The man behind the widely-retweeted Twitter account @SatanSandwich has unmasked himself as none other than 23-year-old Think Progress blogger Zaid Jilani. "A lot of people found it amusing," he tells The Atlantic Wire of his previously anonymous account. "I always want to make people laugh or smile." At the height of the debt ceiling debate that ended this afternoon with President Obama signing a bipartisan bill into law, pundits and politicians utilized a host of hyperbolic analogies from Armageddon to World War 1 to describe the legislative struggle. But few descriptors caught on more than Missouri Democrat Emanuel Cleaver's remark that the compromise bill was a "sugar-coated Satan sandwich." And thanks to Jilani, the quote lived on as the Twitter account @SatanSandwich, a scheming, malicious entity taking delight in the Medicare and Social Security cuts expected in the bill that so angered the nation's liberals.
Though the account was re-tweeted and chortled over by everyone from Bloomberg's Lizzie O'Leary to Esquire magazine, Jilani says his immediate impulse to create the account was raw anger. He described Cleaver's reaction to the debt deal, which cuts $2.4 trillion from the federal budget, as an "expression of anger and disgust."
"I felt the same way," he said, "and I wanted a way to capture public attention to do what is often done in the face of real human tragedy - satirize it."
"I've only been in D.C. for a couple years," he continued. "I went to college in one of the poorest large counties in America - Athens, GA - and I'm just not used to multi-millionaires casting votes that throw hundreds of thousands of people out of work. It was my tiny act of protest."
As for whether the account will have a shelf-life now that the bill has been signed into law, he sounded a tad dejected. "Does anyone really want to read this junk anymore?"
Well, it was good while it lasted, Jilani. At least there's that!