Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Friday, October 13, 2006

  The word unspoken

Many interesting statements, and mistatements, today from Tony Snow at the White House. One of his most revealing exchanges with reporters speaks volumes about how embarrassed Republicans are by their own corruption. And, ironically, it does this by saying nothing.

Q This morning Congressman Bob Ney pled guilty in federal court to charges that took nine minutes to read into the record. When he resigns, he'll become the fourth Republican congressman to leave (inaudible). Do Republicans in Washington have a problem with ethics?

MR. SNOW: No, but he ought to resign.

Q But is there something that the Republicans should do to perhaps better deal with problems within their own ranks, better self-policing of behavior?

MR. SNOW: I think it's important that everybody be policed -- Democrats or Republicans. If you've got money in your freezer or skeletons in your closet, you better make sure that you're taking care of what's going on. I think it's incumbent on everybody to behave in a model way. And that's always our belief. We do not think that being a Republican -- let me put it this way, what Congressman Ney did is not a reflection of the Republican Party, it's a reflection of Congressman Ney. And he ought to step down.

We saw that with Duke Cunningham. He took money. He stepped down. He should have. And when people break the law or bring discredit upon themselves and their -- bring credit [sic] upon themselves, they ought to do the appropriate thing.

Now, for the sake of comity let's just stipulate that Mr. Snow made a slip of the tongue when he spoke of bringing credit to oneself by breaking the law.

I'm more focused upon the phrase "bring discredit upon themselves and their--", or rather, upon the omitted word. Snow breaks off in mid clause, and then shifts back suddenly and ungrammatically to his previous phrase "bring [dis]credit upon themselves"...but this time without the embarrassing tail end of it, "and their..."

Their what? What was that word that Tony Snow chose to avoid speaking? That caused him to wrench his sentence backwards, like a crash-test car that has hit a wall? One senses a fleeting moment of panic in Mr. Snow. Must have been quite a word, that word unspoken.

My guess: their "party".


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