The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

How ‘McConnelling’ came to be the hottest thing on the political web

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Earlier this week, the campaign of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) released an ad with no words. Only Mitch McConnell's smiling face.

Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) posted this ad to his campaign's YouTube page. (Video: McConnell For Senate)

The Internet responded in kind by inserting McConnell's face where it was meant to be. No, not in super PAC ads. At the end of '90s sitcom title sequences, obviously.

A day later, his tea party opponent, Matt Bevin, made his own remix of the ad. Then, the Daily Show decided to go all scientific method on this campaign ad, to discover if any song existed that did not pair perfectly with this footage of McConnell. Their experiments proved that no, such a song does not exist.

Jon Stewart then demanded that the Internet continue his research.

And so it did.

In his profile on Mitch McConnell in Politico Magazine last November, Jason Zengerle wrote,

Mitch McConnell has never been a beloved politician. Over the course of his career, he has been likened to everything from a warmed-over vanilla milkshake to “a man with the natural charisma of an oyster.” But for the 71-year-old Kentucky senator, the minority leader of the United States Senate, that has long been an asset, not a failing. His glower has usually been enough to dissuade those who consider crossing him. “He doesn’t say anything. He just sits there and stares at you,” says one person who has felt McConnell’s ire. “It’s bone-chilling.”

If this person had been singing the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" theme song in their head while going mano-a-mano with McConnell in a staring contest, they may have felt differently.

But no, wait. Pair the stare with German opera, and I see what you meant.

Walt Whitman wrote in "Song of Myself": "I am large, I contain multitudes." Barry Manilow wrote in "Can't Smile Without You": "You see I can't smile without you." When you pair that song with this campaign ad, you see that McConnell's eyes are basically paraphrasing the famous 19th century American poet.

Hey girl. Would you like the seventh most-senior U.S. senator to gaze into your eyes while Lionel Ritchie sings?

Did you know that "Mulan" is a metaphor for McConnell's thoughts about tea party senators? It's amazing we didn't see this sooner.

The Internet isn't laughing at Mitch McConnell, though. They're laughing with him.

His campaign staff has devoted a page to more McConnell credit sequence crashing.

Memes do not an electoral victory make, but that doesn't mean they won't try to turn the incumbent -- who is facing a very close race -- from this...

to this...