A video featuring a dancing Simpson was posted online Wednesday as part of a promotional campaign by the deficit reduction group, “The Can Kicks Back.”
The Can Kicks Back draws its name from the idea that the can — that is, the federal deficit — should be dealt with now instead of being kicked down the road. The bipartisan group’s stated goal is getting young people engaged on pushing for a debt solution. In-line with that mission, Simpson makes a pitch laden with tech lingo in the video.
“Stop Instagramming your breakfasts and tweeting your ‘first world’ problems and getting on YouTube so you can see ‘Gangnam Style,’ and start using those precious social media skills to go out and sign people up on this baby,” Simpson says in the video. He cautions youth to “take part or get taken apart” and says if they don’t “these old coots will clean out the Treasury before you get there.”
For the unfamiliar, Simpson is referring to the photo sharing application Instagram (where some people post benign shots of meals), Twitter (where users sometimes bemoan challenges like a dead phone under the theme “first world problems” in posts called tweets) and the video sharing website YouTube (where Korean rapper PSY’s surreal dance video “Gangnam style” is the site’s most viewed of all time).
The showstopper is that Simpson’s admonition to stop watching “Gangnam style” is interrupted by a scene of the 81-year-old actually performing the dance, which primarily involves pretending to ride a horse.
In outtakes at the end of the video, Simpson professes to have “a bum knee,” but he gamely soldiers through dance moves.
The video drew a CNBC segment on Wednesday and POLITICO interviewed the video’s creators. Other outlets posting the video on their websites included the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The National Journal, ABC News, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, The Hill, Comedy Central and the Daily Caller.
The video drew plenty of LOLs and other chuckles online.
A couple users tweeted the video made their day; another asked if everyone could be a little more like Simpson.
“That old man rocks!!” wrote Luis Chaimas.
“You can raise my taxes 1 percent, only if the money goes straight to more Alan Simpson commercials,” offered Danny Polowy of Ohio.
“Good for him,” wrote a commenter on The Daily Beast’s website. “Even in his advanced years he’s standing up for something important and using a bit of humor to do that.”
Not everyone was a fan, however.
The Atlantic’s David Graham panned Simpson’s dancing performance in a critical blog post, though he added that Simpson’s “knowledge of pop music has improved since he complained about kids ‘listening to the Enema Man and Snoopy, Snoopy Poop Dog.’”
The Washington Post’s Natalie Jennings wrote that “Whether Simpson’s dancing will win over millennial Americans to his debt-reduction crusade or just help kill the viral South Korean video remains to be seen.”
Other commenters criticized Simpson’s approach and said the underlying debt reduction ideas proposed by “The Can Kicks Back” (which are similar to the Simpson-Bowles plan and would involve more taxes and cuts to entitlements) as the wrong one.
View totals for Simpson’s video were not available on YouTube as of press time Wednesday, but it had garnered 111 likes against just eight dislikes — an approval rating the current Congress can only dream of.
The video can be viewed at www.thecankicksback.org.