly get through their comments without laughing themselves.
When Brzezinski said it was an attempt to get young people to sign up, Scarborough replied, “That ain’t how you do it.”
Politico’s Jim VandeHei mocked it as well, calling the Obamacare launch “one of the most flawed rollouts in the history of mankind,” and alluded to Rich Lowry’s column shredding the campaign.
Rich Lowry’s column touched off the discussion, and it pokes fun at MSNBC, the White House, and liberals in general:
Pajama Boy is about as threatening as Michael Cera and so nerdy he could guest-host on an unwatched MSNBC show. He is probably reading The Bell Jar and looking forward to a hearty Christmas meal of stuffed tofurkey. If he has anything to say about it, Obamacare enrollments will spike in the next few weeks in Williamsburg and Ann Arbor.
Perhaps the goal of OFA was to create a readily mockable image to draw attention to its message, in which case Pajama Boy was a brilliantly successful troll. The right immediately Photoshopped him into the Mandela funeral selfie and emblazoned his photo with derisive lines like, “Hey girl, I live with my parents,” and, “How did you know I went to Oberlin?”
But it’s hard not to see Pajama Boy as an expression of the Obama vision, just like his forbear Julia, the Internet cartoon from the 2012 campaign. Pajama Boy is Julia’s little brother. She progressed through life without any significant family or community connections. He is the picture of perpetual adolescence. Neither is a symbol of self-reliant, responsible adulthood.
Was this an epic troll? I doubt it, for a couple of reasons. First, this White House doesn’t have the sense of humor necessary to conceive it. Second, as the Obamas’ suggestion yesterday that moms should start conversations in grocery stores promoting ObamaCare demonstrates, this White House has a big disconnect from the cultural experience of most Americans. No one in their right mind would start collaring strangers in a grocery store to offer political harangues. This ad and their supposed grassroots strategy speak to the same disconnect — they have no idea how people outside the Beltway bubble and activist circles behave. That’s another reason that this is not a particularly good time for Democrats, and it’s not going to get any better by adding John Podesta to the mix, either.