“What is the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull?” the president of the United States asked 10 years ago at the White House Correspondents Dinner. “A pit bull is delicious.”
Of course, as E.B. White cautioned, “Explaining a joke is like dissecting a frog. You understand it better but the frog dies in the process.” But that’s all right because I bring up this decade-old riff to explain the joke that is Twitter.
The “hockey moms” reference was a shot at Sarah Palin, who had famously joked that the difference between pit bulls and hockey moms was “lipstick.” But Palin wasn’t the actual butt of Barack Obama’s joke, he was. Two weeks earlier, Daily Caller blogger Jim Treacher posted an article noting that Obama admitted in his memoir Dreams of My Father that he had eaten dog when he was visiting family in Indonesia.
Treacher’s point was to push back on the combined obsession of the Beltway media and the Obama campaign with an old story about how Mitt Romney—Obama’s 2012 opponent—used to go on driving family vacations with his dog in a kennel on the roof. New York Times columnist Gail Collins alone mentioned the incident at least 70 times.