Do you want a president who knows about “Let’s Go Brandon” or one who reads his intelligence brief?
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring not even, well, actually, some creatures were stirring…
[Jason} Schmeck said he and his family call into the NORAD Santa tracker every Christmas Eve. He said he wasn’t aware the call would be live-streamed.
When he called Friday night from his sons’ Christmas-decorated bedroom, he was told First Lady Jill Biden would be taking calls.
“I thought it would be automated. We just waited on hold and then they answered,” he said. “And I thought, ‘wow, this is real.’ "
Wow! What a nice little Christmas Eve surprise!
When Jared shared the names of his children, President Biden immediately homed in on the boy named Hunter, sharing that they have a son and grandson named Hunter as well.
Jared’s 11-year-old Griffin told the president he wanted a piano for Christmas. His son Hunter said he wanted a Switch.
“Switch?” Biden questioned.
Schmeck, kneeling between his sons’ beds and holding his cell phone out so all could hear, explained to the president that it’s short for Nintendo Switch. Schmeck went on to share that his daughter Piper wanted a Barbie doll airplane and his 2-year-old daughter Penelope would be happy with any presents from Santa. Schmeck asked for a “quiet night.” The president retorted, “Lucks of luck dad,” and all laughed.
Biden urged all the children to get to bed by 9 p.m. and stay asleep until midnight or Santa wouldn’t show.
“Well, have a Merry Christmas. Have a wonderful Christmas,” the First Lady said.
“I hope you guys have a wonderful Christmas as well,” Schmeck responded, and added, “Merry Christmas and Let’s Go Brandon!”
“Let’s go, Brandon, I agree,” the President immediately responded.
“Let’s go, Brandon” is a weird little meme conservatives use to say “f*ck, Joe Biden” ever since an October NASCAR event where the crowd was chanting “F*ck, Joe Biden,” but a TV reporter described the chant as “Let’s go, Brandon.”
It took me months to finally look up what it meant because honestly who cares? It is not a crime to shout “f*ck Joe Biden.” These people don’t need little decoder rings to do it. But it’s become a real right-wing “loser says what?” thing.
Schmeck’s wife proudly posted about her husband’s sick own on Instagram and the whole thing blew up and started trending. Schmeck became a viral MAGA hero but when some people pointed out what a prick he had been to this nice president who was taking time out of his holiday to wish Schmeck’s kid’s a Merry Christmas, he back-tracked a touch.
“I understand there is a vulgar meaning to ‘Lets go Brandon,’ but I’m not that simple minded, no matter how I feel about him,” Schmeck, who denied being “a Trumper,” told The Oregonian. “He seems likes he’s a cordial guy. There’s no animosity or anything like that. It was merely just an innocent jest to also express my God-given right to express my frustrations in a joking manner...I love him just like I love any other brother or sister.”
That backtracking lasted about 10 seconds. He then went on Steve Bannon’s talk show wearing a MAGA hat and repeated various lies about the election.
“Donald Trump is my president and he should still be president right now.”
Let me pause here to make an observation about this prank caller: 1) he is a coward. It is not a crime to curse at the president. If you truly hate Joe Biden’s policies that much and you are presented with your chance to tell him how you feel, it might be rude, but you are perfectly within your rights to tell him to f*ck off. Liberals cursed at Trump every day. Codepink sat outside George W Bush’s ranch and cursed at him for years. This might not be polite, but it’s honest.
When you tell a president to “f*ck off” you are using your voice to send a message to that president. It’s one they’ll understand. If instead, you use a coded term to tell the president a message he will not understand, you are speaking to the audience. It is not about sending him a message. It is about getting rewarded with viral engagement. It’s the difference between writing a letter and sending it in the mail to the recipient and writing an open letter and posting it online without bothering to actually send it to the subject.
Fine. Whatever. The world needs ditch diggers too and this is how the incentives of social media work.
But it gets a little worse.
Jeremy Diamond @JDiamond1On a call with President Biden & First Lady Jill Biden intended for kids calling into NORAD to track Santa, a father ended the call by saying "Let's go Brandon," which is code for "F*** Joe Biden" Biden replied, "Let's go Brandon, I agree."
If you spend enough time online, there will come a point when one day you will have to explain some idiotic niche meme to someone who lives a healthier life than you and has no idea what you’re talking about. It is humiliating. Your cocoon is forced open just enough that the sun comes in and you realize if only for a moment how utterly poor your life choices have been. This experience is a first-order treatment for early-onset Internet Poisoning.
Some people are too far gone to feel the shame of this, though. During the 2020 Democratic primaries, lots of the online activist left kept thinking that Joe Biden’s unfamiliarity with their ways was going to be a bad thing for him. They were wrong. As I wrote at the time, Joe Biden’s refusal to pay any attention to the trivialities of Twitter was a superpower. In both the primary and the general, Joe Biden had more in common with the average voter than people who deal in the dark internecine art of internet politics.
Things are different in the GOP, a party that has been led for more than 6 years by the most unhealthily online person on Earth.
Donald Trump has made the internet the official language of the GOP, which is to say he has made sure it can only speak in meaningless, performative, culture war dunks.
So here we are in 2021 and Joe Biden is prosecuting the war on Christmas with such flourish that he, unlike his predecessor, is spending his Christmas Eve talking to families about Santa. A prank caller asks him if his refrigerator is running and tells him to run after it, giggles, and hangs up the phone, and the entire party apparatus takes on the role of school children high-fiving each other.
They do not care that Biden understands their opinion about politics. It is not about that at all. It is about creating a cause for them to be celebrated by their in-group. A chance to dance around the campfire and have a circle jerk.
Donald Trump Sr, a man so profoundly incurious that he loathed having to know what was in the President’s Daily Brief, would obviously have known about a meme as popular as “Let’s Go, Brandon.” And in a perverse way that makes this a very honest illustration of the differences between the two parties right now.
Do voters want a president who knows about “Let’s Go Brandon” or a president who reads the daily intelligence briefing?