MOTHER-Mucking Senators


As I noted in my column, one of the bills Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid included in the omnibus legislation that Republicans blocked on Monday was the MOTHERS Act. MOTHERS is supposed to stand for Mom's Opportunity to Access Health, Education, Research, and Support for Postpartum Depression. But it doesn't. The acronym for that would be MOAHERSPD, which is not quite as catchy. This is yet another illustration of a sad decline in legislative names, which seem to be getting lamer and lamer in recent years. 

Seven years ago, when the sponsors of a post-9/11 anti-terrorism bill dubbed it the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act, I thought the name was ridiculously contrived. But at least the acronym actually fit. Likewise the PROTECT Our Children Act, also included in Reid's package; the bill's full name is the Providing Resources, Officers, and Technology to Eradicate Cyber Threats to Our Children Act. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) gets credit for putting some thought into her acronym, although she loses points for simply ditching an inconvenient word in the abbreviated name, which really should be the PROTECT to Our Children Act.

By contrast, with the Mom's Opportunity to Access Health, Education, Research, and Support for Postpartum Depression Act, introduced by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), we've got an awful name that generates a terrible acronym. Still, at least their staffers made a half-assed attempt at a memorably demagogic name. Not so Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), whose REAL ID Act includes a completely bogus "acronym" that does not stand for anything except his desire to trick people into believing he came up with a ridiculously contrived name that generates an evocative acronym. REAL is a fake.