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#FollowFriday: A Tiny Shred Of Political Authenticity

Rep.Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., is a regular on Twitter. Here, he plays guitar at a festival last July in Whitmore Lake, Mich.
Bill Pugliano
Getty Images
Rep.Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., is a regular on Twitter. Here, he plays guitar at a festival last July in Whitmore Lake, Mich.

Note: We've asked NPR journalists to share their top five (or so) political Twitter accounts, and we're featuring the series on #FollowFriday. Here are recommendations from reporter Andrea Seabrook (@RadioBabe).

I have a thing about political fakes on Twitter. I HATE them. And when I say fakes, I mean a handle that appears to be a senator or representative, but is very obviously written by some 22-year-old staffer.

See, I already get 200 or 300 emails a day (not kidding!) from congressional offices barking their points of view and snarling at the opposition. And that's enough. I do not want that kind of stuff in my Twitter feed. In fact, let me be bold: That is not what Twitter is for.

What I do like is politicians whose tweets actually, really, identifiably come from them. The ones who tweet interesting facts, interact with their constituents, and even — gasp — crack jokes on occasion.

So on this fine #FF, let me recommend a few pols who walk the walk and tweet the tweet.

Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y. (@RepSteveIsrael): How could you doubt that the congressman from Long Island is writing his own tweets, with gems like this: "If u want to understand laws of physics, watch 8 lanes of traffic being merged into 4 at Queens Midtown Tunnel during Monday morning rush."

Rep. Thad McCotter, R-Mich. (@ThadMcCotter): McCotter possesses that rare combination (in Washington, anyway) of heightened sense of humor with high IQ. Can you hear the sarcasm in his re-election announcement tweet? — "Once more unto the breach, Dear Friends." (And don't miss the pic.)

Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis. (@RepSeanDuffy): At only 40 years old, Duffy is about as close to being a digital native as any member of Congress. (The average age in the House is 57; in the Senate it's 62.)

But it's his zany attitude that makes following Duffy fun. For example, the recent hashtag trend he sparked, with a video of the Wisconsin ax he brought to Washington: "Where would you cut govt #spending? Reply using #bringtheax! RT and follow if you agree we need to cut spending."

Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker (@CoryBooker): After the Democratic mayor of New Jersey's largest city rescued a woman from a burning building earlier this year, who wouldn't want to follow his every move? He's serious about Twitter: In the winter of 2010, Booker responded to a constituent's tweet by showing up at her elderly father's house to shovel snow in the driveway.

The cherry on top? His penchant for doling out 140 characters of inspiration. Like this verse of William Ernest Henley's 1875 poem "Invictus": " 'It matters not how strait the gate / How charged with punishments the scroll / I am the master of my fate / I am the captain of my soul' WEH"

Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J. (@RushHolt): You don't have to be a rocket scientist to be in Congress, but it doesn't hurt. Holt is proof of that. His serious and calm appraisals of political situations also manage to charm, and he's good for some old-fashioned banter with colleagues. Like this response to the news that Newark Mayor Cory Booker (see above) is among the most popular politicians in the country; only 6 percent of his constituents have an unfavorable view of him: "@CoryBooker Next time try to save a sinking ship of kittens, that might convince that last 6%"

Happy Follow Friday, everyone. May your tweets be genuine.

<3, @RadioBabe

Follow our recommendations so far, and get future picks, here: https://twitter.com/#!/nprpolitics/the-npr-twitterati

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Andrea Seabrook covers Capitol Hill as NPR's Congressional Correspondent.
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