Dan Patrick's Latest Terrible Tweet
Lite Guv social media debacle over San Bernardino murders
By Richard Whittaker,
4:00PM, Fri. Dec. 4, 2015
How often does sports broadcaster Dan Patrick hope that Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick changes his name back to Danny Goeb so the confusion ends? Probably every time Texas' Patrick tweets something really dumb. Like he did this week.
In the wake of the tragic shooting in San Bernardino, the usual GOP suspects took to Twitter to recite the standard pablum about how they are praying for the victims and the emergency services caught up in this horror show. Because, of course, tweeting about your religious beliefs is a lot easier than passing gun control legislation, and easier on the campaign war chest than not taking National Rifle Association money.
Unsurprisingly, this sanctimonious dumb show was one amen too many for many people, and the New York Daily News in particular. The paper, which lives with the sad honor of being responsible for some of the widest-praised coverage of the Sandy Hook Massacre, is unafraid to take the gun lobby to task (having already dubbed NRA president Wayne Lapierre "Jihadi Wayne"). In righteous fury, the editorial board released a cover for the Dec. 3 issue that was a straight smash in their face.
Of course, far be it for the party of big gun, big church, and bloviation to stand back. Here comes Patrick to the rescue of poor, benighted Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan, only to end up playing the most misguided round of "fixed it for you" in the history of the Internet, Tweeting this Photoshop disaster:
Cue general bafflement, slowly transforming into shock, fury, and castigation. So was Patrick saying that God answered his prayers by having someone shoot 14 Californians? Because that's pretty much literally what he wrote (or, we can presume, what some ambitious staffer with a copy of Microsoft Paint craft glued together one afternoon).
There were the apologists (including those among the Texas media), there were those claiming that critics were misreading or misinterpreting his words, the general consensus being that Patrick's intention was to say that God is listening now that all those people are dead (or something along those lines). Of course, that explanation misses that Patrick's seeming intent was to take potshots at people tired of the GOP's inaction on gun control, and dress himself as the religious savior of the Second Amendment crowd.
However, even Patrick's office couldn't ignore the roiling sea of angry tweets he received in response to this. Even he could only withstand so much backlash, and here comes response part two, a classic sorry-not-sorry in which he paints himself as the victim. First, he deleted the offending image. Second, rather than apologize, or even throw some desperate intern under the bus, he blamed his critics in a three-part tweet:
Here's the problem, or rather problems, for Patrick. One, it's another show of unapologetic petulance and victimhood from the statewide officeholder that legendarily accused Gov. Greg Abbott and Speaker Joe Straus of "picking on me."
Two, whoever came up with that Photoshop disaster should never be allowed to pen a press release, or even talk in public, because they clearly cannot understand how something like this will be read.
And three, the final optic of this is just another Texas politician taking potshots at the East Coast media while California families gather their dead and visit their wounded loved ones. His bi-coastal offensive was just tri-coastally offensive.
Of course, Patrick is far from the only Republican to play the victim over this affair. One need only look as far as the Travis County GOP's official Twitter feed with this gem:
So how often does Dan Patrick wish that Dan Patrick would change his name back to Danny Goeb? We're guessing all the time.
Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at austinchronicle.com/opinion.
A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.
Richard Whittaker, May 29, 2017
Mary Tuma, July 14, 2016
Jordan Smith, March 9, 2013
March 20, 2023
March 19, 2023
Dan Patrick, Guns, Twitter, Travis County Republican Party, San Bernardino, New York Daily News, The Dan Patrick Files