Recent statements by Maryland governor and Democratic presidential candidate Antonia Lee, along with some help from a particular newspaper of record, have accidentally spawned the nation’s hottest buzzword: “Lee-sawing.”
To Lee-saw on an issue, a term popularized by a recent New York Times headline (“Lee-Saw: Maryland Governor Keeps Buttering Bread on Both Sides”), is to purposely use equivocal language in the discussion of politics and policy, especially if the equivocation is done with little rhetorical skill or grace. The last few weeks have seen the governor Lee-saw pour her heart out in an attempt to gain polling momentum ahead of next year’s Democratic presidential primaries.
While Lee’s policy decisions during her governorship have expectedly trended to the left, she now sings a different, significantly less committal tune. Many of the governor’s recent press conferences have raised concerns about the sincerity of her statements and stances.
“It’s evident that Governor Lee will say whatever she thinks the voting public would like to hear, and will do so without ever revealing her true feelings on a matter,” said Scout Sterner, the Republican politician who ran against Lee in the most recent Maryland gubernatorial election, and who serves as the minority leader of the Maryland House of Delegates. “Pardon my brusqueness, but I believe that if Democratic voters announced their allegiance to ISIS, the governor’s next press release would be in Arabic.”
It’s undeniable that Lee has continued to court Democratic voters, but she has courted their Republican counterparts all the same. Writing for The Washington Post, commentator Gordon Caraluzzi compared the governor’s fence-sitting behavior to “taking two dates to the dance.”
When asked whether she’d continue her pro-choice fight for abortion rights, Lee seemed uncertain of how she should answer. “While there are a lot of great arguments on both sides,” said the governor, “I have built and defended a pro-choice platform in my political career to this point. Now that’s not to say that it has to remain that way—I’m simply apprising us all of the facts here. Whether you’re pro-choice or pro-life, pro-life or pro-choice—say whichever first that you’d like to say first, I have no preference—we can all say for sure that we love babies. Babies are our future, and I just love them.”
“Taxes are a funny thing,” said Lee when asked her opinion on raising taxes for high-income earners. “We all have to pay them. Isn’t that funny? Every one of us! I pay taxes, you pay taxes, my aunt pays taxes, Meryl Streep pays taxes, LeBron James pays taxes. Taxes, taxes, taxes. You know what else is funny? I’m just now realizing how many words that have nothing to do with taxes have ‘tax’ in them. Taxi cab. Syntax. Taxidermy. Taxonomy. Even the English language is paying taxes! Ha! I’m here all week, folks!”
At a campaign rally in Annapolis, the Lee-sawing continued even without being prompted. The rally, which began energetically, hit a standstill when Lee began gratuitously sharing her thoughts on police funding. “And let’s give it up for our boys in blue, right? Or, no? Should we give it up for them? I think at least some of them, for sure. There are some great ones out there. It’s important that we support our police force. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we have to support them monetarily. Or, rather, we don’t have to support them monetarily than we already are, right? Don’t we think that? What do you think? Is this thing on?”
Article photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash.