Congressional Republicans on Thursday abruptly halted what was surely the most innovative internet petition drive in history, after too much of the internet discovered it.
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) had invited voters to visit its “I Want Repeal” Tumblr to register opposition to Obama’s health care legislation — which the GOP called “Obamacare.” Visitors to the site could fill out a form with their name and an e-mail address, and watch on a live video stream as the hard copy of the filled-out petition, and everyone else’s, churned from an inkjet printer and piled up in the paper tray for delivery to the White House.
The GOP promoted the campaign heavily online with the hashtag #IWantRepeal, leading Thursday to the inevitable barrage of jokers entering made-up names for the sheer joy of seeing them spit off the printer before a live web audience.
By late Thursday afternoon, signers included Jesus Christ, Luigi Mario, Dimeball Darren, Una Bohmer, Queen Anime, HelpI’mStuckInthisPrinter, hello twitter, Piss Children, Boner Junkmonkey and Barf Vomit. A volunteer’s hand could periodically be seen darting into the frame to pull out a stack of freshly printed petitions before the tray could overflow.
Then, just after 6:30 p.m. EDT, the printer stopped and the frame froze. At press time it hasn’t come back.
Threat Level reached a spokeswoman for the committee soon after, but she said she was not immediately prepared to comment on the campaign. The name of the last legitimate signer of the petition before the printer fell still is currently trending on Twitter.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule on a challenge to President Barack Obama’s medical plan soon. According to a New York Times/CBS News poll released Thursday, more than two-thirds of Americans hope the high court will strike down the measure.
Additional reporting by Angela Watercutter.