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Veteran Pol, Rookie Mistake, and the "W" Word

It's the new millennium. Why, oh why, do politicians still get caught saying embarrassing things or having their staff say embarrassing things into "hot" microphones or their functional equivalent -- phone calls on speaker that haven't been properly terminated?

Veteran politician Jerry Brown made the rookie mistake -- or his staff did -- of continuing an off-color conversation about Meg Whitman while inadvertently leaving a voicemail by not properly terminating a speakerphone call. We've seen this same "rookie" mistake with hot mics with Carly Fiorina and the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

But it's what's said in these unintentionally revealing moments that is, well, revealing.

In the new millennium, you don't get to call a woman politician, even Meg Whitman, a "whore." It's a term charged with sexist meaning, usually reserved only for women, often unfairly used. Sure, Meg may have been selling out to the police unions, agreeing to lay off pension changes for them in exchange for their support, but that doesn't make her a whore. It makes her a politician. Like the big boys and girls at the State Capitol, Meg has some constituency she's willing to throw a bone to in order to get their support. If Meg's a whore, well, then the State Capitol is one big ol' whorehouse.

And, to paraphrase a quote often attributed to Winston Churchill, "Now that we've established what Meg is, we're just haggling about the price . . . . "

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