27 percent of U.S. Senate press releases labeled ‘taunting’

With all this talk of a government shutdown, you may wonder what your favorite U.S. Senator will do with all the spare time.

Well, if it’s anything like business as usual, he’ll spend much of it “taunting” his colleagues.

"Independent? Like you never ask your wife for money?"

"Independent? Like you never ask your wife for money?"

According to a Harvard professor who may have way too much spare time on his hands, about 27 percent of communications sent out by U.S. senators during 2005-2007 were used to insult another elected official.

Little wonder there’s no budget agreement.

“It’s jarring and surprising,” said Prof. Gary King, who, along with two students, analyzed 64,033 press releases.

A Washington Post reporter asked King to analyze more recent memos. Curiously, only 20 percent of those press releases were considered taunting.

An example: Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said, “Republicans have shown they couldn’t care less about those who have the least.”

Yep, business as usual.

25 comments Add your comment

Old Geezer

April 7th, 2011
4:35 pm

This ain’t surprising, you get a bunch of men together it always turns into a pissing contest and the old guys are all huffing Flomax.

Honey, please!

April 7th, 2011
7:19 pm

“With all this talk of a government shutdown, you may wonder what you’re favorite U.S. Senator will do with all the spare time.”

Would you correct your statement from “you’re” to “your.” I think you wanted the possessive instead of the “you are” contraction.

Bless your heart and thank you very much.

shrimp po' boy

April 7th, 2011
10:19 pm

“An example: Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said, ‘Republicans have shown they couldn’t care less about those who have the least.’”

This is not a taunt. It is a statement of fact. The reason nothing seems to get done in D.C. is that the truth is the last thing the public or elected officials want to hear. There is not a more pleasant way to state that the Republicans continually marginalise the lower and middle classes for their own benefit. Conversely, there is not a polite way to say that Democrats have absolutely no backbone and continually fail in their duty of protecting the lower and middle classes. An observable fact is an observable fact.

George Mathis

April 7th, 2011
10:20 pm

Good catch Honey, please! I shall fire my editor first thing in the morning.


April 7th, 2011
10:35 pm

@shrimp po’ boy – on what planet do you live? How many taxes do you pay? Probably unemployed, or unemployable, or if employed, some union wannabe? Maybe NEA? Or SEIU?

The Obama budget for 2012 wants to spent $12,000 for every man, woman, and child in the country. $48,000 for a family of four. this spending spree is insane, not sustainable, and the borrowing required will lead us all to disaster by imposing huge interest costs on our future, and the future of our children and their children. $5,000 or the $12,000 will have to be borrowed. No tax increase of any kind will dent the debt.

But Democratic spending addicts always want to spend more. Compulisively. Through fear. And also through ignorance, which you more than adequately display by your ludicrous opinions. Try some fact. But I won’t expect it.


April 7th, 2011
11:13 pm

oedipus: what planet. You have proven shrimp’s point.

Believe it or Not

April 8th, 2011
1:29 am

You are amazingly ignorant. here I sit in Afghanistan for a fourth time and previously spent time in Iraq for three years…watching our soldiers die while building bridges, roads, schools, hospitals, and the like for people who would otherwise cut your throat. And you have the balls or lack thereof to talk about President Obama’s repayment to the American tax payer. You have got to be kidding me. On what planet do you want to live?

Road Scholar

April 8th, 2011
6:09 am

Believe it Or Not: Thank you for your service . Take care!


April 8th, 2011
8:48 am

well DO republicans care about the poor? Didnt think so

The Truth Hurts

April 8th, 2011
10:19 am

It’s a nice distraction to indicate the republicans don’t care about the poor. If the US government becomes insolvent, I can assure you the poor will not have the support they currently receive, and government employees, unionized or not, will be working for allot less than their current salary less 1-4% contribution for health care or retirement proposed by NJ and WI. Try to understand the big picture, and tell the truth. If you don’t understand the big picture DW (and others), read more and stop watching DWTS.


April 8th, 2011
11:32 am

I am not a Democrat and I am not rich. I am a singe taxpayer with no kids. I am sick of paying for low life non working people who keep having kid after kid with no thought as to how they will pay for those kids. If we didn’t have free handouts maybe they would stop!!

shrimp po' boy

April 8th, 2011
12:42 pm

First of all, please notice that I am not taking sides with either party. I would like to think more highly of Democrats, but their results consistently leave a great deal to be desired.

Also, did a Republican just accuse Democrats/liberals of using fear as their main motivational tool? Wow, that’s rich. How quickly short-term memories forget the Bush administration. And the other Bush administration. And the Reagan administration.

Vocal D

April 8th, 2011
2:52 pm

The bottom line is entitlements and rewarding poor decisions. I am in the middle, as I agree with some liberal ideas and some conservative ideas. I lean more to the conservative side from a smaller government more fiscally responsible government perspective. The government should not be as involved in our daily lives as it is today. It should be run just like any business or any household and it should not be spending more than it is bringing in. Raising taxes is not the way to resolve it. Programs need to be cut. Payrolls need to be cut. Jobs need to be cut. The government needs to be stripped down to the bare essentials. Military, Education, Infrastructure, and SELECT social programs (Medicare for the elderly, Medicaid for special needs). That’s it. The tax laws need to be destroyed and completely rewritten. I am a proponent of the fair tax and would like to see that replace our current tax system. Marijuana needs to be legalized (no I do not smoke, but I do drink alcohol). Legalizing marijuana would benefit this country in so many ways. The government wastes so much money fighting a war on a drug that in many respects is harmless and way less dangerous than alcohol which is legal. It would open opportunities to farm it, sell it, TAX it. This would create tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of jobs. It would save money (millions) by not having to arrest, prosecute, and jail people for something so trivial.


April 8th, 2011
3:04 pm

Nancy, why do working class ppl such as yourself always fall for the stereotypes put forth by those with money and in power?

Yes, those who continue to have children out of wedlock without the ability to care for them are a problem.

But the money these ppl cost society is a mere pittance when you consider the monies the USA literally gives away b/c of poor corporate tax policies. We would probably be billions of dollars in the black if this were corrected.

And I don’t want to hear that old tired argument about companies leaving the USA if we can’t be competitive. Well then those companies are UNPATRIOTIC! How dare you benefit from the advantages of being affiliated with this country w/o taking on some of the sacrifice. Why is it not “America…love it or leave it!” in this case?

I have to give it to the rich and powerful. Their strategy of taking 99.9% of the pie and leaving the rest of us jockeying for the crumbs continues to work to this day. We are so distracted with trying to make it, trying to get by…and not really thriving, we are too exhausted to really delve deep and find TRUTH! We only have the energy to promote the same incorrect stereotypes and point fingers in the wrong direction.

Well, we are all in the same boat and this boat is sinking and the haves have an evacuation plan and the means to implement it while the rest of us will go down with the ship.


April 9th, 2011
9:25 am

all stereotypes are true. all of them.


April 9th, 2011
4:14 pm

better to have the American Taliban (also known as “conservatives”) collapse and destroy government in the United States. Then, those who have survived this catastrophe can rebuild a civil society.


April 9th, 2011
9:39 pm

Well said! I acknowledge your service and wish you and your compatriots safe journey and God’s speed!


April 9th, 2011
9:46 pm

re: Believe It or Not’: ChicoraSeaSalt72

April 9th, 2011
9:39 pm

Well said! I acknowledge your service and wish you and your compatriots safe journey and God’s speed!

Rodney Ho

April 13th, 2011
2:05 pm

What does Rodney think? WWRD?


April 15th, 2011
7:44 am

hell i never cared much for poor people. never had one to hire me


April 15th, 2011
5:20 pm

Well, seems the politicians are stoking the fire of the civil war we are currently in. Fighting for control of the country between the makers and the takers. The entitlement generation is reaching new heights in their me first thought process. Seems they all think they have a right to a house, a car, HDTV, cell phones, designer clothes, unlimited healthcare, and all the food they and their children can eat. The civil war is the makers think you achieve the American dream by earning it and the takers think they should have it just because they breathe. The right has compassion, just not for those that don’t need it.

Stan Anderson

April 16th, 2011
12:46 am

There is more wealth in the US than ever. The problem is those who have it are not paying their fair share for the public privileges and services that facilitate their wealth. They use their wealth to purchase media and finance political campaigns to the detriment of a stable society and democracy itself.

Stan Anderson

April 16th, 2011
1:10 am

The “takers” are those of us who work for a living. The real money goes to those who game the system and use their wealth to buy power and privilege. See http://goo.gl/icD3D. It is hard to comprehend how much wealth there is, and the extent to which it finances conservative politics. A large middle class built America, and is needed to buy the products and services that generate wealth. Everyone needs to pay their fair share. If we just had the tax rates we had under Eisenhower or most of the Regan years, public budgets would survive corporate welfare exemplified by Wall Street, big oil, big pharma, etc. Look up the wealth ladder for a deeper understanding of the “entitlement generation.”

Stan Anderson

April 16th, 2011
1:20 am

The key to overcoming entitlement is service, to family, community, society and beyond. Build a broad-based ethic of service and we will have the best communities and more personal satisfaction. Government, and the shared contributions to maintain our commons through government make for more vibrant growth and stable, productive lives. Without government, life is dog-eat-dog. And human potential is wasted dealing with survival in the modern jungle.

Mattie Patterson

April 17th, 2011
11:31 pm

Those “tea potty” republicons who disdain teachers, firemen, and law enforcement were too important, too intelligent or too connected to work in such “demeaning” endeavors. Once their cronies outsourced all their jobs, they became resentful of those working poor who still had steady work and lower middle class homes to go to.