August 05, 2003

Much Ado About Something, But The Right Thing?

Ted Bowen, a Canadian government official (I think; he's described as a "NDP caucus researcher" who writes government memos) resigned under pressure this week for referring to President Bush using Molly Ivins' favorite sobriquet: "shrub." In an internal government memo designed to increase efforts to convince the US to re-open the border to Canadian beef (after being closed in May when a cow in Alberta was found to have BSE), reports:

"While the memo itself seemed innocuous enough, it contained the subject line: 'Re: Petition to President Shrub.' A post-script on the letter explained that "shrub" was a dismissive nickname for Bush used by American writer and columnist Molly Ivins."
Apparently, the memo made its way into media hands last Wednesday, and Bowen was suspended without pay and asked to resign the next day. Since I spent the Clinton era referring to the president as 'Slick Willie' and worse, I really don't find the use of 'shrub' all that troubling. What does bother me, though, is something else the memo allegedly said:
'"The letter urged members to use 'whatever creative flimflam you can come up with' to circulate a petition from the government urging Bush to re-open the American border to Canadian beef." [emphasis added]

I know that 'creative flimflam' is government's stock in trade; it's just troubling to see it expressed so openly.

Posted by Chris at August 5, 2003 11:33 AM

Category: Official Stupidity