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Saying the darndest (and dumbest) things

August 27, 2010 - Per Peterson

Former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson’s comparison of Social Security to “a milk cow with 310 million tits,” was just about the stupidest thing I’ve heard all week, and I’ve heard some pretty stupid things. But the outcry that has followed, including critics calling for his removal from President Obama’s deficit commission, is a bit over the top.
Simpson’s remark angered the National Organization for Women and the AARP. NOW President Terry O’Neill said Obama should remove Simpson from the commission if Simpson won’t resign.
Simpson, a Republican from Wyoming, is just like any other politician looking for a sound bite. Many politicians have a knack of coming up with catchy phrases and metaphors to express their feelings when reporters are around. They all do it.
Outgoing District 21A House Rep. Marty Seifert, a Republican from Marshall, is well known for his witticisms. The Star Tribune quoted Seifert many times during his tenure in St. Paul, so he must’ve been doing something right. Some of Seifert’s one-liners would’ve made Henny Youngman blush. Thankfully, Seifert has enough class to not spout out phrases similar to Simpson’s. But that’s just the way politicians talk, at least to the press.
A White House spokeswoman said Friday that Simpson will stay on the panel.
All politicians put their foot in their mouth from time to time, it’s just that some stick it in so far they have a hard time getting it back out, and Simpson, who has apologized for his remark, obviously is one of them — that’s probably why he apologized through an e-mail. To pull off great one-liners — ones that won’t get you into trouble — you have to sometimes know your audience, and that’s part of what makes Simpson’s remark so moronic — he was communicating with the executive director of the Older Women’s League. His comment had the potential to offend both women and the elderly and he made it to the director of the Older Women’s League? Nice.


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