Oh, little man. How powerful you must feel, using sarcasm and arrogance to belittle someone who wanted to get specifics from you on alleged inaccuracies to a report on the ProgressVA website. Such power you wield with those fighting words...
You see, ProgressVA published a report with a very specific list of all the different ways Virginia legislators are in the pocket of ALEC. It's quite thorough, but Mr. Speaker of the House Bill Howell seems to have had difficulty reading it accurately, which prompted ProgressVA representative Anna Scholl to ask him for specifics on where he saw inaccuracies.
As it turns out, he didn't really have anything to offer on the question of inaccuracy, but he seemed to object overall to the exposure of ALEC as a tool of the right that he's unafraid to wield at will. Perhaps it's these two bullet points that bothered him:
- Speaker William Howell is a member of ALEC's national leadership team. In 2009, he served as the group's national chairman. Howell's involvement with ALEC has transferred down to the state level: he has asked several of his colleagues to carry ALEC bills and approved the expenditure of taxpayer money to send his colleagues to ALEC conferences.
- Between 2001 and 2010, the Commonwealth of Virginia spent over $230,000 to send legislators to ALEC conferences in order to meet with corporate lobbyists behind closed doors.
At any rate, when he offered a "they did this and you didn't say anything" talking point in response to her very specific request for very specific inaccuracies, Ms. Scholl pressed, which caused him to say this, in front of the reporters present:
“I guess I’m not speaking in little enough words for you to understand."
Ms. Scholl didn't exactly cower before the Great and Powerful Speaker:
“I’m a smart girl ... I think words with multiple syllables would be just fine for me,’’
And still, I note that Speaker Howell did not actually name one single inaccuracy in her report. You know what happens when bullies are confronted with the truth? They get angry. And when they get angry, they start saying stupid things and swaggering as if they actually have power when really, they're just caught in their lies.
That's what happened here. Props to Ms. Scholl for staring him down.
[h/t Washington Post]