The Washington Post reports more than a fourth of what comes out of a politican’s mouth (or press release) is a taunt.
The earlier trifecta of political speak was always determined to fall into three categories: 1. Taking credit, 2. Taking a position, and 3. Advertising.
This might not be too different from how we all run our lives anyway. Broadcasters always talk about having an “exclusive.” In the workplace a well-placed bit of credit can pay off in the wallet. Here is how the three, now four, categories could work at home:
- 1. Thanks to my leadership, the garbage cans are empty. My son took out the garbage and did so at my direction.
- 2. I am in favor of empty garbage cans.
- 3. Look at me, standing next to empty garbage cans.
- 4. My son hates his family, evidenced by his failure to empty the garbage cans, despite my repeated warnings.”
Just today, Washington State Democrats re-tweeted this:
RT @glossolaliac: Tea Party shutdown means military won’t get paid. http://ow.ly/4vx2z // Does the GOP hate freedom? #govshutdown #p2 #wadem
That can’t be true, that Republicans hate freedom. In November, new House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, said this:
“And we can celebrate when we have a government that has earned back the trust of the people it serves. When we have a government that honors our Constitution and stands up for the values that have made America, America: economic freedom, individual liberty, and personal responsibility.”
Even without the quote, the comment that almost anyone in any American political party hates freedom is absurd. I think the Democrat who posted that tweet probably knew that and made the comment tongue in cheek.
Yesterday the Republicans took their shot:
#Democrat Rep. Norm Dicks admits in House floor speech that the #budget mess is the fault of the #Dems. http://youtu.be/3Ss5TDbdMn0
Here’s what Dicks said in the middle of a speech in which I’m pretty sure he faulted Republicans as well for the current budget stalemate:
“I will be the first to admit that it’s because we didn’t pass, the Democrats didn’t pass, our bills last year that we’re here working on this. So we have responsibility, too . . .”
So, “We have responsibility,” becomes “It’s our fault,” according to the tweet.
This doesn’t just permeate politics, it resonates everywhere. If you admit any accountability, those who have any interest in ducking blame will use that to say it’s all your fault.
I contacted Dicks’ office to see if I could get the transcript of the entire speech. Instead he called me back. He again admitted that Democrats bear a lot of responsibility for the current budget impasse, but pointed out that the same thing happened to Republicans when they lost power in 2006. And he emphasized, something he was getting into at the end of the video, that he and the House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky, are working to make the appropriations process more transparent.
Dicks also offered that Boehner is in a tough spot because of the demands being made by some of the new Republicans in the House. You can read that to include both conciliation and an insult to Republicans.
Bear in mind this is only about politicians doing their day jobs. As we look forward to the 2012 election (And who isn’t!) the taunting or insulting language will jump from the 27 percent it is during session to substantially more on the stump.
Expect to hear that Rob McKenna’s father smells of elderberries, and Jay Inslee’s mother was a hamster.