14 June 2007

More Imprecise Language

From an article by Amanda Carter on 13 June:

The more than 32,000 earmarks requested in the Homeland Security spending bill have roiled the House this week, and now Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) wants the word ‘earmark’ to just go away.

In a Tuesday press conference about appropriation bills, Pelosi said, “Why don’t we leave here today forgetting the word earmark?” She said they should be called “legislative directives” instead.
Doesn’t legislation, by definition, direct some law or policy? Does the term “earmark” have multiple meaning which might confuse people? Is there some higher level of precision achieved by changing the term?

Or does Rep. Pelosi want to change the term so that what is being done this legislative year – not listing earmarks in bills for debate, supposedly because it’s just too much work this year – can be continued next year without excuse. Change the term, skip a year of following the rules, and create a new “rule” for the new term next year. All it would take is a little language shift (attempt ongoing), a few “I wish we could have” statements (done), and the expected short attention span of the public (assumption). “Earmarks” and the attention they garner then go away, and the under-cover legislative process can progress.

Maybe I’m being too cynical, but somehow I doubt it. It’s easy to be cynical about a body which has not delivered in a meaningful way for a decade, and yet attempts to continually twist language to hide its motives and faults.

No comments: