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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

So Pick Another Metaphor

Conservatives are blowing up a big brouhaha about Sen. Hillary Clinton’s remark yesterday that the U.S. House of Representatives has recently “been run like a plantation.” That got my attention, because I once drafted a New Dem Dispatch using exactly the same metaphor for exactly the same management of exactly the same institution, and a cautious colleague suggested I find a different word (don’t remember which one I wound up using, and I’ve written so many NDDs blasting the House GOP that the search function on the DLC site is of little help). But that didn’t mean I thought the metaphor inapposite, since the House is indeed run by tyrannical overseers who don’t much care about the views or welfare of the people (Members or staff) toiling in the fields of legislation. Moreover, aside from the current management of the House, staffers for decades have referred to Congress as “the last plantation” because of the working conditions there. But let’s say it’s the wrong word, since it connotes racism or actual slavery. What metaphor works for you, critics? Maybe we should have a contest. Here are a few nominations:* an 18th century sweatshop* the H.M.S. Bounty* the Third Soviet Congress of the Toilers of the East* a Saudi public hearing* an Enron stockholders’ meetingYou get the point. But Hillary’s critics don’t.

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