As it turns out, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens can’t use Facebook to get the General Assembly to do what he wants.
That’s one reason there’s nothing special about the special session he called to start on Monday.
Greitens and his fellow GOP lawmakers should be ashamed they couldn’t get their work done by the regular session’s end date of May 12. Now Greitens, the self-proclaimed fiscally conservative governor, will burden taxpayers to bring legislators back to Jefferson City.
The governor wants the General Assembly to make it possible for Ameren to charge lower electricity rates that might help get an old aluminum plant up and running plus bring a steel mill to the Bootheel.
The downside: This special-interest legislation eventually could lead to higher rates for the rest of Missourians. You know, those who — unlike Ameren and other utilities — have not forked over generous contributions to Greitens and lawmakers.
Greitens used Facebook and Twitter to announce the special session, with words guaranteed to irritate many members of both parties.
This incident reminded me to look into Greitens’ use of social media, which he often touts as one of his strengths.
Since he began his term in January, Greitens and his backers have said he will use Facebook especially to reach out to people to get his message across.
As I wrote in mid-February, though, he’s too often running away from answering questions from the media while whining about them.
On Sunday evening, I decided to check into Greitens’ use of social media. The results surprised me.
The governor’s use of Facebook and Twitter actually has dropped steadily and dramatically from January through two-thirds of May.
I counted 48 Facebook posts in January, 39 in February, 30 in March, 24 in April and 11 so far in May (a rate of 17 for the full month).
His Twitter account showed a similar steep decline, from around 65 tweets and retweets in January, to 50 in February, 34 in March, 25 in April and 14 in May (a rate of 21 for the full month).
The bottom line: Greitens isn’t using social media to “talk” to Missourians nearly as much as he once did.
He didn’t use it toward the end of the session very much to rally people to his side on several major bills, including ethics reform.
Greitens failed late in the session to bring Republicans together to pass the Ameren bill plus others. He even went the opposite direction, when he publicly antagonized other GOP lawmakers.
In the end, Facebook didn’t help Greitens get what he wanted, resulting in an expensive “special” session.