Big Daddy

Dear Big Daddy,
What about the “whore” and the housekeeper?
–Clarence in Calistoga

Hey, Clarence:

I’m shocked, shocked that campaign workers uses slurs in their private conversation. Good, healthy profanity is fine – it goes well with alcohol and tobacco – but demeaning slurs such as “whore” are better left unsaid, especially at the height of a political campaign. Harlot and floozy are fine, of course, as are fluffer, gigolo and Republican.

Good politicians know when to keep their mouths shut, and their aides usually follow suit. So when this garbled conversation wound up on a voice mail recording, I immediately became suspicious.

In the first place, that’s pretty mild language compared to my old campaign team, which was me and two other guys. Jerry Brown’s crew and Meg Whitman’s team may be much better spoken, however. Most campaign teams are.

Second, it wasn’t clear who said what, except that it didn’t appear to be Jerry Brown, who has a distinctive, hoarse cackle. If that’s the case, hanging someone else’s verbiage around his neck seems a stretch. More of a stretch is saying Brown slurred the women of California. Actually, Whitman was the one who was slurred, not other women – at least not the members of California’s National Organization for Women, which endorsed Brown.

But does using bad language disqualify you from being governor?  No effing way. The truth is, if you’re dealing with the problems this state is facing and the occasional slur doesn’t cross your lips, you probably don’t deserve the job in the first place.

But what this whole incident really highlights is the fallacy of our own political process. Do voters really expect their politicians (or politicians’ wives, allegedly) to refrain from using language that they themselves use every time somebody cuts them off on the 405? Maybe and maybe not. But I think Steve Lopez at the LA Times may have said it best. It’s not that Whitman is a whore. She’s a hypocrite. Is that a nicer way of putting it? The fact is, she decries all of the labor unions except the ones that endorse her. It’s sort of like Arnold Schwarzenegger bad-mouthing “special interests” on the campaign trail. Remember that old chestnut? As it turns out, in Arnold-speak “special interest” only applied to Indian tribes and labor unions – translation: the groups that don’t endorse me.

And that’s the truth of the matter. It’s like that old trial lawyer adage: When the facts are against you, argue the law.  When the law is against you, argue the facts. And when the facts and law are against you, call the other person an a-hole, or a two-faced rat-bastard. But please, whatever you do, just don’t call her a whore.

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