‘Horses and Bayonets’ meme saddles Romney

The Romney memes have come full-circle: Four months ago, everyone was talking about Rafalca, Romney’s dancing dressage horse. Today, thanks to an exchange between the candidates about military spending, it’s war horses. When Romney said that the Navy was too small and had fewer ships than it did in 1916, Obama replied, “Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets.”

And thus, the meme of the last debate was born. Following in the footsteps of its predecessors, Big Bird and Binders Full of Women, it acquired a Tumblr and parody Twitter feeds within 10 minutes of the words leaving Obama’s mouth. People Photoshopped the Romney-Ryan logo on classic paintings of the Revolutionary War, like this John Trumbull painting, “The Surrender of Lord Cornwallis.”

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Or this image of bayonet-bearing soldiers:

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The Tumblr sites “Horse and Bayonet” and “Horses and Bayonets” have plenty more. Alas the @obamasbayonets Twitter account hasn’t uttered a single tweet yet, but @horsebayonette, also self-titled as “War Horse,” said this:

He may not need me anymore, but I can’t help but like the guy. Probably his commanding presence... neigh, it’s the ears.

— War Horse (@horsebayonette) October 23, 2012

But “Horses and Bayonets” isn’t just a good political meme — it’s a good indie band name! Some folks picked up on that last night:

Horses & Bayonets will headline Coachella in 2014

— David Greenwald (@daverawkblog) October 23, 2012

Apology Tour 2012: Horses & Bayonets opening for Crippling Sanctions.

— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) October 23, 2012

Others took the meme into the realm of the absurd, pointing out that unicorns are horses with bayonets.

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For what it’s worth, many people have pointed out that the Army does, indeed, still use bayonets — though Obama is correct that it uses fewer of them.

Other memes referenced Obama’s follow-up to his comment, when he explained that America’s military has evolved.

“We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. And so, the question is not a game of Battleship, where we’re counting ships. It’s, ‘What are our capabilities?’” References to the classic game — and flop of a movie this year — also worked their way into the memes.

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But the last word may have gone to John Kerry:

I think POTUS just sank Romney’s battleship

— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) October 23, 2012

Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts for the Weekend section and Going Out Guide.

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