There’s a new word in the English language: to “Nethercutt.” To nethercutt means to go back on one’s word; to say one thing in order to get elected to public office and then to do the opposite once elected. It means to be dishonest, a hypocrite, an opportunist.
The word comes from Congressman George Nethercutt, who defeated the Speaker of the House on a pledge to serve no more than three terms in Congress. Nethercutt has now broken his word to the voters and plans to keep running to cash in on a career in Washington.
The Seattle Times defines “Nethercutting” as, “the cynical, self-serving hypocrisy of someone who exploits others for personal gain.” In stark contrast to Nethercutt, Representative Matt Salmon and seven others who made term limit pledges have kept them. When asked about Nethercutt’s excuses for breaking his word, Salmon said bluntly: “I don’t buy those arguments and I can trump all of them with one card: if you give your word you ought to keep it end of story.”
The sports pages recently carried a story about the kind of integrity Mr. Nethercutt lacks. Felipe Alou is the manager of the Montreal Expos, a baseball team that has been down on their luck this year. Alou turned down an offer to go to another team, saying: “I always said I would not leave this organization . . . I had to keep my word. It doesn’t matter if you are winning games or losing games. We die with our word.”
No wonder people like sports better than politics. There’s less chance you’ll get “nethercutted.”
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.