The news: Washington insiders are gooing and gawing over Sen. Rand Paul's (R-Ky.) decision to join Snapchat on Wednesday.
The libertarian senator officially announced his intent to join Snapchat on Wednesday morning on Twitter, becoming one of the first politicians to cement his presence on an app mostly known for dick pics and teen in-jokes:
Did you hear? I joined @Snapchat! For daily updates & behind-the-scenes footage follow: senatorrandpaul. I'm sending my first snap tonight.— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) January 15, 2014
While it's kind of interesting that Sen. Paul has decided this is a good use of his time (and it may well be, given his youthful base and national ambitions that rely on dismissing the image of an outdated GOP), the really revealing tidbit here is how shallow the D.C. press can be exhalting Beltway minutiae as game-changing strategy.
As The Wire's Allie Jones noted, somehow this was Mike Allen's Playbook exclusive lead story on Wednesday morning, which would be entirely surprising if Playbook wasn't mostly an excuse for Allen to promote every twist and vagary of the Washington elite.
Here's what he ran with as the headline for Wednesday's newsletter:
"RAND PAUL JOINS SNAPCHAT -- OBAMA'S 2014 AGENDA: manufacturing, college affordability, women's issues -- GOP AD BLITZ ON OBAMACARE GOING 'LARGELY UNANSWERED' -- JIM MORAN RETIRING"
And Allen's Politico covered the swap in what Salon's Andrew Leonard called "a press release, pure-and-simple, generated by Rand Paul's office, devoid of anything resembling value-added analysis."
At least Huffpo's snarky headline "Rand Paul Officially Ruins Snapchat Forever" had some commentary.
Why you should care: Playbook has officially decided Rand Paul on Snapchat is more important than issues like Congress's failure to reach a decision on unemployment insurance extension. Unlike Snapchats, systemic unemployment doesn't vanish within 10 seconds.
Here is Paul's somehow-noteworthy first message, by the way:
In Paul's defense: Washington insiders aren't exactly the most astute when it comes to the latest in Internet technology, so we should give Paul some credit for actually seeming to understand what Snapchat does. For example, Michele Bachmann thinks that "Obamacare is the health care version of Snapchat: Now you see it, now you don't," which sounds pithy for the three seconds it takes for someone to realize a monumental healthcare reform is a little more weighty than an automatically-deleted picture of someone's junk. For what it's worth, that tidbit was apparently also a Politico exclusive.
Furthermore, and more importantly, this was Paul's rather clever second Snapchat:
Pretty sure I've seen this joke on a birthday card from Spencer's, but hey. Sen. Paul may be the first American politician to send a self-destructing butt joke over the internet.
In other words, D.C.'s biggest news story on Wednesday was a 10-second disappearing ass joke. Now that's worth an exclusive.