Love them or hate them, Buzzfeed's lists of GIFs are everywhere. And now we can thank State Sen. Dan Patrick for introducing them into our political campaign process.
Patrick, an ultra-conservative Republican senator from Houston, officially announced his campaign to challenge incumbent David Dewhurst in the race for Texas lieutenant governor back in June. Since then, Patrick has been relentless in his criticism of Dewhurst and his role in the SB5 debate and filibuster by State Sen. Wendy Davis (a potential statewide office candidate herself).
"I don't know if you've been on the Internet lately, but cats are hot."
But, in his latest attack ad against Dewhurst, Patrick unleashed the ultimate secret weapon: Cat GIFs.
The Texans for Patrick campaign team launched Dewfeed, a website that rips off Buzzfeed and chronicles the Davis SB5 filibuster by calling it "the night that will live in Texas political infamy, as told by cats."
At first, it seems completely ridiculous and possibly fake. But look closer and you'll notice that it links to Patrick's official website and gives viewers an opportunity to donate to his campaign. Also, Patrick's official Twitter account woke up the #txlege Twitter feed with this little announcement: @DanPatrick "Just launched DewFeed.com for the latest #omg #fail #lols from Lt Governor David Dewhurst. RT! #txlege"
"I don't know if you've been on the Internet lately, but cats are hot," said Alan Blakemore, senior strategist for the Texans for Patrick campaign. The website was developed by Harris Media, but future plans are vague. "We have a lot of great ideas," Blakemore said. "The lieutenant governor has given us a wealth of things to work with."
Buzzfeed didn't have much to say about Dewfeed. "This isn't something we'd comment on, but thank you for checking," the site's senior press director, Ashley McCollum, told CultureMap.
This lieutenant governor race will undoubtedly get more interesting as it continues, but Dewfeed certainly is a head-scratcher. In our world of short attention spans and fleeting communications — Twitter, Instagram, hashtags, memes, etc. — it's totally plausible that an undecided voter would remember (and vote for) Patrick merely for his cat GIFs rather than his values or policy goals.
But maybe that is the goal? For the sake of Texas, and humanity, let's hope that's not the case.
Welcome to political campaigns 2013, friends, where animated cat GIFs can tell you all you need to know about candidates for public office. OMG. FAIL. LOLS.