Nearly every reporter I got to know in my two years covering the Capitol has some cringe-worthy story of confusing the identity of a member of Congress. It’s easy to understand why it happens. Every couple of years, our schizophrenic electorate reshuffles the deck, casting out some of the middle to older aged white men who still overwhelmingly dominate the ranks of our Congress for a new class of middle to older aged white men (with some notable exceptions). Mistakes happen, and in today’s highly charged partisan atmosphere, where men of great self-import lob rhetorical bombs that ricochet through the political and chattering classes, members aren't usually forgiving about being misquoted or mistaken.The photos themselves are pretty creepy.
"You're a baldist!" The Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez remembers California Representative Brad Sherman saying when he realized midway through their interview that she thought she was speaking to Representative Pete DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat. "Just because he's bald and I’m bald doesn't mean we’re the same person!" Another reporter remembers using a quote from a high-ranking Democratic Representative John Lewis, the celebrated Civil Rights hero from Georgia, delivered to him by a colleague for his story—and being embarrassed to learn, after the story appeared in print, that it was actually Representative Elijah Cummings, another bald, African American Democrat, from Maryland, who had given the quote. Yet another reporter recounts an exasperated Representative Darrell Issa, Republican of California, throwing up his hands and declaring to the reporters chasing him, "I am not Vito Fossella!" in the midst of a controversy over the former New York Representative's fathering a love child.
Thursday, February 07, 2013
Maybe most politicians really are all the same: