Dark Chocolate and the Derp Gap

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 4 2014 6:36 PM

Dark Chocolate and the Derp Gap

She knows what he prefers to milk

Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images

Earlier today I tweeted the pathetic tale of a Kentucky Democratic strategist who decided the best way to spend her Saturday was challenging the Bluegrass State cred of Sen. Mitch McConnell's wife, Elaine Chao. (As the strategist kept saying, Chao is Asian. This is not actually an impediment to her living in Kentucky.) A Twitterer informed me that "between this and the Pelosi tweet," it was a hell of a day for Democrats and racism.

The Pelosi tweet? I had to click over to Twitchy.com, the conservative site that aggregates Twitter talk, to find out what the Internet was reacting to.


"As Democrats have reminded everyone on numerous occasions, today is President Obama’s birthday," wrote "Twitchy staff," by way of explanation. "Nancy Pelosi joined the 'happy birthday' parade today perhaps in a way that would have gotten her in trouble if she were a member of a different party. Now just imagine if a Republican said that."

Had a Republican said it, he would have reflected the reality that the Obamas prefer dark chocolate. Like most machines that can connect to Twitter, my computer can connect to a larger Internet, where this fact can be discovered in a few seconds, as in this 2013 tweet from Pelosi.

But as the comment thread from Pelosi's new tweet proves, lots of people assumed 1) that the Democratic leader in the House was making a racial joke (or gaffe) at the president's expense, that 2) the lack of outrage about this suggests that the media protects its own, and that 3) it made more sense to fulminate about the situation than to Google around about it. Between Mo Brooks and Dark Chocolategate, quite the day for projection about racial attitudes.

(More very serious analysis of the Derp Gap can be found here.)

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics



The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Secret Service Director Julia Pierson Resigns

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now.


Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.


How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The U.S. Has a New Problem in Syria: The Moderate Rebels Feel Like We’ve Betrayed Them

We Need to Talk: A Terrible Name for a Good Sports Show by and About Women

Trending News Channel
Oct. 1 2014 1:25 PM Japanese Cheerleader Robots Balance and Roll Around on Balls
  News & Politics
Oct. 1 2014 4:15 PM The Trials of White Boy Rick A Detroit crime legend, the FBI, and the ugliness of the war on drugs.
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
The Eye
Oct. 1 2014 1:04 PM An Architectural Crusade Against the Tyranny of Straight Lines
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 3:02 PM The Best Show of the Summer Is Getting a Second Season
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 4:26 PM How to Measure the Value of Your Personal Data in Cookies: A Slate Guide
  Health & Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.