A Connecticut politician who was photographed playing Solitaire during a state budget debate has issued a profuse apology and promised to never indulge in such “inexcusable” behavior ever, ever again.
Democrat Rep. Jack Hennessy is internet famous and he probably wishes he wasn’t. Hennessy, along with fellow Rep. Barbara Lambert, were caught by an Associated Press photograph playing Solitaire while Republican Larry Cafero, the House Minority Leader, delivered a “lengthy speech” on the state budget. The photo quickly made the rounds and before long was turning up on national news media.
Hennessy apologized for his actions in a letter to the people of his district. “It was certainly bad judgment for me to play a computer game even for just a few minutes during the final House session on the budget. I am embarrassed, and I apologize to each and every person in the North End and to people across the state,” he wrote.
“My actions were inexcusable. I do want my constituents to know that my poor judgment for a few moments on Monday in no way means I ignored your interests in representing you on this very serious matter,” he continued. “Over the past seven months, as a member of the General Assembly’s Finance Committee, I have participated fully in the budget process and have played an active role in crafting a budget that provides the necessary services that our communities so desperately need while at the same time minimizing any negative impact on the city of Bridgeport and its people.”
“I sincerely apologize to each of you. I look forward to having the continued privilege of representing you and your interests in Hartford. I thank you in advance for your understanding and have been humbled by those of you who have already expressed your understanding and forgiveness,” he concluded.
“Understanding and forgiveness” for playing Solitaire? If I didn’t know better I’d think he was apologizing for something like, say, drunkenly driving into a lake and then staggering away and doing nothing while his passenger drowned. I know politicians have an instinct for laying it on thick but a three-paragraph mea culpa for screwing in some time during a dull budget speech is a bit much. It’s also bears mentioning, I think, that while people, in particular the Republican party, are up in arms over the game-playing, nobody seems to have said a word about the guy sitting behind them who’s quite clearly watching a baseball game.
Personally, I prefer the approach taken by Hennessy’s predecessor, former House Speaker James Amann, who said, “I’m sure if they panned the whole place [in the photo], there would have been a lot more on Solitaire. If anybody has listened to Larry Cafero, it’s the same speech five or six or seven times a year, and it causes Solitaire to pop up.”