Sunday, June 18, 2006

Pop Quiz

Stephen Colbert hosts a segment on Comedy Central called "Better Know a District." Last week he visited Georgia's 8th to interview Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, who has endorsed legislation to display the Ten Commandments in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Rather predictably, Colbert asked Westmoreland to name all Ten Commandments.

You can find the video online. Westmoreland reacts like a deer caught in headlights: He stumbles through three and then gives up. On Friday, the Macon Telegraph spoke with Westmoreland's press secretary, Brian Robinson, who insisted that the tape had been edited unfairly: In reality, Robinson said, Westmoreland had been able to recall seven.

As if that weren't sufficient to qualify Robinson for some sort of prize for incompetence, he continued: "I challenge anybody outside of the clergy to try to [name them all]."

Westmoreland claims to attend SouthCrest Church in Newnan. So the next step for an enterprising reporter at the Telegraph would be to show up at Sunday mass and interview Westmoreland's fellow parishioners to find out just how many of them can name all Ten Commandments. I'll wager that every single one can do better than three, that most can beat seven, and that more than half can name all ten.

Everyone has been excoriating Westmoreland for his insincerity in touting principles he can't even remember; but as a political advisor, I'm more inclined to criticize his office's staggering incompetence. Frankly, it's difficult not to feel frustrated. Here's a press secretary who has just simultaneously insulted his constituents and challenged a newspaper reporter to further embarrass his boss — and this guy has a better job than I do.


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