YARBROUGH COLUMN: Deciphering what our intrepid public servants say and what it means

Published 9:30 am Tuesday, April 18, 2023

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The following is a Public Service announcement: Congress is in recess and members are back home. Kiwanians and Rotarians, Chambers of Commerce and other assorted groups can likely expect a visit from their intrepid public servants.

If you are tied up and unable to make it to one of their fly-bys because you have more important things to do like scrubbing the bathtub or learning to yodel, I hereby submit an expert analysis of what they will be saying and what they actually mean. Pay close attention.

“My friends.” (Actually, you aren’t my friends. I am only saying that because I want you to like me enough to vote for me in the next election so I can stay in Washington where everybody kisses my ring, and I don’t have to find a real job.)

“It is good to be back home.” (Not really. I prefer Washington because lobbyists take me to all the best restaurants in town and laugh at all my jokes. Here, I have to open my own doors.)

“I want you to know that I am working hard for you every day.” (In truth, the hard work is done by my staff who gets paid peanuts, works incredibly long hours and then has to watch me get all the credit.)

“Things in Washington are a mess these days. (As if I am not a part of the problem myself.)

“Congress doesn’t function well because of the (name opposing party.)” (What this crowd doesn’t know is that there are 534 other members of Congress out in the hustings at this moment making the same speech I am and all of us blaming the other party and each other. No wonder we don’t function well.)

“You have given me the privilege of representing you in Washington and I want to assure you that I am working hard for you.” (This is where I dazzle them with my fancy footwork and talk about stuff that has about as much chance of passing as I do of being elected Pope.)

“During the last session, I introduced bills in Congress to cut wasteful government spending as well as to give you hard-working folks back home a much-needed tax break. I am also working on legislation to increase Social Security payments for our senior citizens, trying to reign in campaign financing and curb the undue influence of special interest groups and their lobbyists in Washington.” (Wow! Listen to the applause! They actually think I am serious! What they don’t know is I couldn’t do any of this stuff, even if I wanted to. I don’t have that kind of influence. I do what the leadership tells me to do. The rest of it is smoke and mirrors.)

“I will also be a part of several Congressional fact-finding missions that will be traveling abroad to assure that the interests of the United States are aligned with our friends and allies in other parts of the world.” (Actually, we call these taxpayer-funded junkets. It’s a perk of being in Congress. I’m not sure where I am going but I hope it is someplace warm and that there is a golf course nearby.)

“You have been a gracious audience today and before we adjourn, I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.” (They are so impressed to have a real live member of Congress as their speaker, there won’t be a question I haven’t heard before and I will give them a long-winded answer they won’t understand. It’s like lobbing softballs.)

“Folks, it has been a distinct honor to be with you today, but duty calls and I must get back to Washington and back to the job you sent me there to do.” (And, you can be sure I will be hitting you up for money as soon as I get back. There is always another election coming.)

“Remember, my door is always open if you happen to be in Washington.” (It’ll be open but I’ll have you in and out of the office before you can be seated and then foist you off on one of my staff members and claim I am late to some committee hearing. It works every time.)

“Again, it has been an honor and a privilege to be with you today. Thank you for your time and attention and God Bless America!” (Whew! Glad that’s over. Hopefully, I won’t have to do this again for another year. The meat loaf was terrible.)