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This weekend’s Post tackled one of my biggest pet peeves—-when politicians use “Washington” as a disparaging euphemism for the national political scene, in which they willingly participate. The topic, covered by Dan Zak in the Sunday Source section, has been ripe for the plucking for years. But, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a story on it.
And Zak’s piece could not come at a better time, as he points out right away.
“The hating will reach a pinnacle in Denver and St. Paul., Minn., this week and next. At the Democratic and Republican nominating conventions, we’ll get soaring speeches about how awful Washington is. How it is a quagmire of corruption. How it does nothing for anyone. How it needs to change.”
Yes, we’re about to be pummeled by a bipartisan bunch of bullies. All the politicians will try to inform the good, decent, humane, wholesome citizens of America that Washington D.C. is a place where the bad, corrupting, manipulative, power-mongering people of the District seek to destroy their integrity. (Though their integrity is of course fully intact, even though they spend all day surrounded by the evil inhabitants of this sinful place.)
“‘The city of Satan,’ John McCain declared to a crowd in Nevada.
The place where people ‘boil all the hope out of” you, Barack Obama warned in Akron, Ohio.
We are all condemned. And you know what, it’s sloppy oratory…is what is!
Let’s take for example a few quotes from the candidates, and consider some edits.
Obama: “Beyond all the petty bickering and point-scoring in [this city which has made me pretty much the most famous guy on earth, and has inspired me—after a year or so—to, essentially, want to run the planet, not to mention raise my children in a rent-free mansion, far, far away from their extended family in Chicago], Americans are a decent, generous, compassionate people, united by common challenges and common hopes.”
McCain: “If we had adopted my proposals for tax cuts, which were huge, we would be talking about further tax cuts today, not out of control and rampant spending in [this city where I’ve lived for more than twenty five years, despite the fact that I have, uh, wait a minute…how many houses? Seven? Hmmm, yes, let’s see the two in Coronado, one in La Jolla, three in Arizona, and one in Crystal City in Virginia.]
No, no, you guys are right. We are clearly corrupting you.