Monday, June 3, 2013

The Lerner Method





This is the face of the American bureaucracy.
She is stern, emotionless, and incredibly pissed that Congress would have the unmitigated gall to question her competence. Those pursed lips, those you can’t touch me, I’m with the IRS eyes, that Beatles-chic haircut, all practically scream at you, “TAKE A NUMBER”!  She has the look of someone who is thinking, “When I get back to the office I’m going to audit every one of you assholes.”

But the best thing about Lois Lerner, the Director of Tax-Exempt Organizations at the Internal Revenue Service, was her testimony. The Congressmen had requested her appearance to offer her a chance to explain how the harassment of those organizations applying for tax-exempt status that happened to be politically conservative could have taken place on her watch, while liberal organizations like those of the President’s brother, were being approved in less than three weeks, a turn-around time unheard of bureaucratic circles, the equivalent of a nanosecond in government. Ms. Lerner, with cool contempt, invoked her 5th amendment rights against self-incrimination thusly, “I have done nothing wrong, and I will not be answering any of your questions.”

First of all, it is my understanding that one can’t offer a defense of one’s actions, then invoke the 5th. That would be like offering testimony that doesn’t allow cross examination, but what do I know?  Regardless of its legality, these now famous words will come in quite handily if I’m ever audited by Ms. Lerner’s employer. Come to think of it, I can think of many times in my life when I might have been well served to invoke the “Lerner Method” when being questioned about my actions:

                                                          #1

 Mom: Douglas, would you care to explain why there are muddy footprints from the back door all the way to your bedroom when I’ve told you a thousand times to take your shoes off before you come in the house??!!

Me: I have done nothing wrong, and I will not be answering any of your questions.

Mom: Oh, well…ok.

                                                         #2

 Coach: Dunnevant!! If I’ve told you once I’ve told you a thousand times, never make the first out of an inning at third base. Why in hell did you try to go from first to third on a base hit to left field??

Me: I have done nothing wrong and I will not be answering any of your questions.

Coach: Sure, Well, keep up the good work, son.
 
                                                               #3

 Pam: Honey, look at this plate. What do you see? Isn’t that some sort of spinach baked on? Doesn’t that suggest that this plate might not be clean? When you are emptying the dish washer, would it kill you to actually look at the dishes to make sure they aren’t still dirty??

Me: I have done nothing wrong and I will not be answering any of your questions.

Pam: Ok, and let me say how much I appreciate your effort.