Abramoff's Favorite Excuses

Monday, May 02, 2005

Abramoff's Favorite Excuses

Michael Crowley's weekend profile of DeLay-confidante Jack Abramoff in the New York Times magazine also enlarged the Encyclopedia of Lame Excuses. Through excerpts from the article, let me give you three examples:
Excuse #1: Twisting the Meaning of "Mistake"

A common usage for the word "mistake" is to refer to something one intended, but failed, to accomplish (e.g., forgetting to return a phone call or drop a letter in the mail). In other words, your intentions were honorable, but you simply didn't follow through.

But to Abramoff, a "mistake" appears to mean doing something that you fully intended to do. I suspect he used this word as a kind of pre-emptive term that almost suggests that one is sorry (without, of course, having to actually say so).

As Crowley explains:
Abramoff also seems to see himself as an innocent victim. ''Of course, I have made mistakes,'' he told me. Yet it's not quite clear what he thinks those mistakes are.
Excuse #2: Offensive Slurs = Motivational Words

Crowley writes:
When asked, for instance, how a religious man who reportedly loathed Hollywood profanity could send e-mail messages playfully calling Scanlon a ''big time faggot'' or declaring, apropos one intransigent tribal client, ''We need a beautiful girl to send up there,'' Abramoff suggested that he dumbed down his words to motivate Scanlon.

''I didn't have a lot of time to articulate things,'' he said. ''Sometimes I would find myself speaking to people in the language that they speak.'' He likened himself to the Biblical character Jacob, who dressed in his brother Esau's clothes. Jacob did this, Abramoff told me, as ''a more effective means of communicating with Esau.'' (In fact, Jacob's goal is to deceive his father.)
Excuse #3: I Am the Opposite of Me

Crowley writes:
And the racism implied in calling tribal leaders ''monkeys'' and ''troglodytes''? Abramoff responded: ''That's probably the thing that hurts me the most about all this. It's just so opposite of who I am.''
Abramoff is hoping to convince people that the words he used were somehow "out of character" for him. But we're talking about words used in a series of e-mails stretching across many months -- a fact that makes Abramoff's "opposite" excuse terribly hard to swallow. If anything, the words of a Washington wheeler-dealer are a cleaned-up version of what's really going through his or her mind.

Again from Crowley's article:
Lowell (who is Abramoff's attorney) interjected: ''When he uses the word 'monkey' to describe one part of a faction, he is referring to an opponent, not Native Americans in general.''
In other words, Abramoff thinks lots of human beings are "monkeys" -- not just Indians. How reassuring.

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