Nancy Pelosi drives me crazy, because she can take political slam dunks and turn them into half-court jumpers at the buzzer.
Take the recent case of Republican Rep. Mark Foley, who has resigned after sexually charged e-mails and IMs he sent to minors were uncovered. The Republican leadership apparently knew about this almost a year ago, and squashed it rather than chase Foley out of his position.
The problem couldn't be any clearer: A Republican was sexually
exploiting underage staff members, and the GOP leadership knew all
Instead of saying just that, though, here's what Nancy Pelosi wrote to
the Ethics Committe, knowing full well it was her money quote:
``It is a nightmare for every child, parent, and grandparent to learn
that a child is being stalked on the Internet by an adult in a
position of authority," House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, Democrat
of California, wrote yesterday to the Ethics Committee. ``The fact
that Mr. Foley was engaging in this behavior with underage children,
that the Republican leadership knew about it for six months to a year
and has characterized the inappropriate behavior as `overly friendly'
and `acting as a mentor' and that apparently no action was taken to
protect these underage children is abhorrent."
Instead of saying what everyone else is thinking ("what bastards!"),
she turns it into a treatise on how to say nothing by saying every
damn thing in your head.
She starts with a preamble on why sexual expliotation is bad. That's
followed by one sentence that makes seven different points, some
redundant, all completely clouded by crowding and a passive voice:
1. Foley did what we said was bad in the first sentence
2. The child was underage, which is redundant
3. GOP leaders knew about it for some indeterminate amount of time
4. They pooh-poohed it using awful euphamisms
5. They didn't do anything to stop it.
6. These kids, again, are underage
7. It's abhorrent!
Why not say this instead:
"Mark Foley--a congressman!--exploited and sexually preyed on
children. Republican leaders knew about this, but chose to cover it up
instead. Why? To protect their hold on power in this chamber. They
sacrificed the safety of children for the sake of an election."
The point is clear, language is active, and is a better quote for the
newspapers. And that was after a two minute pass at a rewrite. I'm
sure all of us can come up with better if we had a little more time.
Seriously, who's writing this stuff for her?