A retired Wyoming U.S. senator who decades ago learned to boogie-woogie to woo his wife has learned to dance “Gangnam style” to woo young Americans to speak out against the pending “fiscal cliff.”
In a video posted on www.thecankicksback.org, 81-year-old Alan Simpson shakes his budget maker to the Korean pop hit while stating, “Stop Instagramming your breakfast and tweeting your First World problems, and get 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.”
The video has gone viral.
Speaking Wednesday from New York an hour before an appearance on the “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” the octogenarian said the dance wasn’t too hard to learn.
He’s from the Cowboy State, after all.
“That looks like a guy riding a horse,” he said about the song’s artist, Psy. “When you raise your hand, it looks like you’re trying to lasso a cow. I said, ‘I can do it.’”
Simpson has been a sought-after voice since he and Erskine Bowles chaired a “super committee” in 2010 and 2011 that proposed a solution to the growing federal deficit. Congress rejected it. Officially, the Can Kicks Back organization believes Simpson-Bowles is one, but not the only, way to achieve the spending cuts and revenue increases necessary to avoid the fiscal cliff.
The video was filmed last week, when Simpson was in Washington, D.C., for a Christian Science Monitor breakfast.
Filming took 10 minutes, he said.
“That was about the time ‘Gangnam Style’ became the most viewed video on YouTube,” said Nick Troiano, a field director with the Can Kicks Back, in an email to the Casper Star-Tribune. “… The overall point is that young people spend so much time on social media and we reach so many people, if we only were to use these tools to organize around fixing the debt, we could make a huge difference. We’re the most connected generation in American history, and we also have the most at stake in the debate over the debt.”
“Psy better watch out,” he added.
Some 60 years ago, the general perception in northern Wyoming was that boys from Cody couldn’t dance but boys from Worland could, Simpson recalled.
Socially, that was a problem for Simpson.
“Dancing was the big thing in the late ’40s, early ’50s,” he said.
He had started dating Ann, his wife of 58 years, who told him, “If we were going to go together, it would be helpful if you learned to dance,” he said.
So he learned.
“We danced the boogie-woogie and the jitterbug,” he said. “Just grab hold of each other and swing.”
Fast forward to last week, when the folks from the Can Kicks Back showed him the “Gangnam Style,” video. Simpson was a bit startled.
But not at a loss for words, of course.
“I thought it was the nuttiest thing I had ever heard in my life,” he said. “Everybody was laughing. It was a cult thing. Who is this guy? They said he was a Korean guy. Nobody knows what he’s saying. It doesn’t matter if it’s Korean or [English], no one knows what they’re saying anymore.”
The Can Kicks Back is a young American outreach partner of the Campaign to Fix the Debt.
According to The Washington Post, business leaders created the Campaign to Fix the Debt. It has a $43 million budget.
“There are hundreds of thousands of people here [members of the Can Kicks Back],” said Simpson, a Republican. “Democrats, Republicans, commies. I don’t know who the hell they are. They’re an organization telling young people either you get into the game or when you’re 60 or 65, you’re going to be out of the game.”