Did you ever mean to say "If you are shy then I have an acre of land in the Everglades." and have it come out "If you're bashful I got a snake sitting under my desk here"? I mean, those sentences are so close to being identical, and these kinds of misstatements happen all the time, right?
Well, that's what you have to believe if you're still a defender of Connecticut legislator Ernest Hewett, who said the latter on February 20 to a 17 year-old girl at a public hearing and is now saying he meant to say the former. Most press covereage of Hewett's obviously lewd remark has done an acceptable job of tagging him as a Democrat, with a notable exception being Ken Dixon at the Connecticut Post (HT Hot Air via Instapundit; bolds are mine throughout this post):
A veteran House member from New London was stripped of his deputy speaker title this week after he made a lewd comment during a budget hearing.
Speaker of the House J. Brendan Sharkey said Thursday that Rep. Ernest Hewett made a remark perceived as sexually harassing during an exchange with a 17-year-old intern from the Connecticut Science Center.
After the teenage girl said that working at the science center helped her overcome a fear of snakes, Hewett allegedly made reference to a snake with him, under his desk top.
"The public needs to know this is an environment where they will be respected," Sharkey said. "That kind of language shouldn't be used in any public setting."
After hearing an audiotape of the incident, which occurred Feb. 21, Sharkey stripped Hewett of his deputy speaker title Wednesday. With the removal of the title goes $6,446 in extra pay above the rank-and-file rate of $28,000.
"After I first heard about it, I thought maybe in the broader sense maybe he was misunderstood and it may not be that big a deal," Sharkey said in an interview.
"But based on the audio, it's hard to interpret it that way. It's hard for anyone who heard the audio or was there to think it was anything other than a sexual innuendo.
"I guess the best word I can use to describe this is disturbing," Sharkey said.
Sharkey last week ordered sexual harassment training for all House Democrats who are not in their first or second term. In addition, he has invited women members of the 99-member majority caucus to meet with him and Hewett on Tuesday.
So readers can at best infer that Hewett is a Democrat if they endure to Paragraph 8.
Another note to the Post's Ken Dixon: It's not "alleged" if it can be heard on audio and no one is denying what was said.
But someone is still defending Hewett, namely Edward Moukawsher, a state representative for Groton and Ledyard, also not identified as a Democrat by the New London Day, which published his letter to the editor:
Moukawsher defends Hewett's comment
The treatment of Rep. Ernest Hewett for his remark to a 17-year-old woman who testified before the Appropriations Committee is completely unfair to him and defies common sense. In her testimony she said she was a shy person who overcame her shyness and fear of snakes. The chair of the committee complimented her on her testimony that belied her expressed shyness. Rep. Hewett followed the chair's remarks, and said "If you're bashful, I got a snake sitting under my desk here." It is absurd to think he was saying anything other than that she had overcome her shyness so well that her bashfulness was as nonexistent as a live snake under his desk.
Rep. Hewett turned on his microphone to speak on the record in a public meeting. This was not an offhand, surreptitious comment but a compliment to a witness following a compliment by the committee chair.
Moukawsher would appear to have a bright future as a stand-up comedian. One-liners like those just bolded would have audiences rolling in the aisles.
Meanwhile, Hewett can't seem to keep his story straight, telling the Day on Friday that "If she had said elephants, I would have said elephants." As noted earlier, he said he originally meant to say "acre of land" instead of "snake."
This is not a national story at the Associated Press, and has barely garnered any attenting in the establishment press.
If a Republican legislator anywhere had made such a boorish remark -- oh, you know the rest.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.