The expression “Hoist with his own petard” comes from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, and describes something not uncommon in medieval and Renaissance Europe. A petard was an explosive device, usually a wooden keg or metal container packed with gunpowder. A soldier, probably escorted by a raiding party, ran up to a castle door or drawbridge, placed the petard against it, and lit the fuse; then he and his escort ran like hell before the device exploded, hopefully demolishing the door or drawbridge and opening the way for an assault. Of course, medieval gunpowder and fuses weren’t always the most reliable. Sometimes the petard exploded before its bearer could get clear – hence the phrase, “He was hoist (i.e. blown up) with his own petard”.
It’s a lovely expression, and has been used ever since to describe someone who’s caught out by his own cleverness or plans. Three Democrat congressional representatives have just learned, yet again, how true it is.
Reps. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, Pramila Jayapal of Washington and Adriano Espaillat of New York introduced the Establishing a Humane Immigration Enforcement Act earlier Thursday, which would abolish ICE within one year of enactment, and also assemble a commission tasked with setting up a new immigration enforcement agency.
Hours later, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced he planned to bring the proposed “Abolish ICE” bill to the floor, reported The Hill.
The three congressmen promptly released a joint statement accusing Ryan of not taking their bill seriously, and as an act of protest, they will vote down their own legislation and instead use the opportunity to discuss Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration policy and ICE.
There’s more at the link.
Uh . . . yeah. Introduce a politically controversial bill in an effort to pander to the extreme left wing of the Democratic Party – only to have the Republicans jump gleefully on your bandwagon, and schedule a vote on your bill. Way to paint yourself, and your party, into an extremist corner for all the rest of the US electorate to see! No wonder the bill’s sponsors hastily reversed course. I daresay they were being bombarded with messages from the Democrat leadership in the House, all saying, in so many words (probably rude ones), “You got us into this mess – now get us out of it, quick, or else!”
Full marks for political opportunism to the Republicans in the House, who have clearly learned from Napoleon Bonaparte’s maxim, “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake”. Not only did they not interrupt, they promptly tried to help the Democrats make an even bigger one! I’m almost sorry they didn’t succeed. I’d have loved to hear those three try to explain their bill and justify it to the vast majority of Americans, who not only don’t want ICE abolished – they want it strengthened and expanded instead!
Today’s Doofus award is hereby jointly conferred upon Messrs. Pocan, Jayapal and Espaillat. Way to go, guys! Political theater at its most entertaining!