Sometimes a word or a phrase rockets into the lexicon. One week you’ve never heard of it, the next you can’t miss it.
That’s true of “nothing-burger,” which is popping up all over lately. When something has little substance or point, it’s “a real nothing-burger.” Same if an answer is intentionally evasive. It’s not a new term, really, but it’s all over the political world this year. No wonder – politicians have turned nothing-burger answers into an art form.
By that measure, the Democrats’ 45th District state Senate candidate Manka Dhingra must be a real politician. She was asked (among a friendly audience, a 45th District Democrats meeting) if she supports “the progressive policy” – a state income tax.
Dhingra’s answer is the very definition of a nothing-burger. She strains to keep the progressive crowd with her, but without actually admitting she supports an income tax. A state income tax won’t be very popular with voters in the 45th, and Dhingra was probably worried someone was recording her promises (they were). Let’s examine her answer in chunks (of nothing).
“This is great, I didn’t realize we were going to be getting into a policy discussion today.”
You didn’t? At a partisan political meeting where you’re pitching your candidacy for the state legislature? Policy discussions must catch Dhingra off-guard a lot.
“What I will say is…”
That’s a great way to start off when you have no intention of actually answering the question. Duck, dodge, evade.
“…the math has to add up.”
“We have to fully and completely fund education.”
Bold again! We’ve got a real Bulworth here!
“And you cannot just grab dollars from the air.”
Not unless D.B. Cooper is around, no, that’s true. One cannot simply grab dollars from the air, as much as we’d all like to. Dhingra is coming in hot with more of that straight talk.
[Attempt at sustained applause]
That’s all it takes to earn a round of applause at a 45th District Democrats meeting? Dhingra has spoken nothing but meaningless platitudes so far. These people would give a standing O for Roseanne Barr’s rendition of the national anthem.
“OK? When we’re talking about education, it really does.”
What? That’s a nothing-burger of a non-sequitur.
“And I – you know, I actually coached my kids’ math teams for three years. Only when they were in elementary school, I couldn’t coach them anymore [after that].”
Sounds like a future budget leader in the making. Let’s get these math skills working for us in Olympia.
“But you know, when you multiple something with zero, you get zero.”
If you multiplied this answer with infinity, you’d get zero. Does Dhingra support a state income tax? She has yet to say anything of substance.
“When you add zero to something, it’s the same number. Not just play math.”
Alrighty…surely she’s just warming up to it. She’ll close this answer out by clearly saying whether or not she supports a state income tax.
That was, in fact, the totality of Dhingra’s answer. You can hear the cringe worthy answer for yourself here.
Does she support a state income tax? I think we all know the answer, but Dhingra doesn’t want the truth out there.
It must have been tough on Dhingra, hiding her true, state-income-tax-supporting beliefs when she probably just wanted to give the audience anything they want. But when she’s straining this hard to not answer a direct question about a state income tax (from a friendly audience no less), Dhingra can be sure of one thing: She’s going to get a lot more direct questions about a state income tax, from voters, debate moderators, and editorial boards.
Her opponent isn’t scared to share her position on a state income tax. Why is Dhingra?