#GOPWarOnCaterpillars Trends Third Worldwide on Twitter

If the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars and every mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then wed have problems with caterpillars. Its a fiction.

If RNC Chairman, Reince Priebus, had known it would become last week’s Internet phenomenon, he probably wouldn’t have said a thing about caterpillars. After all, he was trying to be tongue-in-cheek, but the relentless mockery in the blogosphere and Twittersphere probably weren’t worth the satisfaction of getting that punchline.

The hashtag #GOPWarOnCaterpillars was trending at number three worldwide Thursday afternoon, with tweets like the following:

You’re going to need to have a transpupal ultrasound before you metamorphosize young lady.

New Arizona GOP law places “butterfly personhood” at pre-caterpillar larvae stage


This satirical hashtag, spearheaded by writer John Scalzi, wasn’t the only response to the chairman’s comments. Blogs and media outlets have also responded. A few hours before Scalzi started tweeting in earnest, our own Robin Marty was doing a little psychoanalysis, wondering if perhaps there’s an unconscious reason why Priebus chose caterpillars as his fictive example, when dismissing accusations of a general attack on women’s rights. Also that same day, an article in the Atlantic points out that there literally is a war on caterpillars, and on the environment in general, by the Grand Old Party.

It’s no surprise that the War on Women is so effective as a slogan. For a party that frequently talks about small government, it’s amazing just how much money and manpower Republicans want to bring to bear on sticking their noses in the lives of people they don’t like. It’s very much like a war of subjugation.

Still, if tweeters were sticking to War on Women talking points, the caterpillar hashtag may not have taken over as quickly as it did. But Twitter quickly became a free-for-all for mocking Republican agendas:

If butterflies came from caterpillars HOW COME THERE ARE STILL CATERPILLARS?!


We don’t need the votes from THAT SEGMENT of the population!


Women, immigrants, people with different sexual orientations, people with different gender identities: each group has found itself in the GOP’s sights at one time or another.

During the Bush years, a book entitled “The Republican War on Science” caused a lot of buzz. Bush did refer to himself as a “war president,” though that’s not the kind of war he wanted to admit to waging. He already came across to some as a D student.

Still, the imagery fits. Republicans reaching out to crush their enemies. A “them or us” mentality. It’s a cultural and political war, but it is an attack on certain members of the American populace, and progressive ideals generally.

It’s a hopeless war, however. The GOP’s progressive enemies are entrenched, and using guerilla warfare. You want to tell doctors the new rules for abortion access? Will there be a Republican congressman standing in each doctor’s office and watching to make sure? Then I don’t think it’s gonna happen. You want to bring the morality of birth control into public debate? Good luck getting elected without any of the female vote.

The GOP may indeed be waging not one, but several wars. And at the expense of marginalizing themselves further and further, they may manage to pass one or two pieces of short-lived legislation. But somebody should probably explain to Republican leadership the definition of a Pyrrhic victory.

Related stories:

Does the GOP Think Every Woman Is Just A Caterpillar Waiting To Transform. . .Into a Mother?

Doctor Tells Fellow MDs: No Coercive Ultrasounds; It’s Rape

Alabama Joins States Fighting Birth Control Mandate

A country that polices the use of birth control (let alone abortion access) and tracks down every single Mexican migrant worker as if they’re potential terrorists can hardly do so with a small government.

Image credit: Olivia Waite


Sarah M.
Sarah M5 years ago

revolting republicans

Charli S.
Charlotte S5 years ago

You can only be a victim if you accept the role. I refuse to be a victim. I've never allowed society to tell me what to do and at 60 I'm not starting now. I've paid for not following the rules. Teargas, punches, jail (for protesting), cops grabbing at my "lady parts" as they "arrest" me, sleepless nights, countless spoken and written words, etc. And it seems that for every step forward we lose a 1/2 back but we do make progress. We need to stop believing either party will save us. Both only care about their own power so we must change things. and we can succeed.

Angela N.
Angela N5 years ago

thanks :)

Sue H.
Sue H5 years ago

Well done article, thanks.

Yulan Lawson
Yulan Lawson5 years ago

Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

Joy Dantine
Joy Dantine5 years ago

All my friends, past, present and future, are victims to games finally recognized as played - with all those in the game - considered game players. I have learned to take game playing very seriously to beat the best at this sort of game. I first had to learn how the game is played so to best win the first time in. I like this game. I know the players and I knew the winners. I want to play like the winners. I am partnering with the winners. For it is the winning team I wish to partner with, not those that "currently" have the upperhand. I SEE A MAGNIFICANT CHANGE OF HANDS BEING PLAYED RIGHT INTO MY HAND. All one needs to do - IS PARTICIPATE IN THE VOTING SYSTEM - WITHOUT A POCKETFULL OF FALSE PROMISES; KNOW THY CANDIDATES' HISTORY.

Debra Van Way
Debra Van Way5 years ago

Seems the republican party (they don't deserve a capital r) and reality have never met. I suspect they will become vaguely familiar (after someone "dumbs" the answer down for them to halfway understand) with that come election day.

Muriel C.
Muriel C5 years ago

Have I been a target of the GOP? Oh yes:
-as a 1st generation American citizen (IE: immigrant)
-as a woman
-as a disabled person living on SSDI for the past 6 years
-as a pro-choice, pro-equality Democrat
-as the mother of a transgender person, etc.

Dan B.
Dan Brook5 years ago

The regressive Republican Party of No is obstructionist, mean-spirited, thuggish, religiously fanatical, scientifically ignorant, corrupt, hypocritical, xenophobic, racist, sexist, homophobic, evolution and global warming denying, oily, anti-environment, anti-health, anti-consumer, anti-choice, anti-birth control, anti-education, anti-99%, union busting, Medicare mashing and Social Security slashing, fiscally irresponsible, authoritarian, selfish, greedy, out-of-touch, dishonest, lacking compassion, warmongering, and otherwise dangerous.

NEVER vote for Republicans.

Dave C.
David C5 years ago