Texas Politician Uses His Words, Fails
Should ‘probably’ insert foot in mouth
Do you struggle to find exactly the right word to describe something when speaking publicly? Do you ever wonder if there might be a better—nay, more appropriate—version of the word you are about to use? Not Texas State Rep. Larry Taylor, who displayed his unparalleled eloquence yesterday at a hearing for a legislative committee of which he is chairman:
During a hearing of the Joint Legislative Committee on Windstorm Insurance this afternoon, Chairman Larry Taylor was discussing delivery of quick and fair payments for windstorm victims. Unfortunately, to make his point he said, “Don’t nitpick, don’t try to Jew them down.”
Without pausing he added, “That’s probably a bad term” and then resumed his remarks.
A shockingly vague understatement coming from the articulate chairman, who soon issued a statement apologizing and adding a touch more specificity: “At a legislative oversight committee hearing today, I inadvertently used a phrase that many people find offensive.”
It’s difficult to overlook his unfortunate verb choice, particularly in the context, of Texas politics where anti-Jewish sentiments are not exactly new. Last year Michelle Goldberg examined the motives behind anti-Semitic attacks on Joe Straus, the Republican speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, leading up to the January election (which he won). While she found the attacks to be rooted more in Tea Party cultural ideologies, the underlying anti-Jewish tones remain troubling. Goldberg concluded:
What is clear is this: Texas tea party activists are targeting Straus, a fiscal conservative, as somehow culturally and ideologically alien, and at least some of his enemies are using religion against him. He’s still favored to win the election for House Speaker on January 11 and remains popular with his caucus. But the anti-Straus campaign, which is beginning to draw national attention, is the latest piece of evidence that the Tea Party is simply the Christian right by another name. Straus isn’t under attack because of his position on taxes or deficits. This is about culture war, and it’s a microcosm of current Republican politics, in which populist activists abhor any hint of moderation.
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.