Friday, May 06, 2005

Goniff or Chutzpah-Gate?

The Moose is conflicted about what to call the unfolding Abramoff/Scanlon/DeLay/Reed Indian Gaming/Washington Corruption scandal.

Yiddish is a wonderfully descriptive language. And it is a far better tongue to capture the current scandal that has captivated Washington. It has nothing to do with a particular religion, although the perversion of faith is central to the outrage of this vast rip-off.

The Moose had originally settled on the term Goniff-Gate to describe the scandal. For those Mooseketeers who are not fluent in Yiddish, "goniff" means a dishonest person. However, upon reading the report on Tom DeLay's remarks at the National Day of Prayer service, the Moose has doubts about the appropriateness of this term.

Today's New York Times story titled, Feeling Heat, DeLay Speaks of Humility contains these exexcerpts on DeLay remarks,

"In his 10-minute talk, Mr. DeLay, the House majority leader, spoke out against pride and praised the virtues of "a humble heart." He asked the audience to pray for him and other members of Congress "because the only way we can serve well is to serve humbly, as servants both to God and our nation."

"At the prayer service, on Capitol Hill, Mr. DeLay made no mention of the ethics questions. He spoke broadly, at one point alluding to Genesis in saying that Adam "ultimately failed by his pride" in the Garden of Eden...

"Think of what we could accomplish if we checked our pride at the door," Mr. DeLay said, adding, "If we spent less time on our soapboxes and more time on our knees."

"Mr. DeLay received a standing ovation for his talk. Asked afterward why he chose the topic, he replied, "Humility is something I work on every day."

Judging by his humility track record, DeLay never has to be concerned about having work.

Tom DeLay sermonizing about the dangers of hubris is like Jose Canseco lecturing about the perils of steroids. If there could be a new edition of Leo Rosten's Joys of Yiddish, there would surely be a photo of Pastor DeLay next to the word "chutzpah."

Further evidence for using the term "Chutzpah-Gate" comes from a New York Times article on another aspect of the D.C. scandal - "Casino Jack" Abramoff's lobbying on behalf of the sweatshop riddled Northern Marianas Islands,

"The documents released here this week - 22 pounds of billing statements, e-mail messages and sales pitches - help explain how Mr. Abramoff wooed this island chain with his connections to powerful Republicans who had recently taken over the United States Congress. He turned the Marianas into a destination for dozens of conservative thinkers and Congressional delegations, for some Democrats, but mostly Republicans.
"Over six years, he and his law firm collected nearly $9 million from the Marianas. He also obtained work for friends. A $67,000 contract for one friend, Rabbi David Lapin, chief executive of Strategic Business Ethics Inc. of Los Angeles, to perform eight days of ethics training ballooned to $1.2 million a year later."

This is truly rich -ethics training!

So what should it be - Goniff-Gate or Chutzpah-Gate? The Moose reports, you decide.

-- Posted at 9:02 AM | Link to this post | Email this post