I don’t know which is more lamentable: (1) The closing of the Shenandoah National Park or (2) Rep. Robert Hurt’s Orwellian misuse of the English language in justifying the U.S. House of Representatives votes leading to a government shutdown. “Newspeak” or “doublethink” is what author and essayist George Orwell called the ideological corruption of words so they no longer have any reality-based meaning.
The park closure means Rappahannock County residents and businesses will be all the poorer, regardless of what they may think or not think about Obamacare. For tourism is the second biggest driver of the local economy, and this is leaf-peeping time, the biggest tourist season. From Sept. 15 through Dec. 15, receipts for the county’s meals and lodging tax are traditionally the most of any 90-day period.
Shenandoah National Park is, in the poetic words of one county official, “definitely a magnet whose loss of polarity will draw fewer visitors to Rappahannock.”
More prosaic, but equally imaginative, was Rep. Hurt’s public statement explaining his weekend vote to hold the federal government hostage to his ideological dislike of the Affordable Care Act. What he did, according to this press release, was “reasonable and responsible.” Not once, not twice, but three times, he said it — even though the whole statement totaled only three short paragraphs. “Reasonable and responsible.” If you say something enough times, it must be true — and no longer “radical and irresponsible.”
“Spending reform” was another no doubt poll-tested phrase thrown into Rep. Hurt’s statement, though what he voted for would simply continue government spending at current levels. Defunding or delaying the health care reform law is the “reform” apparently. A reform of a reform sounds good, I guess, especially if it’s “reasonable and responsible.”
Now if Mitt Romney, who campaigned on the pledge “to repeal Obamacare on day one,” had not lost the Presidential election by 5 million votes, would the Democrat-controlled Senate be “reasonable and responsible” to shut the government unless gun control “reform” was enacted?
But the truly Orwellian “newspeak” came in Rep. Hurt’s assertion that the 231-to-192 vote was “bipartisan.” Really? I asked Rep. Hurt’s press secretary. Two Democrats voted with the Republicans, she replied. But what of the two Republicans who voted with the Democrats? So the opposition was “bipartisan,” too?
Including National Park Service employees, almost 2 million federal workers are now furloughed or working without pay. But Rep. Hurt and his congressional colleagues will still get their regular paychecks, for they’re considered “essential.”