Lost in Translation

Posted April 18, 2008 at 6:22pm

Georgia Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland on Wednesday evening proved why he’s a Congressman, not an “American Idol” finalist. During a floor speech, Westmoreland tried — and failed — to throw in a musical punctuation to a policy point.

[IMGCAP(1)]“There is a new direction. And there is a song that goes with that direction,” Westmoreland said during a rant about the Democrats’ plan to lower gas prices. He then offered up his best attempt at singing the theme song to the cultish — and long-ago canceled — sci-fi show “The Twilight Zone.” “Dada dee da. Dada dee da,” Westmoreland half-sang.

The only problem was that his monotone attempt at singing left members of his audience scratching their heads as to what exactly Westmoreland was doing. And the reference was apparently so inscrutable, it didn’t even make it into the Congressional Record transcript.

“Lynn on occasion prefers to educate through musical interpretation,” Westmoreland’s spokesman Brian Robinson explained. “The tune may have confused his more pedestrian listeners because he definitely took some artistic license with his rendition.”

Robinson reminded HOH that this isn’t the first time Westmoreland has employed pop-culture references to explain complicated legislative issues in layman’s terms. Last fall Westmoreland quoted the affable cartoon dog Scooby Doo’s catchphrase “Rut-roh” when talking about Democratic campaign promises.

Apparently, that bit of lexicon didn’t translate, either. According to the Congressional Record, Westmoreland was quoted as saying, “What. Whoa.”

Sisters Act. Even though Reps. Loretta Sanchez and Linda Sánchez are Congress’ most famous sister act, they always manage to distinguish themselves from one another. Linda, for example, has a penchant for flashy high heels and supports Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), while Loretta’s shoe taste runs to more sensible pumps — and she’s endorsed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

The California Democrats might soon be harder to tell apart, now that they’re set to play twins in the Shakespeare Theatre’s “Will on the Hill” performance.

In “A Comedy of Capitol Errors” the sisters will play twins separated at birth who grow up to be Congresswomen of different parties, in a plot loosely based on the Bard’s “Comedy of Errors.” HOH isn’t sure which of the Democrats will switch parties for the night, but we hear the play pits the twins against one another over an arts funding bill.

The cast for the May 5 performance also includes Reps. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), Howard Coble (R-N.C.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), Jane Harman (D-Calif.), Darlene Hooley (D-Ore.), Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and John Tanner (D-Tenn.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.).

We’re not sure about the Members’ Shakespearean acting chops, but HOH is certain that their legislative experience means they know a thing or two about drama.

Opportunity Knocks. National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) hasn’t always had the easiest time with the Federal Election Commission. (Witness the NRCC’s past problems with former Treasurer Christopher Ward and the subsequent downward adjustment of the group’s cash-on-hand amount by nearly three-quarters of a million bucks.)

And Cole, it seems, can’t catch a break with his FEC dealings: The name of his leadership political action committee is misspelled in filings with the commission. Cole’s PAC is listed in FEC filings as the “Conservative Oppurtunity Leadership and Energy PAC,” whose acronym is COLEPAC.

And by “Oppurtunity,” HOH can only assume Cole means “Opportunity.”

One Democratic operative saw an, ahem, opportunity to poke fun at the GOP’s accounting woes. “Add spell check to the long list of NRCC problems involving the FEC,” the Dem laughed.

An NRCC spokeswoman played off the typo. “It’s all part of the fundraising strategery,” Julie Shutley said.

Her Hips Don’t Lie. Things Grammy winner Shakira likes: hip-shaking, belly-baring tops, and … education for all children? The songstress will demonstrate her commitment to at least one of those items when she hits the Capitol on Tuesday. Today, she’s teaming up with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, World Bank President Robert Zoellick and economist Gene Sperling on a media conference call to kick off the Global Campaign for Education Action Week in support of the controversial cause of calling “on government leaders to support a basic education for all children.”

Tomorrow, she’ll be lobbying Members of Congress on behalf of the bipartisan Education for All Act.

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