WTF, Chuck?

As people who use words — full words, often in complete sentences — to communicate, it’s easy for speechwriters to seem a little behind the times when it comes to new-fangled technology like the Twitter. 140 characters? Speechwriters can barely say hello in 140 characters.

And while I recognize the communications benefits of Twitter — reaching the kids with their cellular phones and whatnot — I don’t think it’s too much to expect certain people, United States senators for instance, to exhibit a respect for language in their discourse, even when it’s brief discourse.

Which is why it was discouraging to see 75 year old senator Chuck Grassley apparently lose his mind this weekend — sorry, WKEND — on Twitter.

According to the Associated Press, Grassley had his boxers in a bind over the president’s in absentia call for Congress to get cracking on health care reform. So he took to the Twitter box. And here’s what he came up with:

“Pres Obama you got nerve while u sightseeing in Paris to tell us ‘time to deliver’ on health care. We still on skedul/even workinWKEND.”

In case that wasn’t clear, he followed up with:

“Pres Obama while u sightseeing in Paris u said ‘time to delivr on healthcare’ When you are a ‘hammer’ u think evrything is NAIL I’m no NAIL.”

No, Senator, you’re no nail. And apparently you’re no stickler for spelling. Or proper grammar. 

I assumed some young staffer must have Tweeted on Senator Grassley’s behalf, but “a Grassley spokeswoman verified that the senator was the author of the messages.” I can only imagine her cringing while she said it.

Not surprisingly, the White House got the better of this one:

Asked to respond to Sen. Grassley’s Twitter commentary, White House spokesman Reid Cherlin said: “President Obama is gratified that the Senate is working hard to bring a health-reform bill to the floor on schedule. He looks forward to continuing his work with them upon his return from the commemoration of Allied heroism at D-Day.”

In other words: Oh, excuse us while the president honors our war dead. Please have another bowl of oatmeal to ease your digestion, Senator.

The sad thing is that Republicans actually do have something to say on health care. Heck, Mitch McConnell’s been talking about it on the Senate floor every day. And plenty of people are working hard behind the scenes to turn out a half-decent bill.

But 140 little characters sure can undermine your credibility if you’re not careful with them.

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