With the 57th presidential inauguration in the books, it appears our political leaders are about to engage in another episode of Confuse and Deceive. It’s a program as old as time itself, or at least language. Fat Cats and bureaucrats concoct innocent sounding language to describe their every move. It’s meant to lull the public into believing that something — anything — is being accomplished.
We at turdpolishertv have belly-crawled beneath many a wood-paneled dais, and we are hip to their game. So we present your 2013 Journo’s Guide to Committee Room Double-Speak.
Honorable Gentleman: As most politicos go, the suit being called this name is neither, nor is the man using the phrase for that matter. One would rather drain the Widows’ and Children’s Survival Fund to pay for the Tax Breaks for Shysters Bill. The other, save the sun-speckled mosquito gnat larvae at the expense of the entire US auto industry. Propriety however, requires that no one in the state house call a spade a freekin shovel.
MR. Chairman: Title of respect given to the suit wielding a wooden mallet. He also wields the power to recess for a smoke break, so don’t piss him off.
Instrument: With all the instruments floating around your average capital, you’d think the place would rock. Unfortunately, instruments in the marbled halls of power are made of paper. Thick reams of paper. And just like the green paper of commerce, these reams are as good as currency, for within the small print of their pages lie the deals that grease the wheels of the lawmaking process. Funds for my project in your instrument. Funds for yours in mine. It creates a serpentine path too convoluted for anyone to follow, and gives Mr. Chairman plausible deniability if any newsie gets curious.
Task Force: The second least useful group of people on Capital Hill. This group of well-intioned citizenry is appointed to get shit done. What they actually do is meet, eat, and repeat. After several months on the state’s expense account, the task force votes that the problem they’ve been appointed to solve needs to be studied more and appoint a blue ribbon panel.
Blue Ribbon Panel: It’s hard to imagine anything more useless than an auditorium full of politicians, but the blue ribbon panel comes close. Left to themselves, these highly distinguished experts in their own field of study could cure cancer, end world hunger and bring us world peace. But appoint a bunch of them to sit around a table and discuss the best way to build a highway extension, and they shit the bed. It’s not their fault. The folks that appointed them don’t actually want a solution. They just want to look like they’re working on it.
Seat at the table: At Thanksgiving, it’s a great thing. Inside the capital, not so much. This happy-sounding phrase is supposed to mean some person, or group will be included in the decision-making process by the august gentlemen on task force. It is actually a death sentence. It means endless hours mind-numbing discussion about minutia that has more to do with not working than solving actual problems.
While all this takes place, there’s a photog somewhere documenting every sleep-inducing second. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m late for the Blue Ribbon Panel discussion on insomnia. This one just might find a cure.