• Lawmakers Too Ashamed to Admit They're Members of Congress

    Capitol DomeWe know there's are words and phrases lawmakers are forbidden from saying…

    "I'm going to raise taxes."

    "Ronald Reagan was not a communist-destroying deity."


    Turns out another verbotten word is "Congress," as legislators seeking re-election increasingly refuse to acknowledge which office they're running for and downplay any part of their biography that doesn't fit with a jus' folks, homespun image…

    Likewise, "Senate," "senator" and "representative" are making only rare cameos in these campaign ads. The absence is especially pronounced in the case of incumbents who are asking voters to reelect them in November.

    "How do you go from working in a family seed business in Iowa to fighting for Iowans at the highest levels?" a narrator intones in an ad for Rep. Tom Latham (R- Iowa).

    The highest levels of what, exactly? The ad notes that Latham took "Iowa common sense" to Washington and voted against the stimulus package — but never exactly spells out that he has served at the highest levels of the U.S. government — in Congress — since 1995.

    Although incumbents typically have a large advantage in re-election, owing to a greater fundraising ability and higher name recognition, it's no surprise that legislators are avoiding mention of their congressional credentials. When 60 Minutes exposed the importance of "political intelligence" firms in insider trading schemes, millions of Americans were surprised to learn that Congress had any intelligence to divulge.

    And many remain suspicious that the House Republicans' desire to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt stems mostly from Congress's ire at being held in contempt by everyone else.

    Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: House of Representatives, Senate


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