Political leaders have famously compared the infinitely frustrating chore of having to steer a majority of their members toward any given goal as being tantamount to herding cats.
Too bad they didn’t have kitten-flinging, relationship builder Benny Johnson in their corners.
BuzzFeed’s Viral Politics Editor has had lawmakers eating out of the palm of his hand all week thanks to his “Kitties of Congress” campaign, a playful base-broadening ploy he launched on Feb. 21.
While he originally toyed with the idea last March, Johnson told HOH he recently decided to fully embrace the cat-to-congress crossover — and, more importantly, resolved to make lawmakers do the same.
“This year, one of my personal goals is to get followed by every member of congress on Twitter. This kitty campaign partially serves that end, but also provides a fun social interaction component that is far too rare in politics,” Johnson said of his unconventional outreach.
His plan hinges on helping solons shoot past the worst stuff on the web (“corny partisan messaging tools that no one really enjoys or shares”) and embrace some purely-for-the-hell-of-it silliness.
“Kitties of Congress is about getting members to join in a fun internet meme simply because it is enjoyable, like normal people do,” he suggested. “I’m thrilled that it has been successful and I will continue to make kitties for every member who follows me.“
By his count, over 100 lawmakers have followed him down this particular rabbit hole to date. We tallied roughly six dozen congressional followers — with Republicans outpacing Democrats, roughly two-to-one in terms of reaching out — who had opted in for the feline matchmaking.
Using Johnson’s math, this social media stunt has already dwarfed several coalition-building efforts happening on Capitol Hill right now, wooing five times the number of those willing to rally around the House GOP’s tenuous immigration plan and scores more than those who have formally lined up behind head taxwriter Dave Camp’s pitch to rewrite the Internal Revenue Code.
The response has been rather overwhelming. Full story