As the clock ticks down to the sequester, the State of our Union is -- mildly profane.
A round of political pottymouthing started this morning, when John Boehner told a closed-door meeting of Republicans – and then an open bank of microphones – that congressional action on a budget fix is jammed until “the Senate gets off their ass and begins to do something.”
The grammatically questionable demand from the House Speaker provided a welcome distraction for journalists weary of combing thesauruses for synonyms for “looming” and “across the board.”
But no sooner had news organizations decided how to handle the lawmaker’s anatomical illustration in their headlines than a response came from the primary, er, butt of Boehner’s jab.
“I was raised in a little town that had 13 brothels in it, so I'm used to some pretty salty language as you know," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recalled to reporters at the Capitol.
Twice quoting Boehner's invocation of the gluteus maximus, Reid helpfully pointed out that Boehner's chosen metaphor was "quite interesting."
"I think he should understand who is sitting on their posterior," he continued. "We're doing our best here to pass something. The speaker is doing nothing to try to pass anything over there."
The PG-13 language hasn't been limited to lawmakers on the Hill in recent days.
In a final press briefing, outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta heatedly directed his colleagues to find solutions rather than "sit here and bitch."
And Secretary of State John Kerry brought a set of H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks overseas, expressing bewilderment in Berlin over the legislative state of affairs back home.
"I know you sometimes scratch your heads - because I do it at home - and say what the hell are those guys doing or not doing as the case may be, and it's frustrating," he told embassy staff.
And President Barack Obama – who has generally left the strongest non-legislative language to his vice president – implied to shipyard workers in Virginia today that perhaps it's the budget cuts themselves that should be classified as dirty words.
"That's a pretty bad name, sequester," he said. "But the effects are even worse than the name."